WebSphere 8.5 Released


For those used to the measured releases of IBM, the title might come as a surprise.  After all, WebSphere 8.0 was just released last summer and many clients were just starting to prepare to move to 8.0 when IBM announced that it would release 8.5 this summer.  This also includes a new release of RAD 8.5 at the same time.

We will certainly have much more information on what is new in this version coming out over the next several months but I just wanted to give a quick summary now.  You can also look for some more information posted at the WASdev blog or a recent IBM Developerworks article.

Since we’re just looking at the important points here I’ve broken them down by job role:

Developers:

  • Ability to use Eclipse for WebSphere development.  We’ve detailed this previously in this blog post.
  • WebSphere 8.5 supports Java EE 6 just like WebSphere 8.0 does
  • Both WebSphere 8.5 and 8.0 support prior versions of J2EE/Java EE to help minimize application changes required during migration
  • WebSphere 8.5 includes a “Liberty profile” which is a lightweight server featuring extremely short startup time and other features beneficial to developers.  This will certainly be something we focus on more in the near future
  • Simplified server configuration of the Liberty profile with a single XML file
  • Any applications developed to run on the Liberty profile will also run on the “full” WebSphere Application Server
  • Support for JDK 7, although JDK 6 is still the default

Administrators:

  • WebSphere 8.5 still has the changes introduced in the 8.0 server.  The most major of these was the installation with the ‘Installation Manager’ tool and an optional logging framework, HPEL, which provides better performance and usability of logging.
  • Many of the features previously available in the ‘WebSphere Virtual Enterprise’ edition have been added to the ‘WebSphere Network Deployment’ edition.  This means IBM is providing an expanded set of features that used to cost much more to get your hands on.
  • Use of an ‘On Demand Router’ to intelligently route and prioritize application traffic.
  • ‘Application edition management’ which will allow deploying and testing a new application version while the current one is still active for users.  New application versions can then be activated seamlessly without interruption.
  • Health management and dynamic provisioning whereby policies can be established for the desired service level of an application and actions can be taken automatically to ensure these policies are met.  These actions could be as simple as restarting servers or as complex as adding new servers to a cluster.  Establishing these policies would let the WebSphere environment respond automatically without waiting for manual intervention of administrators.
  • Being able to track and rollback administrative changes.  This can be used to rollback administrative changes if needed without needing to manually track changes yourself.

Certainly, even this short list of new features provides a lot of things to look forward to as you start using WebSphere 8.5.  Be sure to follow our blog for more articles about WebSphere 8.5 and announcement of training and consulting offerings around this exciting new version.

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