Red Hat Launches J2EE-Compliant AppServer


Red Hat formally announced availability of its first application server based on ObjectWeb's open-source Jonas that offers most of the same features as other commercial J2EE app servers.

On the eve before LinuxWorld Expo kicks off in San Francisco, the leading Linux vendor finally released the Red Hat Application Server, which features an enterprise application server, a Web application server based on Tomcat, JakartaServer management, messaging and transaction support and clustering for failover and load balancing.

The app server, which was originally due to ship in the first quarter of 2004, is a key deliverable under Red Hat's Open Sources Architecture (OSA) announced last October.

The application server is promised to provide full interoperability with other J2EE-based platforms from BEA, IBM and Oracle, but final testing is not yet completed, executives acknowledged as they rolled out the product at a press conference on Monday evening.

Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik said he hoped that partners BEA, IBM and Oracle would celebrate the product's release even though it will compete head on with offerings from the same ISVs.

"We've taken a more collaborative approach to development it's customer demanded and customer need," Szulik said during the brief press conference. "I'd hope they'd congratulate us. I hope they see the benefit of working in collaborative fashion."

The product is a commercial implementation of ObjectWeb's Jonas application server, one of more than 60 open-source projects being commandeered by the nonprofit open-source organization.

IBM said it will ensure that Red Hat's app server runs well on its eServer line.

Red Hat is also expected to announce at LinuxWorld Expo plans to tap into the existing programs of OEM partners--such as IBM's Linux Elite program--to qualify more high-end VARs and regional systems integrators to provide implementation services for Red Hat's entire Linux software stack, said Mike Evans, the company's partner chief.

Still, the company has taken no action on its stated plans to launch a revised channel program for service companies.

Red Hat has integrated other open-source components with its enterprise Linux distribution, including Tomcat and Apache, but this is the first enterprise application server from the Linux company. It will be available as part of the company's enterprise subscription model.

Pierre Fricke, vice president of application infrastructure at D.H. Brown, Port Chester, N.Y., said it's still early enough in the game for Red Hat to compete against entrenched J2EE servers including WebSphere, BEA and Oracle. "Red Hat is putting a good story together on middleware," said Fricke.