Saturday Jul 26, 2008

Has Open Source killed the RFP?

When I was in sales, I participated in numerous Request for Proposal (RFP) efforts. To put it in perspective, I spent most of my sales career selling hardware to the government vertical (albeit as a software specialist). Governments are big on RFPs (impartiality). I also helped the commercial sales teams with RFPs upon occasion, so my peers suffered the same fate.

Product managers are not immune from RFPs. We tend to be back line support for those questions that need a bit more insight into the product (ex: roadmaps). Since being in product management I've noticed I'm involved in fewer RFPs. I can say with authority it's not because of a lack of commercial interest. GlassFish is doing quite well in that regard.

Customers are leveraging open source to reduce cost and eliminate vendor lock-in (among other things). Before the move, customers are still comparing, in the middleware space for example, GlassFish, JBoss, Geronimo, and Tomcat. I occasionally get comparison spreadsheets from potential customers. However, the process of the formal RFP seems to be pushed aside. Here are some of my thoughts as to why:

  • Transparency. Open source is by definition "open". A vast majority of the information that is typically requested is publicly available.
  • Google. The information that is public available is easily found.
  • Community. The information that is not available can be quickly addressed by posting an email.
  • Resources. Organizations do not like the RFP process. It's time consuming and people-consuming. Thank goodness because vendors do not like RFPs either - it is equally time consuming :-)
  • Viral growth. Open source technologies often get deployed first at the departmental level. They tell two departments, who then tell two departments, and so on, and so on. Before you know it, the open source technology is already the company standard.
  • Value Proposition. The value proposition of using open source in general, or a specific technology in particular, is often compelling enough to "sell itself". For example, GlassFish offers enterprise features, is 1/10th the cost of its closed-source peers, and outperforms them as well.

The blog title truly is a question, not a statement. I've thrown out some supporting thoughts, but I don't want to claim an authoritative statement. Regardless, I know it is not an absolute truth. So the question remains, has open source generally killed the RFP?

Friday Jun 27, 2008

Save big bucks with GlassFish & MySQL Unlimited

While other vendors are raising their prices, Sun decided to do just the opposite. We decided to save the customer money. In fact, not only can customers save money now, going forward they can scale their business without having to scale their budget. Introducing GlassFish & MySQL Unlimited, an offering that combines two fast, reliable, and very popular products, based on open source, into a single subcription offering.

Starting at $65,000, a customer can deploy as much GlassFish Enterprise Server and MySQL Enterprise Server as needed to meet business requirements. No counting CPUs. No counting cores. No audits or true-ups. No counting servers. And you don't have to "go back to the well" and ask for more money.

Do the Oracle math. Don't forget to double the price-per-socket for quad-core x86 servers and for 8-core Niagara servers. And add support.

Do the Sun math. For organizations up to 1,000 employees, it's a $65,000/year for unlimited use. If you want 24x7x365 support for GlassFish Enterprise Server (for a more fair comparison), it's $80,000/year. No worries, the MySQL component already includes 24x7x365 support among other things. The offering extends beyond 1,000 employees, but you get the point.

Do the math using your budget. Just think of what you can do with what you save! If you can't think of what you can do with the savings, rumor has it that Java CAPS 6 is a great deal :-)

Note: Mark has some math as well.

Friday Dec 21, 2007

lzPack GlassFish installer on the Mac

First off, I'd like to give a big thanks to Julien Ponge for the GlassFish V2UR1 lzPack powered installer. Impressive. Works like a charm. I thought I'd blog about the Mac installer. The installer defaults to installation in the /Applications directory. If you choose to do this, odds are you will run into problems with not being able to create the domain directory during the configuration step due to a lack of permissions to write to the /Applications/GlassFish directory.

There are a couple of options.


  1. Continue installation in /Applications directory. The setup fails to create the domain, but you can create the domain after the fact and point to a user-writable directory as follows:

    # /Applications/GlassFish/bin/asadmin create-domain --domaindir /Users/jclingan/domains --adminport 4848 mydomain
    # /Applications/GlassFish/bin/asadmin start-domain --domaindir /Users/jclingan/domains

    Note /Users/jclingan/domains is a top-level directory for GlassFish domains, so a mydomain subdirectory will be placed under that directory. Most folks don't know about the --domaindir option so I thought this option might be useful to cover.

  2. Select a different install directory. Simply choose a subdirectory off of your home directory, such as /Users/jclingan/GlassFish. This is similar to what you would do with the jar installer and the permissions issue goes away entirely, resulting in a clean install.

Thanks, Julien, for the effort. A very welcome addition!

Wednesday Dec 19, 2007

GlassFish V2 Update Release 1 Released

Three months after the release of GlassFish V2, we already have an update release. Alexis has a good writeup of what's in this release. I'd like to point out a few items in a bit more detail.

First, the Update Center is getting more visibility. It's a great GlassFish feature that many developers do not even know exists! A growing number packages are available and plug right into GlassFish. We are also trying to grow the number of packages as well, both with community input or by the community itself. Example: Open ESB is right there, click, click, restart. Your ready. Or Try jMaki (no restart required).




Next, the support center offers up-to-date information of all kinds, aggregating a ton of information into one convenient location. In particular, I like the feed showing the list of bugs fixed. It should be noted that this feature does require product registration. On a related note,  many bugs have been fixed. For those of you waiting for an update release before you deploy, well, here it is.






Thursday Sep 27, 2007

BEA taking notice of GlassFish

Looks like BEA is taking notice of GlassFish. Bill Roth offered some counter-arguments to our "10% better performance than BEA WebLogic 9.x" comparison, which is both expected and an appropriate thing to do. Bill asked some open-ended questions which I addressed for the benefit of the BEA community. I also offered some clarification around some of the points that Bill made so the WebLogic community has a better understanding of the GlassFish community. Bill's a busy guy (moderated comments) and the blogosphere is a moving window of conversation. In fear of missing the that window, here is a copy of the comment I submitted to Bill's blog.

Update: Alexis has a view on subject as well.
Update: Thorleif chose GlassFish over WebLogic (2nd comment) for the very reasons stated below.
Update: Hmmm, Bill never published my original comment to his blog, only the courtesy FYI ...
Update: Bill's SPAM catcher got in the way (see comments). No worries Bill, my email filter occasionally junk-mails my own emails :-)


Bill, GlassFish V2 and the Sun Java System Application Server 9.1 are essentially the same, with the latter applying the Sun brand, indemnification and support.  Sun benchmarked the Sun Java System Application Server 9.1 instead of GlassFish V2 because SPEC rules require a supported product. I highly recommend that instead of asking open-ended questions, you engage the GlassFish community via the user forums or the mailing lists where these and future questions can be easily addressed. To be completely transparent, I've updated the GlassFish User FAQ with the differences (GUI installer, 3rd party JDBC drivers, HADB) between GlassFish and the Sun Java System Application Server. These are not "significant differences" in our view.

Regarding our JVM, we don't need to be "pressed", simply asked (refer to the previous comment on user forum and mailing list). Yes, there are performance improvements between Java SE 5 and Java SE 6. However, since neither BEA WebLogic 9 nor BEA WebLogic 10 support Java SE 6, WebLogic customers cannot benefit from these performance improvements. It is good to hear that BEA has improved WebLogic tuning since the last submission since that benefits the larger Java community. The GlassFish community has made significant performance improvements between GlassFish V1 and GlassFish V2. The GlassFish community continues to actively work to improve performance across the board in a variety of areas.

I'll concede that benchmarking is a game of leapfrog. The main point is that GlassFish is performance competitive and extremely feature/price competitive at $4,500 for 4 sockets, which is why Gartner, Forrester, and Current Analysis are taking notice.


John Clingan
Sun Application Server Product Manager

Saturday Sep 22, 2007

GlassFish V2: The start of something great

What a difference two weeks make. Two weeks ago I was pulling (what's left of) my hair out trying to get the T's crossed and the i's dotted on GlassFish before the Monday launch. Pre-and-post-launch I've have been talking to potential customers, the sales force, analysts and the press. The word is getting out and the feedback is extremely positive.

I can't help feel that this GlassFish launch is the start of something great. Yes, Sun has had an application server (in one form or another) for almost a decade. Yes, GlassFish V1 has been around for over a year - even in production. But it all seems to have come together with GlassFish V2. Grrreat performance. New cost-efficient subscriptions for support. Enterprise ready. Open source community. Fully Java EE 5 compatible. The value proposition is looking good.  Not to put ASCII in their HTML, but Gartner seems to agree.

As we, the community, move forward, I'll do my best to keep everyone abreast of GlassFish momentum. The message may not always come from The Clingan Zone, but I've got prolific friends :-)

Monday Sep 17, 2007

GlassFish V2 released with cost-efficient annual subscriptions

There is a good reason for the rather long pause at The Clingan Zone. As mentioned previously, I moved out of the field and into corporate as the GlassFish Group Product Manager. In that role, I have been working in the background doing my part to help move GlassFish V2 towards the goal line. As of today, we've crossed that line. GlassFish V2 is formally released!!

GlassFish V1, the first Java EE 5 application server available, focused on developers with Java EE 5 ease-of-development features, low resource consumption, dynamic resource configuration, etc.  GlassFish V2 adds out-of-the-box enterprise features. In particular:

  • Clustering - Cluster for scalability high-availability. New to GlassFish V2 is in-memory session replication for high availability; robust and easy to set up. For 5 9's of availability Sun continues to offer HADB.
  • Advanced administration - From a centralized GUI console (or  CLI) users can manage and monitor the clusters and applications. Clusters can be created and grown dynamically to meet user demand.
  • Best-in-class performance - GlassFish V2 offers great performance and is the fastest open source application server available. In fact, GlassFish V2 is 10% faster than BEA WebLogic 9.x on the same hardware (compare here and here).
  • Microsoft .NET 3.0 Web services Interoperability - At it's core,  Project Metro offers industry-leading web services performance with JAX-WS. In addition, Sun (through Project Metro) and Microsoft have worked together to ensure secure, reliable, transactional and high performance web services interoperability between Java EE and Microsoft .NET 3.0.

Enterprise features do not compromise ease-of-use. To date the feedback we have received on ease-of-use has been overwhelmingly positive, especially for clustered deployments. Ease-of-use will be a top-level theme for GlassFish V3 (more on that in a later post).

Sun's commercially available counterpart to GlassFish V2, the Sun Java System Application Server 9.1, is offered with new annual subscriptions for support, including live transfer for issues impacting production availability. In fact, we have dropped prices by up to 75% to be in line with other open source offerings. Yep, you can buy online. Note, GlassFish V2 is at feature parity with the Sun Java System Application Server 9.1 - we're not penalizing the open source community for committing to open source bits.  However, if production support is required to reduce the impact of production issues, we have your back. With great out-of-the-box enterprise features and cost-efficient pricing, the Sun Java System Application Server 9.1 offer a great value proposition whether you are an enterprise looking to drive down costs or a startup looking for a low barrier to entry.

Download GlassFish V2 or Sun's commercialized counterpart, the Sun Java System Application Server 9.1. Take it for a spin. Have questions? Check the documentation or the FAQ on how to get help.

Wednesday Jun 13, 2007

Blog about GlassFish and enter to win a 52" LCD HD TV

Arun has the details on the offer - and hurry! Only 2 days left. It will take less time to post an entry on the topic than it will to go pick up a Lotto ticket. While the offer doesn't compare to Lotto winnings, the odds are significantly more in your favor ;-)

You may be wondering if you have to say something nice about GlassFish to win. Nope. Be honest (and professional :-) ). Honest feedback goes a long way. We hope that others learn something important about GlassFish from what you post. However, I think that it is equally important that we - the GlassFish team - learn something. We may learn ...

  • ... something new on how GlassFish is used in practice
  • ... that some part of GlassFish needs to be improved
  • ... that you have got a framework running on GlassFish and are the first to blog about it.
  • ... why you chose to use GlassFish with sssoooo many options available
  • ... that you just wanted a 52" LCD HD TV and would do anything to get it :-)
Unfortunately Sun employees are not eligible. Hrumph.


Thursday May 10, 2007

GlassFish interest & adoption @ JavaOne

Working the JavaOne GlassFish booth has been extremely rewarding. First, the message about GlassFish is getting out. The booth has been very busy. In some cases, folks are already using GlassFish and the rest want to learn more.

Walking around the floor yesterday confirmed my thoughts regarding the breadth of GlassFish adoption already happening. For example, the folks at the Joyent booth had a laptop screen with "GlassFish Hosting Here". I had no idea but me-thinks I have Ben Rockwood to thank for that :-) In addition, the TeleLogic folks were using GlassFish to demonstrate their enterprise architecture tools. The first three booths I hit yesterday were using GlassFish. Ericsson was the 3rd, but I knew that going in.

Saturday Apr 21, 2007

Glassfish on Ubuntu on Qemu on Solaris on ...

While others describe Ubuntu on Parallels on Mac, that simply doesn't work for me.  I run Solaris on X86 (Nevada build 60 on a Tecra M2 to be precise). Thanks to Qemu for Solaris, I can test it out. During the Glassfish install & run I took a couple of screen snapshots. The image on the right shows Glassfish in the Synaptic package manager. The brown-ish square is Ubuntu running on Qemu. The image below shows Firefox on Ubuntu displaying the Glassfish console. The browser in the background and the task bar at the bottom are both running on  Solaris. You may be asking why the display shows the Sun Java System Application Server. As posted at The Aquarium, The Sun Java System Application Server is Sun's name for our distribution of Glassfish. The only difference between the two is the installer.

FYI, Ubuntu integrates more than Glassfish, it includes the Sun Java SE 6 JDK, Java DB and NetBeans 5.5.

So you may be asking yourself, why the heck run Glassfish on Ubuntu on Qemu on Solaris on X86 when it runs just fine directly on Solaris on X86? One answer is "because I can". Another is that it makes an interesting blog post - or at least I think it does :-) Most importantly, it lets me stay on top of the Glassfish user experience on the most popular desktop Linux distribution. The overall experience was simple and uneventful, which is just the way I like my installs to go.


Friday Apr 20, 2007

Meeting the Glassfish team @ Sun

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Monday Mar 26, 2007

Glassfish in action (Screencast)

If you are interested in Glassfish, RoR, Phobos, PHP or application servers in general, check out Jerome's Glassfish v3 screencast. Note, the title of the post says "first", so I'm assuming there will be more coming.

What's nice about Glassfish v3, which the screencast delves into, is the improved startup time. Me-thinks that a sub-second up-and-running web container should facilitate design-time and allow developers to better focus on the problem at hand. Quick-startup is enabled by a newer, more modular approach in line with JSR 277.

As a side note, there is an interesting discussion as to why Glassfish v3 modules are not based on OSGi.


John Clingan-Oracle


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