I'm currently in the process of evaluating what application server our company should use for deploying a fairly large scale JSP/Servlet/EJB application. We'll be using SQL Server as the DB and connecting to IIS as the web server. I've installed and deployed some small applications on a number of app servers (WebLogic, Jrun, GemstoneJ, Iplanet) and so far WebLogic is running away with my vote. All of the reviews I've read of WebLogic have been very positive so I'd like to hear if what peoples criticisms of WebLogic are, so go ahead and bash it :)
Also what are peoples experiences with some of the OR mapping tools such as TOPLink?
You say you're evaluating for a large scale application.
In that case you must carefully evaluate the scalability
and deployment issues for each appserver. In my experience,
Gemstone scales *MUCH* better, easier and cheaper than
weblogic. WLS approach to clustering is expensive. First,
it requiries an extra clustering license, and it wants a
separate IP address for each node of the cluster. That,
together with their single VM architecture, makes scalability a pain.
There are other issues (or there were with 4.5 anyway)
regarding hot deploy and the management of the server
which basically meant you had to bounce the server for
almost every change you made. The huge properties file
doesn't make for easy configuration. Gemstone on the other
hand configures every aspect of the services through the
JNDI, which makes for extremely simple configuration and
redeployment of beans.
If you're looking for elegance in architecture, scalability,
performance, ease of use and managability go Gemstone!
You forgot to mention GemstoneJ PCA which is an awesome feature by itself.
I forgot about your second question. We've had good experiences with Cocobase from Thought Inc. They plug into
most application servers these days I think, though I've
used it only with Gemstone. Others in TRC have used it with
Weblogic, also successfully. It is very flexible and
performant, though not exactly easy to use. I believe TOPLInk is a little easier to use, though not as powerful.
Over the past couple of years it has been difficult to get
A clear understanding of the real features that an App Server offers. The marketecture produced always looks like apples to apples. I have been building large scale Java based solutions that have been deployed around the world for the last 3 years. There really is only one app server that enables an elegant architecture. GemStone.
GemStone/J has a very sophisticated object data base at its heart. On top of that was built a CORBA compliant ORB that includes a NameService and XA compliant TransactionService. They then exposed the J2EE as facilities to their server. GemStone/J has the best security infrastructure of any app server. With GemStone/J you get the best of sll worlds. The object data base makes for the perfect cache for result sets and data inserts into a RDBMS. As to the OR mapping issue, Thought Inc. has the best/most progressive mapping engine on the planet. Their engine is extensible to an unparallel degree.
Just some thoughts from a guy with some years logged building and deploying enterprise class systems with these tools.
Why don't you write a review of Gemstone? I am sure that others could benefit from hearing about your real world experiences working with this app. server.