GlassFish 3.1 Features OSGi Improvements, Brings Back Clustering Support

The latest release of Oracle's GlassFish Java application server, announced last week, puts a lot of emphasis on developer productivity.

GlassFish 3.1 -- both the commercially supported and open source editions -- come with features for rapidly deploying and redeploying enterprise applications, plus enhanced Java EE 6 functionality, including EJB support in Embedded API, and JMX,AX-RS Management API.

This release of the GlassFish server is a response to "increasing developer demand of millions of annual downloads," the company said in a statement. The new version is specifically designed to "reduce application and deployment complexity," Oracle's senior vice president for app server development, Steven Harris, added.

The big news here for developers is major OSGi improvements and updates. Oracle is a serious backer of the OSGi-based modular approach to developing and deploying applications and libraries, and it shows in the GlassFish update.

The module-based design principles defined by the OSGi (Open Services Gateway Initiative) have emerged as the de facto means of componentizing enterprise Java, says Michael Coté, industry analyst at RedMonk.

"I always joke that OSGi is a stackless stack," Coté said. "Instead of having a huge software stack, like an app server, you break it up into smaller pieces and build up just the components you need -- which contrasts quite a bit with the old way of doing enterprise Java, where you’d start with a giant app server and spend a lot of time whittling down to just what you wanted."

"Increasingly, organizations that are developing enterprise Java -- companies like Oracle, SpringSource, and IBM, and others -- are using OSGi for their own software," Coté added. "They just like the component-based model."

This release is also getting cheers for adding back the clustering and high-availability support that was missing from version 3.0.

Enhanced support in both the NetBeans and Eclipse IDEs was another important developer enhancement in this release, as was increased compatibility with Oracle WebLogic Server 11g. Oracle claims a 29 percent faster startup/deploy/re-deploy cycle in version 3.1 over GlassFish 3.0.1.

The commercial edition of 3.1 includes the OracleGlassFish Server Control (PDF) -- a redesign of the GlassFish Enterprise Manager management console, which offers monitoring and performance-tuning tools and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) monitoring and performance optimization capabilities.

Oracle also unveiled an update of the Java Platform Enterprise Edition 6 (Java EE 6) SDK distribution through the latest release of the Java EE 6 Reference Implementation.

The GlassFish source code is dual licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) v1.0 and GNU General Public License (GPL) v2.

GlassFish Server 3.1 is available now for download here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].