Which Java server should I use?
June 29, 2005 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Macromedia JRun 4.0 Updater or IBM Websphere 5.0.1 ?

We're getting some new servers for an application here which requires a Java application server. I know *nothing* about Java and I'm given the task of picking one or the other (another option is IBM Websphere Express 5.1)

It'll be running on Windows Server 2003 initially for about 25 users, eventually a few hundred. It needs to play nicely with IIS and SQL server, if that matters.

I could flip a coin, I suppose, but perhaps someone has experience with one or the other or both.

I seem to recall visiting a site that had constant JRun errors, though I can't for the life of me remember where that was. Does JRun suck or is it something else that keeps crashing that site?

On the other hand, everything I've ever touched from IBM with the exception of their laptops has been awful... like the way American cars are awful.

I won't be doing any programming, just installing an application that requires one of these products.
posted by bondcliff to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
We use Apache Tomcat. The Java people swear by it.
posted by xmutex at 8:47 AM on June 29, 2005

Response by poster: Sadly, this is their stance on that: Apache Tomcat should only be used to support less than 25 concurrent users in a Development environment ONLY

I don't understand it either.
posted by bondcliff at 8:56 AM on June 29, 2005

Madness! I bet you could Google for Tomcat case studies and show them some stuff.
posted by xmutex at 9:00 AM on June 29, 2005

Response by poster: I am in a world of pointy headed bosses. They'd probably want to set up a meeting with this Google person.

So I'm stuck between the choices I've mentioned.
posted by bondcliff at 9:07 AM on June 29, 2005

How very strange: I can no longer hear the term "JRun" without immediately making the association "Error"...
posted by Doohickie at 9:08 AM on June 29, 2005

There's a number of servlet shootouts, like this one that seems to heavily favor JRun and Tomcat. (Yes, Virginia, JRun can be stable. In any case, I'd like to see how MeFi would run on Tomcat. It's free, after all.)
posted by zsazsa at 9:23 AM on June 29, 2005

I'll jump in here and echo Doohickie - if MeFi is any gauge of stability, you may want to avoid JRun. That being said,

I'm a WAS admin for a state agency in Louisiana. We have multiple apps running on it that are accessible internally and externally, and we have no stability issues to speak of. Sure, it's a little cumbersome at first (I have no experience administering JRun so I can't speak to that) and you may benefit from going to an IBM training class on it (I did) but with some jump-start guides and basic J2EE knowledge you could be good to go... But, if you're only going to be using it for 25 users, full-blown WAS may be a little too robust for you.

(on preview, zsazsa, I'll go check out that link)
posted by kuperman at 9:24 AM on June 29, 2005

I have proven I am not very good with pressing the preview or post button.

The link zsazsa provided is a very good read. You may gain some insight into what fits you better there.

Also, as far as using WAS with IIS and SQL, it's fairly easy (with the exception of setting up SSL, it's not exactly straight-forward) - that's what I've got going on (also using DB2 and Neon Shadow Connect as db connections)... using IIS to front-end it is as simple as using an ISAPI filter and setting up the JDBC data source for SQL is ... well, simple as installing some drivers from Microsoft, setting up your JDBC provider, and then pretty much doing the same thing like you would do for configuring a System DSN, for instance.

If you're going to be adding more users and running more than one app on it eventually, it may be something to look at. I am not a WebSphere god, nor am I an IBM employee or evangelist - I just know what works for me.
posted by kuperman at 9:45 AM on June 29, 2005

Something to consider as a factor is that JRun is a minority niche product. In fact, I'm amazed it's still on the market. You'll find more support in general -- of both the Googling-for-answers and hired kinds -- with WebSphere.

I wouldn't be overly concerned with robustness in your product selection process, so look towards other factors like cost and supportability. Windows, IIS, and MSSQL are all going to be the primary reliability bottlenecks and chief sources of administrative headaches regardless of your application server choice.
posted by majick at 11:00 AM on June 29, 2005

Another option to consider may be BEA WebLogic. I know some people who have worked extensively with both WebLogic and WebSphere, and they all agree that WebLogic is much more pleasant to work with. Yet another option that hasn't been mentioned is JBoss, which seems to be the preferred open source application server these days.
posted by klausness at 11:33 AM on June 29, 2005

If you want geek points, a stable server, a free server, and the ability to eventually do EJBs, JMS, or any other J2EE doohickey that your company might want to try, then look no further than JBoss. We run several JBoss instances talking to a Oracle backend and it runs swimmingly. Previously we were locked into Weblogic.
posted by eurasian at 11:47 AM on June 29, 2005

eurasian - how can you be "locked in" to something that (1) conforms to a standard and (2) that you left anyway? the only way i can see that for you to be "locked in" is if you use additional non-standard features (which is either because they're so cool you pay to use them, or you're stupid).
posted by andrew cooke at 5:03 PM on June 29, 2005

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