Oracle WebLogic Upgrade Aids Java Developers, Cloud Adopters

The Oracle WebLogic Server 12c (the "c" is for "cloud") offers a number of enhancements for developers, including support for the latest Java standards, and performance improvements such as new disaster recovery efforts and integration with Oracle's Real Application Clusters (RAC) technology.

The release is the first major upgrade for the application server since WebLogic Server 11g debuted in July 2009.

"This is a major new release and it's focused on cloud," said Mike Lehmann, senior director of product marketing for WebLogic, in an interview. WebLogic is a part of Oracle's cloud application foundation -- the collection of Oracle Fusion Middleware products needed to deliver cloud services -- and it's the Java development environment for the cloud software.

WebLogic is a key component of the Oracle Public Cloud service the company unveiled at Oracle OpenWorld in October and is slated for general availability in 2012. The application server also is an important part of the new Oracle Java Cloud Service platform for developing, deploying and managing business-critical applications built on Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE).

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"I think the new cloud capabilities for managing and deploying groups of servers will help stimulate cloud adoption and lower the cost for anyone who wants to deploy this technology as a service provider, including Oracle itself," said IDC analyst Al Hilwa, in an e-mailed comment.

Some of WebLogic Server 12c's advancements are tailored to make life easier for Java developers, Lehmann said, including certified support for Java EE 6 and Java Standard Edition (Java SE) 7 standards. The application server improves developer productivity through the use of new APIs such as Servlet 3.0, JAX-RS 1.1, JavaServer Faces 2.1, EJB 3.1, and Context and Dependency Injection for Java.

This "is a big Oracle milestone because it delivers Java EE 6 technology in commercial form to the large Oracle middleware installed base," Hilwa said. "Adoption of new versions of Java EE typically moves slowly in the enterprise, but offering a certified implementation of the standard framework moves the commercial user migration process along."

Developers also can leverage a new Fusion Middleware plug-in component called Oracle Traffic Director for adding traffic routing capabilities to HTTP-based applications. And a new release of the Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder simplifies the configuration and packaging of multi-tier applications within Oracle VM virtualized environments.

On the performance side, WebLogic's tighter integration with Oracle RAC boosts data processing speeds by a factor of two or three, according to Oracle, and improves detection and correction of database failures. The new Transport Layer Security 1.2 improves application security. And new disaster recovery capabilities, including the ability to store data in either file stores or databases, are designed to support systems across multiple data centers.

Oracle has invested heavily to help customers (and help channel partners help their customers) to upgrade to WebLogic Server 12c from earlier releases, as well as from the older Oracle Internet Application Server, which Oracle still supports but is no longer developing new releases.

Oracle also has the GlassFish open-source application server the company acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems last year. While GlassFish is popular among Java EE developers, Lehmann said, many companies rely on WebLogic Server to deploy applications built using GlassFish.