IBM WebSphere Application Server Review

Admin Console allows us to configure the app server as middleware for our ECM stack

How has it helped my organization?

IBM WAS is the backbone for our enterprise content management suite which delivers the primary processes for our customers. Without a good application server, it would be hard to provide a secure layer of midddleware upon which the other applications run. IBM WAS improves the stability of the entire solution and provides a high quality platform for running web-based solutions.

What is most valuable?

The Admin Console is most valuable to us since we have to use it to configure the application server for using it as middleware for our IBM FileNet, IBM Content Navigator and IBM Case Manager software stack. Without the Admin Console it would be very hard to configure JVM settings, JDBC datasources, mail session settings, and security providers.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

IBM WAS is a stable product. No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

IBM WAS is extremely scalable. It is easy to add additional servers and to divide the load over servers in all kinds of ways. If you want true scalability with persistence of EJB sessions then you have to purchase IBM WAS ND which can be more expensive than most companies are willing to pay for.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have never had a need to file a PMR (Problem Management Record) for IBM WAS, so I have no experience with technical support for this product.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We used BEA WebLogic before using IBM WAS. The reason we switched was because of the licensing. BEA WebLogic has to be purchased separately, while IBM WAS base is part of the deal when you purchase IBM FileNet P8 Content Engine. Both products work fine by the way.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is very simple. Just use the IBM Installation Manager and add the packages. The install wizard takes care of the rest. The only thing that can be difficult is to find the right packages on the IBM website, because of all the changes that IBM does on its website(s).

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Room for improvement would only be in the licensing. As with all IBM products the licensing can be complex and expensive. Bargain well and try to get as much discount as possible. Discounts of 85% are possible. Without the discount, I think the product is overrated.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have evaluated other products, like BEA WebLogic and JBoss. 

What other advice do I have?

Get a good feeling for how many users your system has and work out a system architecture before starting to implement IBM WAS. It is a product that can be implemented in many ways. Making a wrong choice in implementation can cause a lot of headaches later on.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is a business partner for IBM. We use the IBM software stack exclusively for developing enterprise content management solutions for the Dutch government.
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