Oracle WebLogic Server Review

Important features out-of-the-box are the JMS server, database tuning options, full script ability, and Java EE 6.0 support.

Valuable Features

WebLogic is a mature Java application server and when compared to competitors, it excels in speed, scalability and stability. Important features out-of-the-box are the JMS server, database tuning options, full script ability, and Java EE 6.0 support.

Improvements to My Organization

It's improved our organization in lots of ways. For example, using the WLST scripting allowed us to build a continuous integration environment. We’ve also managed to increase throughput and reliability by replacing an older JMS server with the internal WebLogic JMS engine.

Room for Improvement

Although WebLogic is fully supported with different Linux distributions and most installations run on Linux machines, on a clean installation there are no startup or service scripts, requiring time investment and perhaps external help for a robust set up.

Use of Solution

I've used it for over ten years. WebLogic server was developed by BEA systems as an early adopter of the J2EE specification and was later bought by Oracle.

Deployment Issues

We have had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

There have been no issues with its stability.

Scalability Issues

We've had no issues scaling it for our needs.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Oracle support is expensive, but they're good and available 24/7. Support for any version is for years and any given version of WebLogic is already extremely stable. Bug fixes, security updates, and bundle patches come often.

Previous Solutions

For a 120 requests/second web shop I was consulted in, WebLogic was chosen because of the seamless service – production redeployments allowed for user sessions ending and the new application taking over without any end-user errors. Rolling upgrades and automatic server migration on failure were also important arguments that other offerings could not match.

Initial Setup

As mentioned, some Linux scripting is needed to set up a system that will survive reboots. However, after the first graphic or command-line setup, it’s easy to roll out additional domains: you have many options for different levels of expertise such as domain extension, templating, having the installer saving the installation script and so forth.

Implementation Team

I set up implementations for our customers. If implementing a mission critical system, you should consider getting external expertise for advice on monitoring and failover configuration and such.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

WebLogic uses a per-physical core pricing model. The basic “WebLogic Server” license does not support clustering and is useless in most enterprise situations. The often-bought “WebLogic Suite” license is very expensive if you do not plan on using the included Coherence cache. Take special care when using virtualization: Oracle licensing will insist on counting the number of physical cores on the hypervisor and will not care for configured partitioning of CPU’s!

Other Solutions Considered

When compared to Tomcat and JBoss, WebLogic performed better with the same applications and also allowed for easier scaling and system administration.

Other Advice

WebLogic is an amazing product, reflected by its pricing model. I would always advise on setting up a clustered environment, even if this is not a user requisite, as this allows for more flexibility. Also, consider using Apache with the WebLogic plugin as a web tier and SSL terminator instead of a commercial offering.

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