MuleSoft Enhances Tomcat for Web Apps Integration

MuleSoft, creators of the Mule ESB, are shipping its MuleSoft Tcat Server, a lightweight approach based on Apache Tomcat to support web application integration without heavy J2EE-based stacks.  IDN speaks with MuleSoft’s top execs about the architecture and product features.

Tags: ESB, Mulesoft,

MuleSoft, creators of the Mule ESB, are shipping its MuleSoft Tcat Server, a lightweight approach based on Apache Tomcat to support web application integration without heavy J2EE-based stacks. 

MuleSoft’s Tcat Server 6.1 is a fully supported web application server based on Apache Tomcat, and looks to offer enterprise IT a set of mission-critical enhancements to Tomcat to let it perform as a lightweight integration alternative to full-featured J2EE app servers or ESBs. MuleSoft execs told IDN.  

“We were hearing over and over again from IT that their focus is on using web applications to tie into their enterprise backend and access data,” CEO Greg Schott told IDN.  “The proliferation of presentation-tier web technologies, such as Ajax and Ruby, means that more web-based enterprise applications  longer need full J2EE stacks to achieve integration,”

In specific, MuleSoft’s Tcat Server enhances Tomcat with these features: 

  • Application provisioning – To deploy applications to server instances and groups with minimal risk and downtime.
  • Server group administration – To manage multiple instances of Tomcat from a centralized location, eliminating tedious, error-prone manual work.
  • Performance monitoring and diagnostics – To analyze Tomcat applications, and pinpoint the root-cause of trouble for faster resolutions.
  • Integration with Apache Maven To more efficiently push web applications developed with the popular Apache Maven build tool directly into the Tcat Server repository for provisioning to server groups.
  • Inside MuleSoft’s Launch of Tcat Server
  • With the Tcat Server’s GA release, MuleSoft officials say they are responding to customer requests for less complex and costly integration options.   “Integration for web applications is really very different from integration in SOA. Both need their own solution,” Schott told IDN.  He added that Tcat Server began with a simple question: 

Could improvements to Apache Tomcat support lightweight mission-critical integration for web apps, and give devs another option besides using a full J2EE-based stack or framework?  Despite the demand for lightweight web integration, out-of-the-box Apache Tomcat couldn’t provide such features. So, MuleSoft engineers went to work, first surveying Tomcat users to help specify a requirements list for Tomcat. Then, once the results were in, to build those features to best provide real-time web application integration support. 

During their customer surveys, the MuleSoft team discovered that Tomcat customers wish they had better support for performance diagnostics, application provisioning, and server management.  But, even as their requirements out-stripped Tomcat’s capabilities, many of these customers just didn’t want to move to J2EE app servers and the ‘bloatware’ of traditional J2EE stacks.

“Web developers doing integration often need quick-and-dirty, but reliable integration, not entire frameworks based on ESBs, which can overkill for many developer needs,” MuleSoft CTO Ross Mason told IDN.

As work began, Mason said MuleSoft engineers quickly discovered they could leverage MuleSoft’s real-time management and monitoring work, developed for Mule ESB. They also leveraged application provisioning from the Galaxy project. “Those components weren’t all that was needed,” Mason said, “”but it was a good start.”  

The GA version of Tcat Server is 100% “plug-compatible” with applications built for Apache Tomcat, and ships with Tomcat v.6.0. Tcat Server also includes MuleSoft's iBeans technology, which enables developers to integrate their Web applications with other applications and data sources (e.g., Web Services, RSS feeds, RESTful services, AJAX events, JMS queues) with a few simple annotations. Tcat Server is middleware for the Web, making accessible the power of enterprise infrastructure to modern Web applications.

Tcat Server Customer Reaction
From among the hundreds of organizations who participated in the beta program, MuleSoft already has closed a number of subscription customers, including a leading consumer finance company - Volvofinans Bank, the finance group affiliated with Volvo in Sweden.

Peter Merikan, IT Architect at Volvofinans Bank said of Tcat Server 6.1, ““We are excited about Tcat Server, as it combines the lightweight simplicity of Tomcat with the enterprise support and features that we need. With Tcat Server, we can deploy and manage our production applications at a much lower total cost than for traditional Java EE application servers.”

Tcat Server is immediately available, and is free to use in development and pre-production environments. Production subscriptions and support for Apache Tomcat starts at $595 per CPU per year.  Visit for more information or to download.