Microsoft and IBM Collaborate on WebSphere Java EE App Server Solution

IBM and Microsoft have announced the availability of a jointly developed solution for running the network deployment of IBM's WebSphere Application Server (WAS) on Azure Linux-based virtual machines (VMs).

Designed for the traditional WAS Java EE app server (not the low-overhead WebSphere Liberty), the solution enables organizations to run enterprise Java workloads on Azure while giving them access to various Azure services. IBM WebSphere licensees can use Azure hosting to support microservices or standards-based application development. 

The solution emerged from a broader collaboration between the two companies to enable the WebSphere product portfolio on Azure, explained Reza Rahman, Principal Program Manager for Java on Azure at Microsoft, in a blog post.

"WebSphere products are key components in enabling enterprise Java workloads," Rahman said. "The partnership aims to cover a range of use cases from mission critical existing traditional workloads to cloud-native applications."

The IBM WAS support is part of a general Azure collaborative effort between the two companies, in which products are jointly developed and supported. The two companies are also collaborating on:

  • Open Liberty on Azure Red Hat OpenShift (ARO)
  • WebSphere Liberty on Azure Red Hat OpenShift
  • Open Liberty on the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), and
  • WebSphere Liberty on the Azure Kubernetes Service

In March, Microsoft announced the availability of guidance to run IBM WebSphere Liberty and Open Liberty on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), which offered to enable "a wide range of production-ready deployment architectures." This and other efforts will be commercially available via the Azure Marketplace sometime in the near future, the company said.

"In the next few months, IBM and Microsoft will also provide jointly developed and supported Marketplace solutions targeting WebSphere Liberty/Open Liberty on ARO and WebSphere Liberty/Open Liberty on AKS," Rahman said.

Open Liberty is IBM's free, open-source project for building cloud-native Java apps and microservices. It works with Eclipse Jakarta EE and Eclipse MicroProfile, which is used to develop and deploy cloud-native Java applications as loosely coupled, lightweight services.

IBM's productized version of Open Liberty, WebSphere Liberty, is a Java EE and MicroProfile application server for modernizing and building the "next era" of applications and cloud-native services. The WebSphere Liberty product license is portable between cloud service providers. 

To use the IBM WebSphere Application Server on Azure Linux-based virtual machines, organizations will need to have the licensing in place from both Microsoft and IBM. It's described as a "bring your own licensing" approach. There are extra costs associated with using the Azure virtual machines. 

Microsoft is offering free support for WebSphere migrations to Azure "while solutions are under active initial development," Rahman said.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.