IBM to launch Websphere 8 in June

The long-awaited update to IBM's flagship application server includes support for Java Enterprise Edition 6

IBM plans to release the next version of its flagship Java application server, Websphere 8, on June 17, according to documents posted to IBM's website this week.

In a software announcement posted April 5, the company said the application server will be available via electronic delivery by June 17, with media packs to be issued by July 22. IBM released a beta of version 8 last year.

This will be the first edition of the server to fully support the latest enterprise Java standard, Java EE 6. It will also be the first version of the software to run IBM's installation manager, which the company has started packaging with much of its software, noted Steve Robinson, a U.K. Websphere consultant who is writing an introductory book on Websphere 8 administration.

While IBM has made a lot of changes in Websphere 8, overall, this version is more of a fine-tuning of the code base, at least compared to the overhaul the company did for version 7, released in 2008, Robinson said.

Robinson noted that the software, even in beta, seems to load much more quickly. And it does feature a number of notable new capabilities, he added. The installation framework should ease deployment, especially for organizations that need to install the software across different hardware platforms. Another new "drag-and-drop" feature allows a Java application to be placed in a "live" folder that would make the application instantly operational, which should simplify testing for developers.

Considerable work has also been expended on integrating Websphere's internal Java messaging with IBM's enterprise service bus software, called Websphere MQ.

"They are trying to make this more seamless between an existing MQ infrastructure and a Websphere application server-based messaging infrastructure," Robinson said. This would allow Websphere applications and other applications on MQ to trade data more readily.

An IBM spokesperson verified the announcement on the company's website was genuine, but declined to confirm the June 17 release date.

Next week, IBM will be holding its conference for IBM middleware, called Impact, where IBM executives will no doubt reveal more about the upcoming Websphere release.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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