Loren Corbridge

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Apache Web Server: Article

EAServer 5.0 - A leap forward

EAServer 5.0 - A leap forward

Faster. Easier. Better. This was the "mission statement" for EAServer 5.0. When I first sat down with engineering to begin discussing features for the 5.0 release, usability was at the top of my list. As part of my job I try to have frequent contact with EAServer customers, and I knew that most of the enhancement requests I got were for ease of use. We all spent a substantial amount of time brainstorming various ways to improve usability in all areas. I believe this effort has paid off with EAServer 5.0.

Focusing on the traditional areas of difficulty - installation/configuration, troubleshooting, and management - we have made significant improvements across the board.

For installation and configuration issues, we concentrated on users who are new to EAServer, and may even be relatively new to application servers. Our GUI team has added 14 new interactive wizards to walk a new user through all aspects of setting up EAServer (see related article on page 6 for more details). Engineering already has a list of additional wizards for the next release. These wizards were probably the most popular new feature with the EAServer 5.0 beta customers, and I think they will be well received by all users.

For troubleshooting, we greatly enhanced the logging capabilities. EAServer 5.0 incorporates Apache's Log4j framework, enabling developers to customize logging messages, from server-level to fine-grained component and method logging. This new structure also allows nonfatal messages to be omitted from the logs, which will make troubleshooting of production servers less cumbersome. Also, because we work closely with tech support, we know how much "back and forth" can occur between support and a customer to identify a problem. We've added the ability to automatically export all server configuration properties to a single file, which can be sent to support.

For management, we focused on updating the Sybase Central plug-in. Updating to a new version of Sybase Central allowed us to manage EAServer within the same window as other Sybase products, which is sure to be a plus for users of multiple products. There are two features here of which I am the most proud. First is the ability to manage more than one server at a time - I had so many requests for this functionality! Second is the finer-granularity administration. This feature allows the server administrator to designate various levels of administrative rights to users. For example, an administrator could grant deployment capabilities to several developers, but reserve the right to bounce the server, thereby ensuring that there's no "accidental" downtime.

The other area of significant improvement is Web services. Our Web Services Toolkit is based on an Axis engine, which gives us easier interoperability with many different Web services standards. There is a development tool for Web services that plugs into the Eclipse framework and a Web-based console for managing Web services. In addition to being able to expose an existing component as a Web service, we can now create a Web service from an imported WSDL file. We also ship a UDDI server with EAServer 5.0 that customers can use to publish their Web services.

You may also notice some things that are not included in EAServer 5.0. First off is PowerDynamo. While PowerDynamo was tested with the 5.0 release, and is still supported, it no longer ships with EAServer. This is in preparation for the eventual end of life of this component. There is, however, a utility that will convert PowerDynamo pages into JSP so that customers can migrate applications to the new technology easily. Also, the Application Integrator for Stored Procedures and the Application Integrator for CICS are no longer shipped. These products are available as open source on Sybase's CodeXchange site.

In addition to the new features in EAServer 5.0, we are making substantial changes to pricing and packaging with this release. While they are too detailed to go into in this forum, all of these changes are designed to make EAServer simpler to buy and simpler to own.

I'd like to invite you all to download the free Developer's edition of EAServer 5.0, available at www.sybase.com/easerver4dev. As always, we welcome your feedback, both on these features and on future enhancements that you'd like to see in the product. Feel free to get in touch with me directly - talking to customers is definitely the best part of my job.

More Stories By Loren Corbridge

Loren Corbridge, Senior Manager for Enterprise Mobility at Sybase, an SAP Company, has more than a decade of experience in product management and enterprise mobility strategy. She works with tier-one customers and partners to develop successful business models for their mobility solutions. Leveraging this and other industry experience, she helps lead go-to-market strategy and operational enablement for enterprise mobility products at Sybase.

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