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3/10/2010
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SpringSource Springs Enterprise Tomcat Server

VMware's SpringSource unit launches an enterprise version of the Apache Tomcat server used to run Java apps on the Web.

SpringSource is a former independent open source company acquired by VMware in August. It is now operated as business unit of the virtualization software supplier.

In addition, the Spring Edition enables the rapid deployment of multiple instances of tc Server on one physical piece of hardware. "We've made it really easy to deploy a dozen instances per machine," Connolly noted.

That's an advantage in heavily virtualized environments where each virtual machine may need a copy of the application server as well as the application. It's also an advantage on Web sites where more running instances of the application server will allow more traffic requests to be processed and satisfied.

The Spring Edition allows an operations manager to define conditions that trigger alerts, such an increase in application response times above a certain thresholds. A workflow process can be built into its operation so that a string of alerts triggers a corrective process or other control action, Connolly said.

At the same time SpringSource is trying to remain the "lightweight" or small footprint software supplier for Java developers, as originally conceived by Rod Johnson, founder of the Spring open source project and now general manager of the SpringSource business unit.

Tomcat and spinoff products, such as tc Server, have more limited functions and try to do fewer things than their commercial application server counterparts for faster operation and less complexity.

Connolly cited NPC International, one of the largest Pizza Hut franchisers, as an implementer of Spring Edition into a system that was "too process-heavy." Jon Brisbin, portal Webmaster, now loads 12 instances of tc Server onto his physical servers in his internal or private cloud environment, where servers are heavily virtualized, he said in the SpringSource announcement.

Another implementer is Associated Newspapers digital services division in the UK, publisher of the online Daily Mail and Evening Standard. When the division had problems deploying applications on tc Server, a SpringSource technical support person showed up at their site. He was one of the lead committers from the Tomcat open source project and "helped resolve the issues in minutes," according to information posted on the SpringSource Web site.

The tc Server is available for free download as a developer edition. It's available for $500 in a Standard Edition; the Spring Edition, available in April, is priced at $750.

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