Apache Tomcat Gets New Support with WSO2 Application Server 4.0-Sean Michael Kerner

The worlds of web services and web application hosting are coming together in a new release from software vendor WSO2. The new WSO2 Application Server 4.0 platform integrates SOA capabilities with Apache Tomcat for Java middleware applications.

WS02 is no stranger to the Apache community, as a leading contributor to the Apache Synapse Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) effort among others. The integration of Tomcat into the WS02 platform is part of a shift in how enterprise users now consume and deploy web services.

"Initially customers were typically using WSO2 for a set of specific functions, such as ESB, Registry and Data Services," Paul Fremantle, WSO2 CTO, told InternetNews.com.

Freemantle added that many of WS02's customers had their own hosting models where they ran WSO2 on top of another application server like Tomcat, Oracle Weblogic or IBM WebSphere. He noted that his company had begun to get requests for web application support, which is why Tomcat was added.

"It is the embedded version from Apache and exactly the same code," Freemantle said. "However, we will provide patches and service packs to supported customers if there are issues."

With WS02 Application Server 4.0 and its Tomcat support, WS02 is entering into the competitive market for commercial Tomcat services. VMware's Spring division has a commercially supported Tomcat release called tcServer while software vendor Mulesoft has the Tcat server which provides support for Tomcat 7.

According to Freemantle, WSO2 Application Server 4 offers administrators a number of key features that they wouldn't otherwise get if they were running just a plain vanilla Apache Tomcat installation. With WS02 Application Server 4 there is an admin console intended to make Tomcast easier to manage. Additionally, it offers built-in support for Apache Axis2, JAX-WS (Java API for XML Web Services), POJO (Plain Old Java Object) Services and other service hosting.

"Finally, you get to use our Component Manager to add a whole range of extra components from our p2 repository, including ESB support, Google Gadgets, BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), and much else," Freemantle said.

Apache Axis2 is a web services effort that WS02 has been active in since at least 2006.

"Axis2 is fully supported, including a UI that allows you to deploy and manage services, try them out, manage security and reliable messaging, including WS-SecureConversation and WS-Trust, as well as deploying services based on JAX-WS, Spring or POJO models," Freemantle said.

The cloud is also a key deployment target for Tomcat with the WSO2 Application Server 4.0 release. WS02 has a service offering called Stratos, which is an application server as a service offering. Freemantle noted that Stratos can provide multi-tenant capable deployments of Tomcat in the cloud. WS02 is also working on further expanding its cloud deployment capabilities as well.

"Mainly we are focusing on creating a supertenant programming model to help customers build Software-as-a-Service on top of Tomcat," Freemantle said. "The really cool thing about this is that you can run your apps on-premise, on an Amazon AMI, in cloud.wso2.com Tomcat-as-a-Service, or in a private cloud deployment of Stratos. "