Application servers and web servers have been around since the last century. Because they are several decades old, occasionally someone will announce they’re dead. They’ll mention network delays, expensive networks, extra coding, logging difficulties, mobile serving, poor transaction processing, and even a lack of a “coolness” factor. They’ll cite newer technology—pure Java applications, containers, microservices, DevOps, application delivery services—and pronounce these alternatives better, faster, more cost effective, and easier to work with.
A search of software review sites like TrustRadius, where most application servers get very good reviews, from their users and public discussion forums like Quora say otherwise. To paraphrase a famous quote, “The rumor of their deaths is greatly exaggerated.” This blog post explains what these internet and network workhorses do, talk a little about what’s happened since they first appeared on the scene, and introduce a dynamic duo that can deliver your web applications faster and more efficiently.
An application server enables a server to generate a dynamic, customized response to a client request. Businesses use them for ecommerce, component reuse, and web-integrated collaboration. Sometimes they are used for just one specific application. Other times they run a combination of word processing, spreadsheets, and desktop publishing software. And on occasion, they run operating systems that terminals use to access resources. With an application server, you also get an extra security layer because of the firewall between it and the web server. Application servers also deliver optimized performance and resource usage because they remove business logic and heavy processing from web servers.
A web server is software that receives a request from a user and provides the data to the user in the form of an HTML page. The process is an example of the client/server model. Web servers use HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to serve the files that form web pages to users in response to their requests, which are forwarded by the HTTP clients in their computers. All computers that host websites must have web server programs.
Amazing technology has emerged since the 1990s—laptops, mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, relational databases, big data processors, WiFi, wearables, AI—seemingly eclipsing the web application. People do business with smartphones. Smart homes and apps use voice recognition software. Sensors in different devices talk to one another. Social media has brought real-time to computing, and some companies are implementing serverless solutions on the cloud.
To ensure users have access to all this and more, new architectures, scripts, services, and delivery methods have been invented. Containers are used to deliver updates to applications continuously, microservices, which are separate services, are combined in different ways to do different tasks. APIs connect disparate programs and applications so they work together. Special file storage and processing handle the analysis of big data or feed AI and machine learning applications. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and think that web applications are on the way out, and with them, their delivery methods like application servers—and even web servers (there are now special servers that serve pages up to mobile applications).
But, as we at TmaxSoft know well, you can’t just throw out decades of application installs and start from scratch. Think of all the applications in your business. Imagine rewriting them all and having to use all kinds of new methods of delivering them to users. You would have to have experts in the all the different programming languages and libraries, integration methods, testing environments, scripting, and more. You would have to decide where to deploy them.
It is much easier to keep using the web applications that work well for you now and updating them or building new ones that don’t require massive skills transfers or costly labor. So, web and application servers are not dead. Nor are they likely to die soon, although they are suffering a little from age.
A solution to mature technology isn’t always to replace it with something entirely different, shiny, and new. Sometimes the technology just needs reconfiguration or to be modernized to meet the needs of modern applications or the demands of customers.
Today, a modernized application server should be a platform for developing, executing, and managing applications in a web environment. It should process the large-scale transactions associated with today’s web applications with high performance. It should also support cloud computing, provide high scalability, and improve development productivity. Why? Because web applications are as important as ever.
Google and other tech giants have introduced a new kind of web application, called a progressive web app (PWA). PWAs behave like native mobile apps but are not downloaded from an app store. In addition, there is reactive web programming, which builds sites that always feel fast and responsive to user input regardless of the network speed or latency.
A modernized application server can meet the needs of the new breed of web applications and those of dynamic cloud environments, all while improving the performance of more traditional types of applications. When this modernized application server is paired with a next-generation web server that provides excellent performance and stability, things get even better. Large-scale and massive transactions are processed stably and reliably, via multiplexing I/O, request queuing, dynamic load balancing, and stream pipe communication. addition to basic web server functions.
JEUS and WebtoB have been powering applications, transaction processing, and client requests for two decades. Much like the original Batman and Robin movies have been revamped for a modern audience, this dynamic duo has been modernized into modern-day superheroes.
For example, JEUS is available in a cloud edition to address the challenges unique to cloud-based applications—but the on-premises version is as powerful as ever, if not more. JEUS now offers a high-performance architecture built for today’s high-transaction workloads that enables a more flexible use of resources and maximizes system responsiveness and performance. For the performance needed in large-scale cluster environments, JEUS offers distributed session servers without additional configuration.
WebtoB addresses the structural issues of other web servers. It works in tandem with JEUS to handle today’s workloads. Once JEUS is connected to WebtoB, large-scale transaction is processed stably and reliably, via multiplexing I/O, request queuing, dynamic load balancing, and stream pipe communication
If you’ve been holding out for a heroic combination of web and application server, JEUS and WebtoB are your dynamic duo. Together, they offer unrivaled security, performance, reliability, throughput and lower costs. To learn more, check out the JEUS and WebtoB web page.
Paul Bobak is the Vice President, Technical Field Services at TmaxSoft. He has more than 30 years of IT and ISV senior management experience with global companies. At TmaxSoft, he has responsibility for pre- and post-sales support and services. Paul has a diverse mainframe, database, distributed and SOA technology background along with in-depth experience growing and managing teams in multi-platform enterprise-wide environments. He has consistently taken a consultative approach to solving client business challenges, while strategically aligning technology to support clients’ business objectives. Paul has a successful track record for hiring, motivating and retaining performance-driven teams and building a culture of doing what’s needed to ensure customer success. His leadership experience includes senior management roles at Legent, Oracle, Tibco and Netezza. He holds two degrees in Computer Science.