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IBM WebSphere Application Servers
24 September 2002
Deborah A. Hess, Russell Ruggiero

Document Type:  Product Report
Report Status:  Classic
Note Number:  DPRO-90756
  Download PDF

Report status: This Classic report is for reference purposes only. No future updates are planned.

IBM's WebSphere application servers offer a J2EE runtime environment and tools for creating, deploying and maintaining Web applications. The servers are part of a WebSphere e-business platform.


WebSphere Application Server 4.0 supports Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.2, with some J2EE 1.3 features. A full complement of J2EE 1.3 features will be available in WebSphere Application Server V5, due for release at the end of calendar year 2002.

Table of Contents

List of Tables

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Overview [return to Table of Contents]

The heart of the WebSphere product line is WebSphere Application Server 4.0, available since August 2001. The Application Server comes in four editions: WebSphere Application Server Advanced Edition, Advanced Single Server Edition, Advanced Developer Edition and Enterprise Edition (WebSphere Application Server Standard Edition is still in version 3.5). All editions use the same Java engine. Detailed features and functions for the Advanced and Enterprise Editions are available in tables:

WebSphere integrates with a variety of Java development tools. Applications created with IBM's VisualAge for Java can be remotely or locally deployed to WebSphere Application Server and debugged within WebSphere Studio, thus providing a totally integrated development environment. Borland JBuilder and BEA WebGain/Visual Cafe developers can also deploy applications and EJBs (via IBM's free WebSphere EJB container) to WebSphere installations.

Application Server provides a secure deployment environment with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) clients or third-party security products. Developers or administrators can create secure access control lists to control access to specific calls within an application, so that, for example, proprietary database information is not transmitted to unauthorized users. The WebSphere Application Server also includes extensive real-time performance-monitoring tools. An IBM DB2 database—bundled with the Advanced and Enterprise Editions—provides a repository that stores Web-site usage and performance data. Both editions also include an Administrative Console with tools to convert this data into customizable reports. All four WebSphere Application Servers can be administered through a browser or via command-line tools.

New features in WebSphere Application Server 4.0 include the following:

WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and OS/390

IBM also provides a WebSphere Application Server specifically designed for mainframes running the z/OS and OS/390 operating systems. It supports IBM Parallel Sysplex technology, offers enterprise-scale services and includes a workload manager that supports IBM mainframe clustering.

Fundamentally, it shares the same basic core container of the WebSphere Application Server line of products, but has been specifically optimized for the z/OS and OS/390 operating systems. The current version of the IBM WebSphere Application Server (4.0.1) for z/OS and OS/390 is both J2EE 1.2 compliant and supports the latest canonical Web services standards as is supported by WebSphere Application Server 4.0 Advanced Edition.

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Table 1
Features and Functions: WebSphere Application Server 4.0 Advanced Edition
Version 4.0
Overview Designed for most distributed Web-based applications. Supports multiple distributed servers, with the application and administrative servers running in their own Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Includes DB2 for storing repository information.
Repository Mandatory and stored in a relational base. Requires DB2 7.1 (supplied) or later.
Web Server Includes an HTTP server built on Apache Web Server. Provides an administration GUI; support for LDAP and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) connectivity.
Web Container Used to package and handle servlet requests sent by an HTTP server. The container specifies the application server on which it runs, information about connections between the container and the Web server and the port where the Web container listens.
Internet Protocols Supported HTML, XML, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) (HTTP-S)
Interoperability With Other IBM Applications Lotus Domino, WebSphere Commerce Suite, WebSphere Business Integrator, MQSeries/WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Everyplace Suite, WebSphere Business Components, VisualAge for Java, WebSphere Studio
Application Development and Deployment
Application Types Use J2EE to create both Web and enterprise applications.
Web Applications Consist of any combination of servlets, Java Server Pages (JSPs), XML files, HTML files and graphics files. Packaged in a Web Archive Resource or.war file that also includes a Web deployment descriptor.
Enterprise Applications Consist of EJBs and Web applications. Packaged in an enterprise application archive, or.ear, file, that can include .war files, .jar files (EJBs or client modules) and an application deployment descriptor.
Application Assembly Tool Creates and assembles components into Web client modules (Web application archive [WAR] files), EJB modules (Java Archives [JAR] files) Web Services (ear files) or enterprise applications (EAR files). Accessed through the Administrative Console.
VisualAge (VA) for Java and WebSphere Studio Can directly deploy VA Java applications into WebSphere Application Server. Developers can test and debug these applications remotely within the server. Supports WebSphere Studio for creating Web content using servlets or JSPs.
Automatic Application Reloading Allows WebSphere to monitor an application and reload it if any component changes.
Debugging Tools IBM Distributed Debugger can debug programs locally or over a network. Object Level Trace works with the debugger and monitors distributed application flow.
EJB Version Supported Supports EJB 1.1 Session Beans and Entity Beans. Entity Beans offer both container-managed and bean-managed persistence.
WebSphere EJB Components Provide an EJB server, EJB clients and an administrative interface. Can use the full administrative console or command-line tool to administer EJBs.
EJB Server Supplies the application server tier. Includes an EJB server runtime, EJB containers and the EJBs themselves.
EJB Client Supports several clients: a Java application, a servlet, a combination of an applet and servlet or a Java Server Page (JSP) file.
WebSphere EJB Programming Extensions The distributed exception package helps manage large numbers of exceptions, the command package reduces the number of remote invocations from distributed applications and the localizable-text package lets applications output information in multiple human languages.
Other Java Features
J2EE Compliance Certified for J2EE
J2EE Containers All WebSphere components, not just EJBs, operate within containers. There is a runtime environment container, a Web Container for JSPs and servlets, an Application Container for clients, and an Applet Container for applets.
Deployment Can deploy code as EJBs, servlets or JSPs.
Java Clients Supports applet clients, J2EE application clients and Java thin application clients. The application clients are stand-alone Java programs.
Applet Clients Run in browsers over either Remote Method Invocation/Internet Inter-Object Request Broker Protocol (RMI/IIOP) or HTTP. Require Windows NT or Windows 2000 on the client machine.
J2EE Application Clients Access EJBs, Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) databases, Java Messaging Service (JMS) queues and Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) namespaces. Code is portable between J2EE implementations. The application client provides a container to access system services, initializes the client application's runtime environment and runs over RMI/IIOP.
Java Thin Application Clients These are lightweight versions of J2EE application clients intended for intranet use. They provide a runtime that supports both CORBA and EJBs. They are generally not portable, do not initialize runtime services and run over RMI/IIOP.
E-Mail Provides Java Mail 1.1 with JavaBeans Activation Framework 1.0.1 for handling non-text attachments. Java Mail is available in servlets, JSP files, enterprise EJBs and application clients.
JNDI WebSphere includes a name server that uses the JNDI application programming interface (API) to access established directory or naming services, such as LDAP or Domain Naming System (DNS) Caching reduces the number of remote calls to the name server and increase performance. Utilities are available for implementing and debugging JNDI.
LDAP WebSphere includes Java packages for accessing LDAP servers.
JMS Provides loosely coupled, asynchronous communication between software components and applications. Uses MQSeries (version 5.2 or newer) as default JMS provider; supports JMS-extended architecture (JMS-XA) through MQSeries. JMS Listener requires WebSphere Application Server Enterprise Extensions.
JSP Supports JSP 1.1, including inline Java code (scriptlets). JSP processor creates and compiles a servlet from each JSP file. WebSphere includes a batch JSP compiler that monitors compiled JSP files and automatically recompiles and reloads these files when changes occur.
Servlets Support Servlet API 2.2. WebSphere includes supplementary packages for managing session state, creating personalized Web pages, generating error reports and accessing databases. Include a PageListServlet that removes the need for hard-coding URLs in servlets.
Bean Scripting Framework This is a JavaBean that lets developers use scripting in server-side Java applications. Can use scripts to invoke Java objects and to manipulate values. Allows Java programs to work with results from scripts.
Java 2 Connector Architecture (JCA) Provides preview implementation only. Connectors available for SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle Financials, J.D. Edwards, IBM CICS and IMS, IBM Host-on-Demand Applications.
MQSeries Messaging
Point-to-Point Messaging Handles both guaranteed and nonguaranteed delivery. WebSphere coordinates transactions; MQSeries acts as resource manager.
Publish-Subscribe Messaging Implemented through MQSeries Integrator or the Pub-Sub Support Pac. With Integrator, WebSphere application server can be a publisher, a subscriber or both.
Transactions Requires a second resource manager such as JDBC for two-phase commit; JMS-only transactions are one-phase commit.
Connectivity and Transactions
Connectivity Management Offers both gateway and adapter connectivity.
Transaction Services Implement Java Transaction Architecture (JTA) and Java Transaction Service (JTS) to connect to transactional systems and to manage transactions.
Transactional EJBs Can be persistently stored in any supported database.
Session Tracking IBM provides a Session Manager package that uses servlets to track user sessions on an application server. It uses cookies, SSL, URL rewriting or in-memory local server caching to obtain session information.
Session Persistence WebSphere can store session objects, such as transactional EJBs, in a database. Administrators can configure parameters such as when to update information and the type of information that is updated and can create connection pools for the session database.
XML Technologies Supported XML 1.0
XML Namespaces
Document Object Model (DOM) 1.0
Simple API for XML (SAX)
Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) 1.0
XML Path Language (Xpath) 1.0
Generating XML Documents Static XML document generation is provided out of the box by the core XML APIs. For generating dynamic XML documents, developers use the core APIs to develop servlets or applications that generate XML and then deploy the servlets or applications to the WebSphere application server.
XML Document Structure Services This XML toolset provides a document parser, document validator and document generator.
Parser Supports XML4J and Xerces parsers.
Document Type Definition (DTD) Provides a DTD library. Supports documents with and without DTDs.
XSL Processor Supports Xalan and Lotus XSL processors. Processors can convert XML documents to HTML or convert from one XML dialect or schema to another. Processing can take place on the server or the browser.
DOM Uses DOM Level 1 along with the XSL processor to generate HTML from XML.
Reliability and Scalability
Techniques for Scaling and Reliability Offer three scaling techniques: server groups and cloning, workload management and IP sprayer. Supports both horizontal (one application server cloned to multiple physical machines) and vertical (multiple application server clones residing on one physical machine) scaling.
Application Server Groups and Cloning Enable multiple copies of a server. Users first create a server group, which is a template based on an actual application server instance and then clone the group.
Application Server Workload Management The system transparently distributes incoming requests among an application server's clones. Provides both load balancing and failover, and administrative servers can be used for failover support. Automatically implemented for cloned servers; manually enabled for administrative servers.
Load-Balancing Algorithms Supports random, round robin, random with local preference and round robin with local preference, transaction affinity and process affinity (servlet and EJB clients only).
TCP/IP Sprayer for Web Servers A dispatcher on a Web server intercepts HTTP requests from Web clients and distributes them transparently among Web servers within a cluster. The TCP/IP sprayer provides scalability, load balancing and failover.
State Management Uses session affinity, which directs all requests within a session to the same server; transaction affinity, which directs all requests within a transaction to the same server and server affinity, where specific servers are designated for specific types of requests. WebSphere Session Manager manages state information for each server.
JVM Pooling Creates JVMs dynamically and returns them to the pool when no longer needed.
EJB Load Balancing Provides load balancing for entity and stateless session beans by pooling instances of these beans. Cannot pool individual state session bean instances across multiple servers.
Web Services
Types Supported Support SOAP, UDDI, WSDL.
SOAP Support Includes Apache SOAP 2.2, a Java implementation of SOAP 1.1 and SOAP With Attachments. Provides an XML-SOAP administration tool for managing SOAP services. Supports SOAP only over HTTP.
Objects Transformable Into SOAP Services JavaBeans, EJBs, Bean Scripting Framework supported scripts and DB2 stored procedures.
SOAP Security Extension (SOAP-SEC) Provides security for SOAP messages via HTTP basic authentication, SSL (HTTP-S) or SOAP signatures. All three options can be used individually or in any combination.
UDDI4J Java class library that provides an API for interacting with a UDDI registry. The library generates and parses messages sent between the application server and a UDDI server. Includes all source code and API Javadocs. WebSphere does not provide a public UDDI directory.
Web Container Used to package and handle servlet requests sent by an HTTP server. The container specifies the application server on which it runs, information about connections between the container and the Web server and the port where the Web container listens.
Web Service Packaging and Deployment Web Service modules are packaged and deployed as EAR files.
Database Support
Database Connections Can connect to databases via JDBC or by creating IBM data access beans. Can use the administrative console or the Application Client Resource Tool to administer data source providers (that is, JDBC) and data sources.
Database Connection Pooling Provided through IBM DataSource objects; allows the application server to manage all database connections. Available for IBM DB2, Oracle and SQL Server databases and the Merant SequelLink (AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, Windows).
JDBC Core API Data Access Requires database name, user ID and password to get a database connection. Provides a single connection that must be managed by the connecting application.
JDBC 2.0 Optional Package API Lets developers program directly to a connection pooling model instead of an individual database to obtain database connections.
Data Access Beans These are specific to WebSphere and are used to obtain pooled connections or work with database queries and result sets.
J2EE Security Features Supports security features in EJB 1.1 and Servlet 2.2.
WebSphere Security Server Supports administrative and runtime security for servers and applications. Authenticates users by consulting with registries or directories.
Security Administration WebSphere Administrative Console provides security administration.
Client Security WebSphere supports the following clients: browser clients, applet clients and stand-alone Java application clients.
User Profiles Processed by the User Profile Manager. The Profile Manager is an entity EJB called by servlets when they must access a user profile. Data are handled by the bean.
Authentication Available through the server's local operating system, LDAP directories or custom security registries. Supports local registries and centralized registries; the latter can consist of registries on LDAP servers or custom user registries created with the WebSphere custom registry interface.
Authentication Methods Handled through Java Servlets. Include unencrypted basic HTTP authentication, SSL mutual authentication, custom login forms or X.509 digital certificates. Does not support digest authentication. Supports Web single sign-on.
Application Security Specified using XML deployment descriptors (attributes) in the EAR archive. Security attributes include roles, method permissions, run-as mode or delegation policy, login configuration and challenges, settings for data confidentiality and integrity. The application maps security roles to users and groups at deployment. Each application has its own authorization table.
Authorization Uses J2EE authorization, based on roles, where a role is a set of permissions to execute methods on Java objects or components. Security roles are created when the application is assembled. When the application is deployed, real users and groups are assigned to the security roles. Servers connect to LDAP user registries to check client authorizations.
Access Control Lists Support individual users, groups of users, down to individual methods or calls within an application.
Encryption SSL is the default encryption for all IIOP communications and is also available for HTTP Web communications. Supports LDAP over SSL between security and LDAP servers.
Secure Association Service (SAS) Invoked whenever Java clients send requests to EJBs. At the client, SAS furnishes credentials before the request gets to the server. On the server, SAS authenticates and passes the credentials to the EJB container as part of the request.
Transaction Redirection Redirects transaction requests from servers outside an organization's firewall or inside a demilitarized zone (DMZ) to a WebSphere server within its firewall.
Administrative Services Servers are organized into managed nodes, which are administrative domains consisting of application servers. Each managed node runs a J2EE-based administrative server which manages the node's resources. Resources include instantiated objects such as EJB servers, server groups, EJB containers, deployed EJBs, JSPs, servlets, Java applications, methods and security policies.
Administrative Servers Tasks include: communicating with the repository to add, delete or modify information in the repository and communicating with remotely located administrative servers to process requests or delegate tasks.
WebSphere Administrative Console Provides administrative interface to one or more application servers by modifying information in the repository. Provides configuration, operation, security, troubleshooting and data storage. Includes a runtime inspector to list the current (runtime) values of specific properties. Provides interface into Application Assembly Tool, Log Analyzer and Resource Analyzer. Lets administrators create, delete, locate, start and stop resources. Includes a hierarchical view of all resources in a domain, guides for administrative operations, screens to view and modify resources, a central browser for JAR files, and a message window for critical event monitoring. Displays XML deployment descriptors instead of individual servlets, JSPs or EJBs.
Resource Creation Wizards Administrative console provides wizards for installing application servers, performance tuning and creating application servers, server groups, data sources, JMS resources, Java 2 Connector Architecture files, and URL providers.
Administrative Repository Stores persistent data associated with resources. To make changes to the repository, the administrative console calls an administrative server. Session EJBs running on the administrative server then invoke methods on resource EJBs, which store data within the repository. IBM DB2, Oracle, Sybase or another relational database can host the repository.
Configuration Files Administrators view, save and restore configuration information using XML files.
XMLConfig Tool Lets administrators use XML files to work with configuration data in the administrative repository. Used to perform multiple changes at one time or to import repository information into a cloned server. Can export the entire administrative repository or specific administrative objects to an XML file. Can import an XML configuration file and use it to add, remove or modify repository objects.
WebSphere Control Program (WSCP) Command Line Administration Tcl-based command line client for administering application servers, server objects or enterprise applications. Supports all administrative console functions. Scripting available for performing high-level aggregate tasks. Can embed interactive WSCP operations in a Java application.
Performance Monitoring Infrastructure (PMI) Consists of packages and libraries for collecting, processing and displaying server and application performance information. Collects numeric, statistical and load information about the following: EJBs, database connection and thread pools, JVMs, HTTP sessions, transactions and Web applications. Data structures called counters accumulate this information, which can be viewed using the WebSphere Resource Analyzer, Performance Monitoring Servlet or JVM Profiler Interface.
PMI Client Package Provides tools for developing custom performance monitoring clients.
WebSphere Resource Analyzer Stand-alone application that uses PMI to collect information about application and runtime resources. It includes a graphical console and can be used in real-time or offline. It provides comparison charts and log files and supports a wide range of counters for different types of resources.
Performance Monitoring Servlet Uses HTTP requests and the PMI to provide performance metrics for an entire administrative domain of servers. Assembles performance data into an XML document that displays the actual observed data and the context under which it was observed.
JVM Profiler Interface (JVMPI) Provides runtime performance data about JVM resources, including garbage collection, objects and threads.

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Table 2
Features and Functions: WebSphere Application Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition
Version 4.0
Overview For architects and developers creating large Web-based applications spanning multiple platforms and locations. Consists of WebSphere Application Server, Advanced Edition, Enterprise Services, IBM TXSeries, CICS Transaction Gateway and Universal Clients, IBM DCE, Encina, and MQSeries. Includes all of the features in WebSphere Application Server, Advanced Edition.
Enterprise Services
Business Rule Beans Separate business rules from EJB interface and behavior code, so that rules can be managed and modified by business analysts without requiring developer support. Provide a business rule framework for use with EJBs, so that rules can be changed without having to restart the server for each change. Business Rule Beans can also handle time scheduling and rule-use scenarios which involve multiple rules. Business Rule Beans can be attached to EJBs and other Java objects.
JMS Listener and Message Beans Manages integration between inbound messages and applications or EJBs running on WebSphere. Each JMS Listener monitors an incoming message queue; if there is an incoming message, the JMS Listener invokes business logic from a general purpose EJB called a message bean. The message bean is responsible for processing incoming messages. Each destination message bean is "general purpose" for its own message queue; different queues may use general-purpose message beans with different capabilities. JMS Listener properties are controlled by changing properties in an XML configuration.
Internationalization Consists of a set of APIs that server-side components use to customize information for a client's time zone, language and other cultural conventions. Allows a single application distributed across different locations to support multiple languages, time zones and information formats. This service runs over RMI/IIOP, so that the flow is from an EJB client to an EJG server.
WorkAreas Allows middleware services to implicitly propagate private information—such as security certificates or transaction contexts—between two processes without requiring intervention by a user or developer. This information is normally not included as part of the arguments passed in remote requests. The WorkArea provides storage for this information, and it is automatically passed with every remote method invocation. Programmers can also use a WorkArea to pass arguments automatically instead of inserting them into every argument list, simplifying programming and maintenance.
CORBA Service Provides bidirectional CORBA connectivity by letting EJBs and servlets invoke CORBA applications and letting CORBA applications invoke EJBs. Servlets or EJBs can invoke distributed objects on a third-party object request broker (ORB) (coexistence mode) or through the WebSphere Application Server ORB (interoperability mode). CORBA environments supported include VisiBroker C++ and Java, Orbix C++, Orbix Web, Orbix2000 C++/Java. Provides tools for creating C++ clients and building a C++ WebSphere server.
ActiveX Bridge This wraps Java classes in ActiveX interfaces so that ActiveX clients and servers can communicate with J2EE classes or components and use J2EE APIs. The bridge is a C++ DLL that calls Java code through the Java Native Interface. The code invokes services from a J2EE container on a Java client or a Java proxy on a Microsoft server; these, in turn, make calls to a Java ORB.
IBM TXSeries
Overview Provides integrated, reliable transaction processing across distributed systems and over the Internet. Combines technologies from IBM CICS and Encina.
TXSeries Customer Information Control System (CICS) Provides general-purpose online business transaction processing for a variety of applications. CICS defines a transaction as a basic operation offered to a user, and CICS applications consist of a series of predefined and/or custom transactions. Developers use the CICS API and pre-compiler to embed a series of commands into an application written in Java, C++ or a high-level language; information used by these applications can be stored in relational databases or special files.
TXSeries Encina Provides an infrastructure and tools for building and running large applications that process distributed transactions across multiple heterogeneous platforms. Encina supports load balancing, scheduling and fault tolerance and can administer distributed systems as one logical system. Encina includes general-purpose development tools, a queue for offloading tasks for later processing, a managed file system, interoperability with IBM Systems Network Architecture (SNA) systems, tools and gateways for supporting Java clients and an object-oriented API. Encina supports DCE, CORBA and Microsoft COM environments.

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Table 3
Features and Functions: WebSphere Application Server z/OS and OS/390
Version 4.0.1
Overview The IBM WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and OS/390 includes the core WebSphere application server, but has been specifically optimized for mainframe operating systems. It includes J2EE 1 2 and Web services support, Sysplex-specific functions and integration with mainframe security packages.
Virtualization Technology: Processor Resource/System Manager (PR/SM) Logical Partitioning (LPAR) Allows system resources to be shared among up to 15 isolated images. Each LPAR acts as a "virtual server," and each z/OS and OS/390 virtual server can run multiple applications simultaneously. This can reduce the number of servers needed, making the system easier to manage and maintain than large server farms.
IBM Parallel Sysplex Functionality
Overview In a Parallel Sysplex, "work" is directed toward the Sysplex and not to an individual server. In this scenario the "work" may run in any image and on any server. The Sysplex has been designed to run heterogeneous workloads (for example, WebSphere, OLTP, etc.) simultaneously at 100 percent utilization. Sysplex services include caching, high-speed messaging and lock management.
Logical Sysplex Servers In an IBM Parallel Sysplex, up to 32 z/OS and OS/390 images, on multiple zSeries and S/390 servers, may be coupled to create a single logical system. Data is shared across all z/OS images, and the Coupling Facility maintains shared integrity.
Scalability and Fault Tolerance Sysplex functionality provides fault tolerance and scalability in two ways. First, Sysplex can provide near-linear and virtually unlimited scale in a cluster. Second, Sysplex systems can survive a software subsystem outage or hardware failure without loss of availability of the cluster to perform work.
Sysplex Load Balancing Automatically balances, prioritizes and completes work within a system according to stated business goals. Automatically starts or stops additional WebSphere servers to accommodate dynamic load changes. If a given server is overloaded, it will be temporarily bypassed in favor of less busy servers. If a server is unavailable, it will not receive new work. If a server fails, other servers will take over the work and the original server will be recovered. If the Sysplex is running at capacity, resources will be adjusted by workload priority.
Resource Management
Intelligent Resource Director (IRD) Has the ability to manage resources across multiple logical partitions in a server.
LPAR CPU Management Gives each partition the CPU resources it requires.
Dynamic Channel Path Management Gives each partition the disk access bandwidth it requires.
Channel Subsystem Priority Queuing Prioritizes I/O requests in the channel subsystem.
Workload Manager (WLM) WLM automatically allocates, adjusts and reallocates resources (for example, LPARs, CPUs, channels, I/O subsystems and DASD, TCP/IP connections, servers, etc.) to meet defined objectives and business goals. PR/SM, WLM and IRD have been designed to work together to ensure that the resources of the server are correctly balanced.
Resource Recovery Services (RRS) These are protocols and program interfaces that allow WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and OS/390, the Resource Recovery Services (RRS) component of z/OS or OS/390, CICS, IMS, MQ or DB2 to take advantage of the platform Transaction Manager. The RRS component of z/OS or OS/390, CICS, IMS, DB2 subsystems and RRS-compliant connectors all participate in two-phase commit processing, which enables zOS or OS/390 to restore resources to their original state. This version of WebSphere enables heterogeneous commit between IMS, CICS and DB2 through deep integration of RRS.
Recovery Termination Management (RTM) Detects, isolates, corrects and recovers from software errors.
J2EE Support
J2EE Version 1.2.1 Support Verified compatible with J2EE Version 1.2 by the J2EE Compatibility Test Suite (CTS). JSPs and Servlets host server-side presentation logic. EJBs and XML Document Structure Services provide server-side business logic. Includes mainframe-specific Java runtime environment (JRE). Also supports the following J2EE technologies:
• EJB 1.1
• JavaMail 1.1
• JDBC 2.0
• JNDI 1.2
• JSP 1.1
• JTA/JTS 1.0
• Servlet 2.2
J2EE Connector Architecture (JCA) CICS and IMS Connectors Provides JCA connector support, including three specific connectors:
• CICS Transaction Gateway 4.0.2 External Call Interface (EXCI) Connector
• IMS Connector for Java 1.2.2
• IMS JDBC Connector
These connectors are designed specifically to work with the RRS component of z/OS or OS/390. These connectors are shipped as part of separate CICS or IMS products.
Security Capabilities Provides mainframe security controls for user access to TCP/IP stack, ports and network. Includes integrated intrusion detection services (port scanning, stack attacks and flooding detection).
Client Authentication In a distributed network, WebSphere provides facilities for clients within the same system or Sysplex as the server and for clients in remote systems.
Client Within the Same System as Server The client passes its user ID to identify itself when it requests a service. No authentication is required, because the client's identity is already established by the operating system. Like other applications, IBM WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and OS/390 makes calls to security in zOS and OS/390 to keep track of the user identity during the execution of a piece of work.
Client Within the Same Sysplex as a Server The client may send a PassTicket for authentication along with a user ID for identification. A PassTicket is a onetime-use password that is dynamically generated.
Client in Remote Systems In a Remote System (zOS, OS/390 or WebSphere on a distributed platform), the client may use SSL-based authentication, which secures communication with public key encryption. Additionally, with SSL both the client and the server can use digital certificates obtained from a certificate authority.
SSL Authentication Supports SSL basic authentication, client certificates and Kerberos.
SSL Basic Authentication A server proves its identity to the client by passing it a digital certificate. A client proves its identity to the server by passing a user ID and password.
SSL Client Certificates Both server and client exchange digital certificates to prove their identities to each other.
SSL Kerberos The server passes a digital certificate to prove its identity to the client. The client passes a Kerberos token, obtained from the Kerberos Security Server, to prove its identity to the server.
Other Features
Additional Connections Supports connections with S/390 QOS (quality of service) requirements applications that run on the following:
• Web Servers
• Java technology-based connections to IBM CICS, IBM IMS and IBM DB2 systems
• CORBA Application Servers
• MQ
Web Services Support Supports the same level of Web Services as WebSphere Application Server Version 4.0 Advanced Edition. It also leverages the Sun Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.2 initiative and the W3C XML 1.0 standard.

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Table 4
Operating Requirements, WebSphere Application Server
Platform Windows NT or Windows 2000 Sun Solaris AIX HP-UX iSeries (formerly AS/400) Linux
Advanced Single Server Edition Advanced Developer Edition
Processor Pentium 500MHz or faster Sparc 440MHz or faster 604e RS/6000 375MHz or faster HP 9000 500 CPW Pentium 500MHz or faster
OS Version NT Server 4.0 SP6a, Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server SP1 V7 or V8, October 2000 or later maintenance level V 11.0 V4R5, V5R1, V5R2 Red Hat 7.1, SuSE 7.1
Memory 384MB, 512MB recommended 384MB, 512MB recommended 384MB, 512MB recommended 384MB, 512MB recommended 512MB 384MB, 512MB recommended
Disk Space 100MB or more 220MB or more 200MB or more 240MB or more 512MB 220MB or more
Browser Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3
Client Software Web browser with HTML 4, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS
Other CD-ROM, communications adapter CD-ROM, TCP/IP adapter CD-ROM, network interface card CD-ROM, network interface card Web browser with HTML 4, CSS. Advanced Developer Edition not available for iSeries. CD-ROM, TCP/IP adapter
Advanced Edition
Processor Pentium 500MHz or faster Sparc 440MHz or faster 604e RS/6000 375MHz or faster HP 9000 500 CPW Pentium 500MHz or faster
OS Version NT Server 4.0 SP6a, Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server SP2 V7 or V8, October 2000 or later maintenance level V 11.0 V4R5, V5R1, V5R2 Red Hat 7.1, SuSE 7.1
Memory 384MB, 512MB recommended 384MB, 512MB recommended 384MB, 512MB recommended 384MB, 512MB recommended 512MB 384MB, 512MB recommended
Disk Space 100MB or more 220MB or more 200MB or more 240MB or more 512MB 220MB or more
Browser Netscape Communication 4.7.3, Internet Explorer 5.5 SP1 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3
Client Software Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS
Other CD-ROM, communications adapter CD-ROM, TCP/IP adapter CD-ROM, network interface card CD-ROM, network interface card CD-ROM, network interface card CD-ROM, TCP/IP adapter
Enterprise Edition
Processor Pentium 500MHz or faster Sparc 440MHz or faster 604e RS/6000 375MHz or faster Not available Not available Not available
OS Version NT Server 4.0 SP6a, Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server SP2 V7 or V8, October 2000 or later maintenance level Not available Not available Not available
Memory 384MB, 512MB recommended 384MB, 512MB recommended 384MB, 512MB recommended Not available Not available Not available
Disk Space 100MB or more 220MB or more 200MB or more Not available Not available Not available
Browser Netscape Communication 4.7.3, Internet Explorer 5.5 SP1 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Netscape Communication 4.7.3 Not available Not available Not available
Web Clients Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Web browser with HTML 4, CSS Not available Not available Not available
Enterprise Services 100GB additional disk space, 300MB swap space 100GB additional disk space, 512MB swap space 100GB additional disk space, 500MB swap space Not available Not available Not available
Clients 150MB disk space, 300MB swap space 150MB disk space, 300MB swap space 150MB disk space, 300MB swap space Not available Not available Not available
Other CD-ROM, communications adapter (TXSeries runs on Windows 2000 SP 1 or Windows NT Server) CD-ROM, TCP/IP adapter CD-ROM, network interface card, TXSeries requires MQSeries Adapter Support (can run on AIX or 4.3.3) Not available Not available Not available

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Table 5
Operating Requirements, WebSphere Application Server V4.0.1 for z/OS and OS/390
Specific Requirements, S/390
Mainframe Hardware Binary floating point hardware, such as IBM S/390 Parallel Enterprise Server Generation 5 (G5), and higher.
Processor G6: All models, ranging from two- to 12-way are supported.
G5: All models, ranging from one- to 10-way are supported.
Memory G6: 1-5 GB recommended, based on specific configuration.
G5: 1-5 GB recommended, based on specific configuration.
Operating System IBM OS/390, Version 2.8 or higher with IBM HTTP Server for OS/390.
DASD (disk space) One 3390-3 volume recommended.
Hardware Requirements, zSeries
Mainframe Hardware IBM zSeries 900 and zSeries 800.
Processor z900: All models, ranging from one- to16-way are supported.
z800: All models have a five Processor Unit (PU) MultiChip Module and are supported.
Memory z900: 10GB recommended.
z800: 10GB recommended.
Operating System IBM z/OS, Version 1.1 or higher (requires G5 or higher, or zSeries 900 Servers.
DASD (disk space) One 3390-3 volume recommended.
Software Requirements
The following OS/390 elements, features and components must be installed, enabled and configured:
• IBM Software Developer Kit (SDK), Java 2 Technology Edition, SDK Version 1.3: For Web services security, the PTF for persistent reusable support, including the Sun standards extensions (JSSE and JCE), is required.
• IBM DB2 Universal Database Server for zOS and OS/390, Version 7.1, if installed using standard configuration.
• IBM DB2 for OS/390, Version 5 or higher, if installed with alternate configuration and using Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), JDBC/Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) Bridge or session state.
• LDAP Server.
• IBM Communications Server for OS/390 (TCP/IP).
• IBM OS/390 Unix System Services and Hierarchical File System (HFS).
• IBM SecureWay Security Server (RACF), or equivalent security product.
• System Logger and System SSL security.
• IBM Workload Manager (WLM) for zOS and OS/390 in goal mode.
• Resource Recovery Services (RRS).
• FTP Server.
• CICS Transaction Server: If the application environment uses CICS, then CICS Transaction Server for OS/390 1.3 or later is required for CCF or JCA connectivity.
• IMS: If the application environment uses IMS, IMS Version 5.1 or later is required. If PAA is used, IMS Version 6.1 or later is required.
• JMS: If the application environment uses JMS, IBM MQSeries, Version 5.2 for OS/390 with an enabling PTF and IBM MQSeries Product Extensions MA88 are required.
Optional Application and Web-Site Development Tools • IBM WebSphere Application Server (distributed version)
• VisualAge for Java
• Object Builder
• WebSphere Studio
Workstation Requirements Requirements for workstation-based administration and operations.
Processor Pentium 400MHz or compatible
OS Version Windows 95, 98, NT or 2000
Memory 256MB
Disk Space 50MB
Display 800×600 or better

Analysis [return to Table of Contents]

The WebSphere product family includes a set of tools and components that allow users to build and deploy dynamic Web content quickly and easily. The WebSphere Application Server extends the versatility of established Web servers with application development using Java servlets, EJBs, JSP, XML and XML translations (XSLT), which is used for presenting content on a variety of devices. It supports the Java Servlet 2.1 API for easy creation of user sessions with state information and can dynamically access common databases either natively or through JDBC.

The WebSphere Application Server Advanced Edition offers certified J2EE 1.2.1 and EJB 1.1 tools for developing Java components. The integrated Java-based ORB in the application server monitors and controls component containers. Web Sphere 4.0 introduces two new containers: the WAR file for Web client applications and the EAR file for WebSphere enterprise applications. Applications and clients can communicate through SOAP components, the CORBA IIOP and RMI over IIOP provides improved object-oriented connections. The Advanced Edition supports container management and persistent storage for building high-performance transaction environments using servlets and EJBs. DB2 (supplied) or Oracle databases can be used for persistent storage of transactional EJBs.

The Enterprise Edition supports high-volume, high-performance transactions with full two-phase transaction commit and recovery features across disparate back-end systems using a variety of relational database management systems and either CICS or IBM Encina transaction-processing monitors. The Component Broker has an Object Transaction Monitor that allows applications developed with these systems to communicate and cooperate with each other across multiple platforms. The Enterprise Edition lets organizations Web-enable or reuse legacy IT applications. There are gateways and clients that provide links between Java applets and servlets and back-end systems. Asynchronous messaging and queuing services between distributed applications are provided by IBM's MQSeries. The Enterprise Edition also provides a large number of EJB-based interfaces to established databases, messaging and queuing systems, transaction processing (TP) monitors and popular enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

As Web applications become more sophisticated for accessing and transmitting proprietary data, the need to ensure the privacy of the data and the identity of users becomes increasingly important, whether it is a user's credit card number or the sales records for a major corporate account. WebSphere Application Server supports all of the Java security APIs and adds its own security features as well. The application server can combine third-party tools, operating system-level security, LDAP registries to provide an optimal security package. Authentication and authorization policies can control access down to method calls to Java components and classes, providing protection for application as well as human clients.

In addition, the Advanced and Enterprise Editions now include a new administrative console, with facilities to manage performance, scalability and availability. Instead of looking at individual EJBs or servlets, the console provides a picture of the entire system, with drilldown to component level available separately. Administration takes place using XML files stored in a repository. In conjunction with the repository, administrators can use the console to access performance monitoring tools that can provide numeric, statistical or load information, then turn these figures into graphs and reports. The console also supports performance management as well. For high availability, servers can be reconfigured, and new servers and hosts can be brought online or changes made without disrupting a running system.

In support of heterogeneous computing environments, the WebSphere product family supports Windows NT/2000, Solaris and HP-UX, as well as IBM's own proprietary midrange and mainframe computers. Despite the number of discrete components, a single interface is used for both development and administration. For example, site usage and analysis tools are distinct from the standard server performance monitoring data, thus allowing different aspects of performance to be separately administered if desired. The WebSphere products allow users to start with a simple Web presence and incrementally develop and support enterprise-scale Web applications that can integrate diverse business processes.

Pricing [return to Table of Contents]

[return to List of Tables]

Table 6
Price List for Select WebSphere Products
  Description List Price (US$)
WebSphere Application Server, Developer Edition
Development Only Version Free download from IBM Web site
WebSphere Application Server, Advanced Single Server Edition
Full Edition Program Pack 8,000
  Electronic Delivery 7,975
  Software Subscription for AIX 1,600 per processor
Upgrade From WebSphere 1.0, 1.1 or WebSphere Standard Edition 2.0 and later, Electronic Delivery 7,195 and up
WebSphere Application Server, Advanced Edition
Full Edition Program Pack 12,000
  Electronic Delivery 11,975
  License plus one year maintenance 13,441
Upgrade From WebSphere Application Server 3.5 Standard Edition plus one-year maintenance 12,685
  From WebSphere Application Server 4.0 Advanced Single Server Edition 5,609
Maintenance, One Year Renewal 2,987
  Renewal after license 7,907
Maintenance, Three Years With registration 5,975
  Renewal 8,962
  Renewal after license 13,881
WebSphere Application Server, Enterprise Edition
Full Edition Program Pack, all versions 35,000
  License plus one-year maintenance 39,259
Development Version For Windows NT, Solaris, AIX development only 2,999
Maintenance, One Year Plus trade up from WebSphere Advanced Edition 27,498
  Renewal 8,724
  Renewal one year after license 23,093
  Three-year registration 17,449
  Three-year renewal 26,173
WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and OS/390
Per Engine License 35,000
  License plus one-year support and subscription 42,000
  Renewal one year after license 7,000
  Trade-up price from WebSphere Application Server 3.02 EE for z/OS 17,500
  Trade-up price from WebSphere Application Server 3.5 SE for z/OS 34,200

GSA Pricing


Competitors [return to Table of Contents]

WebSphere's primary competitor is BEA WebLogic Server. Many installations exhaustively compare the two servers before settling on one as the final choice. WebSphere also competes directly with Oracle Application Server (Oracle9iAS), especially for data-intensive applications. Other competitors include:

Strengths [return to Table of Contents]

Support for Heterogeneous Platforms

The WebSphere products provide a common programming model and deployment capabilities across all popular platforms, including IBM OS/390 and z/OS, the most popular Unix derivatives—including Linux—and Windows NT. The development facilities provide tested methods for reusing and integrating legacy data and applications for new Web applications.

Business Rule Beans

As part of its new Enterprise Services, WebSphere Enterprise Edition includes a technology called Business Rule Beans, which use EJBs to handle an organization's business rules. Business rule beans separate business rules from the EJB code itself to minimize the impact of changes within an organization. Instead of using an inference engine to manage business rules, these beans use a lightweight framework which provides basic business rules out of the box; users can add their own if needed. Separating the rules from the code allows business analysts to maintain and update the rules without requiring developers to change the bean itself.

Standards Support

The WebSphere Application Servers support industry standards for interoperability and security, including XML, EJBs, ORB, Internet Inter-ORB Protocol, SSL and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), among others. In addition, IBM is a founding member of the UDDI project, an effort that will enable companies to quickly, easily and dynamically find and transact business with one another using their preferred applications.

Strong Web Services Commitment and Support

IBM was one of the first non-Microsoft entities to support SOAP, UDDI and WSDL back in 2000 and continues to be one of a very select group of vendors offering a production-ready UDDI public directory. Not surprisingly, WebSphere includes tools for developing all three Web services, including a UDDI4J implementation that allows Java components to interact with UDDI public and private directories. Users who need both UDDI and Java technologies should strongly consider WebSphere.

WebSphere Platform

Most companies prefer to deploy e-business applications as quickly and as economically as possible. Consequently, they want to buy integrated software offerings, not individual products, to be sure that everything works together without the added expense and delay of customization. The WebSphere software platform was designed with this fact in mind. As an integrated offering, WebSphere makes it easier for companies to know what combination of software IBM recommends for a certain type of solution.

WebSphere products provide an integrated development and deployment environment. WebSphere Application Servers can be used in conjunction with Lotus Domino, SAP, IMS and CICS applications and databases; IMS, Encina, CICS and Tuxedo transaction monitors and IBM's WebSphere MQ (formerly MQSeries) messaging products. All WebSphere servers include a Tivoli management agent, allowing the server to be managed as part of the Tivoli enterprise management system. Furthermore, users can choose the Web server from among the most popular commodity servers on the market, including Apache Server, Microsoft's Internet Information Server, Domino and IBM's HTTP Server.

99.999 Percent Availability

Outstanding cluster support, resource management, recovery services and security facilitate the needs of the largest Enterprise environments. The IBM WebSphere Application Server for zOS and OS/390, in tandem with zSeries and S/390, forms a highly reliable, robust and scalable hardware and software combination.


Between 1998 and year-end 2001, IBM invested over $2 billion in hiring, product development and marketing campaigns for WebSphere. Key IBM strategies contributing to the momentum of WebSphere in the marketplace include:

In addition to WebSphere's support for all major computing platforms, nearly 9,000 software vendors offer ready-to-run applications for the WebSphere environment.

Worldwide Support Organization

IBM boasts the world's largest computing service organization, with extensive experience in implementing Web applications. IBM has offices all over the world, as well. This, combined with WebSphere's strong localization support, makes WebSphere Application Server a good choice for organizations in smaller countries or remote locations.

Limitations [return to Table of Contents]

Integration Focused on IBM Products

Support for using established corporate data and applications for new Web applications is heavily focused on IBM-supplied databases and applications. Although Oracle databases are supported as containers for objects, the integration of Oracle databases, probably the most widely used database for large-scale commercial systems, is not as complete as with DB2 and requires a rather tricky installation procedure.

One J2EE Version Behind

WebSphere has traditionally been slow to implement the latest J2EE technologies. For example, WebSphere 3.5 supported J2EE 1.1, although Sun had been offering J2EE 1.2.1 for some time, and WebSphere 4.0 supports J2EE 1.2.1 rather than J2EE 1.3. This is primarily due to the difficulty of updating all of the products in the WebSphere product line. If J2EE 1.3 support is necessary, customers can download a WebSphere Technology Preview from IBM's Web site.

JCA and J2EE 1.3 Available in Preview Only

WebSphere only supports J2EE 1.3 technologies, including the JCA, in preview mode only. JCA is included with WebSphere Advanced and Enterprise Editions, but it is not fully licensed for development; instead, WebSphere offers tools to create session EJBs for integrating with CICS, IMS, packaged applications or other back-end systems. IBM offers J2EE 1.3 through the Developer Technology Preview, which is available for download from IBM's Web site, but this, too, is only a preview, with the full technology to be available in the next edition of WebSphere Application Server.

Mainframe Editions Are Complex to Install and Use

IBM WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and OS/390 is a highly complex product. The minimum hardware and software requirements are somewhat daunting, and integration into established systems can be time-consuming. This complexity is primarily due to the underlying hardware and software systems, which themselves are complicated.

Insight [return to Table of Contents]

WebSphere Application Server is the cornerstone of IBM's WebSphere business platform, providing companies with an open standards-based set of Web development, deployment and management technologies. IBM's approach to developing and deploying Web applications supports separation, specialization and customization—all of which become especially important for developing and deploying large, integrated, complex applications. Businesses also need to ensure that the tools they choose integrate established data and processes into new Web applications if required. Regarding the mainframe, IBM has tightly integrated WebSphere Application Server for zOS and OS/390 with the underlying zSeries and S/390 platforms to form a combination that can meet the availability, performance, scalability and security needs of any Enterprise environment. Deploying Web applications is easier if there is a single interface for developing, deploying and maintaining e-commerce components across a variety of commonly used platforms. IBM has accomplished this with its WebSphere product family, which is already one of the leading e-business product lines.