JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Review

Light, with an easy initial setup and a good set of features


What is most valuable?

The solution is much lighter as an application server than other solutions that we have used before. We have used IBM Workshare Application Server and Oracle WebLogic. They are heavy application servers. JBoss is lighter. It starts faster and iterates its application quickly. It's much, much faster than the competition. 

There's a feature in JBoss Enterprise Application Platform called MS queue. At some point, we were having some stability issues and it was very fast to find and detect the root cause. They released patches in order to fix issues and when they released a patch it fixed the whole thing, not just a piece.  

When we had stability issues in our library, for example, JBoss made it possible to identify the exact library and update everything with a patch. With a solution like IBM Workshare it's not possible. You rely on heavy huge fix packs. It's not light or easy at all. JBoss is far superior in that regard.

What needs improvement?

I might not be the best person to discuss what features are missing as I am only a developer.  I rely on the connection point mechanics, thread pulling mechanics. That's as far as I go. In terms of more details about the solution, I'm not very experienced. I'm not sure if any features are really lacking.

If you compare IBM and JBoss, in terms of administration, troubleshooting, and monitoring, there were more advanced tools in IBM than JBoss. They might be able to make some improvements there.

IBM offered JAVA profiling, which is something I used often and I wish that JBoss had something similar.

We are using an inactive/active configuration. We need this topology for our customer, and therefore we configured the queues to behave in an inactive/active configuration and occasionally we are still experiencing some problems in balancing the messages between the queues. I don't know if they improved on this in newer versions of the solution (as we aren't using the latest). Perhaps this is our mistake. We're not on the latest version, however, due to the fact that the customer doesn't want to migrate to the latest version.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution since 2016.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is largely okay, however, we have had some issues in the JMS queue area. It's not quite as stable as IBM.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not been involved in this area. The customer is handling customer support. We as contractors only rely on our technical solutions. I haven't raised any tickets and therefore can't speak to the level of responsiveness or knowledge they have.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to play with the IBM Workshare Application Server and we used to also work with Oracle WebLogic. Compared with those two big, heavy application servers, we like the fact that JBoss is lighter and that it starts faster. It iterates its application much faster. Everything basically is much faster than the other two options.

 IBM is more advanced than JBoss in the area of monitoring and administration. For example, when you want to do profiling, when you want to monitor the number of use processes, variables, memory consumption, etc., and you want to do profiling in that sense, performance monitoring in this area is great on IBM. IBM has more functionalities which are quite powerful for us as developers. We were using them in order to identify problems very fast. With JBoss, you need to use other tools. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex. The fact that it has only one single configuration file, a standalone XML that has everything there (including the data source definition and the connection pulling parameters and absolutely everything) makes it easy. 

For me, as a developer, it's very convenient. I don't have to chase a lot of configuration files, as there's only one. Whenever I want to raise another instance of an application server, it's very easy. I just copy that configuration file and that's it. I don't have to do anything. From my perspective as a Java developer, at this moment, with my level of experience, I cannot identify improvements. It's pretty straight forward.

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

JBoss has less maintenance costs than, for example, IBM.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We played a lot before with JBoss and WildFly and then, when we wanted to deliver a solution to our clients, we focused on JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.

What other advice do I have?

We are using JBoss, however, we don't use the real business process management tool. We are in the prospecting phase at this moment. We are investigating a lighter BFM solution and going open-source as much as possible. We would definitely want commercial support at some point due to the fact that when we are going to sell the solution to our clients, we don't want to rely only on opening tickets to the community and getting it solved only whenever we can find an answer that way. We definitely will be looking for a solution with commercial support, however, at the same time, to also needs to be open-source, and to evolve freely.

IBM Is like a Ferrari and JBoss is like a Ford. Occasionally, I felt that, when using IBM, sometimes we were using a Ferrari unnecessarily. We didn't need something as heavy and powerful. JBoss is light without having commercial restrictions. It basically has a lot of the same functionality without the weight. It offers lower maintenance costs as well. So far, for us, the transition has been okay.

We made the transition in 2016. The system has been operational for years now and we don't have major issues. We're not sorry we migrated. The customers are happy. That said, from a stability and performance point of view, there are some IBM features that are more suited for heavier and more complex applications. With my level of experience, it's hard to articulate exact instances, however, it is something to keep in mind for companies that may have deep complexity.

I would rate the solution eight out of ten at this moment, as I'm missing some features related to profiling and also because of some stability issues in the JMS queue area. 

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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