GlassFish Commercial Offerings from Oracle

This is a companion to Oracle GlassFish Server and GlassFish Server Open Source Edition, which describes the two GlassFish distributions from Oracle. Whenever possible, I've reused text and images from an earlier entry.

Oracle offers different types of professional offerings around GlassFish, including Oracle Consulting and Oracle Embedded services as well as many opportunities through the Oracle Partner Network. This entry describes the Oracle GlassFish Server which adds packages to the GlassFish Server Open Source Edition and includes support and sustaining.

To explain how Oracle's commercial support works, we need to first explain how the open source edition is developed.

The basic release cycle of GlassFish has Daily, Weekly, Milestones (frequency varies) and Final Releases. Each Milestone is a mini-release cycle, with its own stabilization phase at the end.

DailyWeeklyMilestone Releases

Milestone releases are quite stable, specially towards the end of the cycle, but they are not intended for production deployment. Of course, since those releases are available with an Open Source license and are developed transparently, you can make your own risk assessment and go on production with, say, a Release Candidate milestone, but beware that we can always discover a bad bug before final that may cause significant changes. In particular, Oracle only provides formal Sustaining Support for final releases.

As described previously the GlassFish Server Open Source Edition from Java.Net and the Oracle GlassFish Server from Oracle.com have the same core IPS packages; the only differences are the installer (depending on the distribution), the branding elements, some extra AddOns (like the Oracle GlassFish Server Control) and that the Oracle.Com distributions only has the Final releases while Java.Net has all the builds: daily, weekly, and all milestones and final releases.

Now we can describe the sustaining story for GlassFish. Oracle branches a source repository from the Final GF Releases and then we contribute fixes for important bugs with care to guarantee stability. From there, we create regular sustaining patches that are available to commercial subscribers (via SunSolve initially, soon from My Oracle Support), as well as the usual 24x7, worldwide support, knowledge database, etc.

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To ensure that the bugs don't reappear, we also propagate the bug fixes in the sustaining repositories into the public repositories, although the timing and details of this will vary depending on the cycle, and, of course, the public repositories also receive many other changes at the same time, some of which will be new bugs :-(. (a slightly more detailed description of this is at Productizing Open Source - The GlassFish Approach).

Finally, Alexis' Note also explained how sustaining tests the bug fixes, including longevity testing, to ensure the bug fixes are very solid.

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Finally, for the practical perspective of how all this works, check out the GlassFish v2 Release Overview and the GlassFish 3 Release Overview.

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