Geronimo J2EE 1.4 Quickly Enters Mainstream

Apache Geronimo, the Open Source J2EE project, is quickly becoming part of the J2EE mainstream. Since IBM's early adoption of Geronimo as a core to a Websphere J2EE app server for mid-sized companies, other ISVs, partners and end users are all showing healthy interest. IDN takes a look at the trendline post JavaOne.

Tags: Geronimo, Customers, JBoss, App, Enterprise, J2EE, Covalent,

The Apache Geronimo project for Open Source enterprise J2EE, while still in its 1.x release, is quickly becoming part of the J2EE mainstream. Since IBM's early adoption of Geronimo as a core component of a Websphere J2EE app server for mid-sized companies, other ISVs, partners and end users are all showing healthy interest.

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Among the notable Geronimo announcements at JavaOne and afterwards include:

  • BEA and Interafce21 have developed an implementation of the Spring framework for J2EE, which does not rely on object/relational mapping and therefore may be easier for devs to use than EJB session beans or Hibernate. The implementation, which is now in Open Source, could be used with Apache Geronimo.

  • Computer Associates' Introscope 7 works with Geronimo J2EE to provide enterprise devs and managers automatic discovery, monitoring, triage and baselining of an application environment with zero configurationNew features enable the automatic discovery, monitoring, triage and baselining of an application environment with zero configuration

  • Hyperic and Virtuas, both leaders in Open Source management, formed a strategic alliance focused on improving Geronimo management and monitoring, aimed to provide enterprise customers with Best Practices and integrated best-of-breed technologies.

  • Liferay, provider of the leading enterprise-class open source portal platform, is bringing its portal technology to Geronimo.

    So Why is Geronimo So Hot?
    Earlier this year, Covalent Technologies offered support for Geronimo, by adding real-time monitoring from Hyperic, inking a strategic partnership with Virtuas, and setting in place a seperate Geronimo services partnership with a consultancy led by Geronimo Committee co-founder Aaron Mulder. IDN recently spoke with Covalent CEO Mark Brewer about the latest trends in Geronimo. Covalent began supporting Geronimo right after its release in January

    The Early Trends of Commercial Geronimo Adoption
    Covalent's CEO Mark Brewer spoke with Integration Developer News about the trends his is seeing in Geronimo adoption and use among larger corporate IT shops. To date, Covalent has some 400 commercial clients using Apache, Tomcat and AXIS throughout their enterprise. It turns out, Geronimo is not just less expensive than commercial J2EE solutions, it is also less complicated. And, users like both.

    An Integration Developer News
    Interview with
    Mark Brewer, Covalent CEO

    IDN: Support for Geronimo, what are you seeing in demand?
    Brewer: The easiest way is to tell you what we hear from customers. We pick up projects traditionally when code is mature, there is a 1.0 release and the community is real. Tomcat was out a year and we waited a while. On the other hand, Geronimo was in development for years and we were involved almost the whole time. But, in this case, we supported it right after GA (general availability) because our customers are telling us they want alternatives to their workhorses from IBM and BEA, and even to the other open source option JBoss.

    IDN: JBoss? People want replacements for JBoss already?
    Brewer: That doesn't imply anything bad against JBoss. But Geronimo comes out of a community not a company. And, I think over the past few years there has been a great realization that Apache [Software Foundation] can deliver robust tech for the enterprise.

    IDN: But aside from the politics of the matter, are there operational and complexity issues with JBoss you are seeing? And, do those issues compel JBoss users to look at Geronimo?
    Brewer: I would say there are difficulty in complexity with JBoss, just as there are with IBM's WebSphere and BEA WebLogic. To be fair, if a customer uses the JBoss App Server pure and simple -- without all the other add-ons, it is easy to deploy. But, we find that once customers start adding messaging, or different management add-ons, it can get a lot more complex.

    IDN: Can you tell us what trends you are seeing among early Geronimo users?
    Brewer: So far, what we saw with Tomcat over the years looks to be the same [thing] we are seeing, or will see, with Geronimo. The customers are familiar with Java, and have Java programmers. But they realize the requirements for IBM and BEA were too much. And, on top of the complexity there were heavy license fees. And, most of all, they find that most of the applications they were deploying on IBM or BEA just don't need the whole package, they could use just a JSP or a servlet.

    IDN: So, in your view, what is the early appeal of Geronimo?
    Brewer: Geronimo is fairly light and much easier to deploy and I even wrote a little app and I don't know [much] about Java. The banks are looking at it, and their first apps will be back offiice apps. One is written in WebLogic and the other in Tomcat, and one [customer] is moving from TC because it needs an EJB. There are apps that people have written in EJBs that people will want to take advantage of, and if they need an app server but don't want another WL license.

    IDN: Can you give us a flavor of what a migration from Tomcat to Geronimo might look like for your customers, or any company interested in Geronimo?
    Brewer: It will have to go through an approval process, back office app that does processing of mortgage rates. It's not a customer facing apps, but the same group expects they will change the WL stuff. And, on the front end this is a mortgage site, that will also be Geronimo. Start off with back office components, and they have a fairly conservative model as far as adopting new tech.

    IDN: What about programming skills?
    Brewer: Skills portability is a big feature, especially for Java programmers. Most people who know Java the transition is a no-brainer. But, for those that don't Java, it can be the hardest part. .

    IDN: Is Covalent becoming an evangelist for Geronimo, or are you finding customers or prospects already convinced they'd like to learn more about Geronimo?
    Brewer: Traditionally, we are not evangelists. The customer calls us and says, "We want Tomcat, or Apache or AXIS…" With Geronimo, we actually are finding ourselves doing more evangelism. With our current enterprise customer base, we are in a unique position to talk to corporations about Geronimo. So, we get a lot of questions. And, many of our customers ask us about what they would be giving up if they would give up WebSphere or JBoss. In fact, I think Covalent offers a Geronimo a great advantage as we have 400 recurring customers, and they trust us so when we say take a look at this project and if they have the time they will.