glassfish as cloud platformThe really impressive thing about the Glassfish 3.1 release is the position it puts the product-line in to deliver on a whole new open platform for Oracle to pursue over-time non-established customer bases, in all target verticals, customers or in many cases, enterprises, that have not committed their entire infrastructure to Oracle or SAP, or IBM for that matter. What it does, in a short-term sense, is provide the Oracle sales force with something that can be sold in to 'green' environments, where there is no established leader among the mis-matched product acquisitions that said businesses have made, on a plethora of software companies' product-lines. It reinforces Oracle as a provider of leading-edge Enterprise Java features, that seem to only be getting better for both developers and administrators, alike, as Glassfish 3.1 offers the scalability offerings that will get customers interested beyond departmental applications, that are just looking for something cheap and easy. What Oracle can now say to the thousands of customers that are looking at JBoss for standardization or even SpringSource, is that there is now something better with Oracle's support plan. It will continue to be a process of differentiating the comparative features of WebLogic with Glassfish, but by turning to the cloud for full featured deployable component-ized apps, Glassfish 3.1 will carve out a sizeable and growing niche for developers to understand and for administrators to test, while maintaining a share of budget for advanced, next-stage deployments.
The cloud has been a moving target, transforming from on-line storage to app customization in order to take the features of scalable deployment to the next generation of mixing and matching applications, and parcels of applications to run different features of a web platform. Glassfish 3.1 delivers all of the functionality to look at what could come next, in the development of the cloud, as usability is delivered in clusters, and integration with development environments, that are standard to JEE, for cost-effective testing in environments that are beginning to move to the cloud for deployments. It would not be initially beneficial to Oracle to run a cloud based on Glassfish, though it is conceivable that customers of Oracle could do just that, and by maintaining increased cross-platform support, but only with the core, Glassfish remains a stellar alternative to the other open source offerings in Enterprise Java, including some of Oracle's biggest competitors to emerging markets. Oracle is well positioned to offer a feature-complete cloud offering, that would rather than cannibalize sales of WebLogic could actually open doors, in to new business environments, particularly those that are not somewhat invested in Enterprise Java, as of yet.
The next stage is taking the product-line to the positioning stage, and really offer an alternative off of JBoss and Spring Source, which continue to dominate the standard and non-standard environments, respectively. Oracle would be well-served to open up about Glassfish's potential as a deployment platform for next-stage applications in the cloud, and as Enterprise Java continues to lead the standardization process, as Java continues to maintain its role in the enterprise, there is a need to spell-out how customers should view the two-tiered application server offering, but not to detail, that is still being worked out. Instead, Glassfish 3.1 marks a point where Oracle can actually support two deployment platforms, alongside WebLogic, though it needs to be aggressive with both platforms, the Glassfish opportunity is to gather enough momentum with developers, that has continued to build since v. 1, and move to marketing the feature-set as being ideal for the cloud, and get some named customers on-board that will use Glassfish for reasons that can be duplicated in the cloud. Things that enterprises don't typically do, but considering the economics of an OSS-model, would actually benefit certain customers with knowledge on deployment architectures.
This will take reference architectures on Sun hardware, it will take more-detailed deployment guides on various types of applications, also more competitive analysis on how it stacks up with other OSS offerings, and sales guides for when a customer states something about looking at next-generation development and/or cloud deployment. Oracle's customers are, for the majority, savvy enough to understand when one product-line is tailored for their needs, and Glassfish 3.1 meets the requirements of those forward looking businesses and organizations that need something fast and now, while giving them a deployment guide for when certain aspects of their development match a broader roll-out with scalability requirements. It is not too soon to spell out the differentiating value of Glassfish 3.1 as soon as possible to gather more coverage from the customers and media on why the product-line yields what has been missing from Enterprise Java in the last few years: a distinct leader on new features and advanced deployment capabilities. The cloud is but a term to use in conversation, the real work is only accomplished when detailed documentation provides additional language and materials to realistically put the features of Glassfish 3.1 in perspective. This is the call for Oracle to do, and the time is right to transcend the standard marketing, to take the product-line of Glassfish to new levels, appearing to carve out a respectable niche among paying customers.