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IBM (news, site) announced that the features in the latest release of its Java application server, WebSphere Application Server (WAS) V8.0, along with improved performance, have positioned the company as a continued leader in the middleware integration space.

New Features to Fuel Business Growth

IBM is now shipping WAS V8.0 and the latest release has an impressive number of new features. The newest version has full support for Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) 6.0, making it only the third application fully certified with the full profile. A larger number of vendors support the Java EE 6.0, but only a small number are officially certified as compliant.

In addition to certification on the latest enterprise edition of Java, IBM also made a significant effort toward enhancing the operational management of the environment. WAS V8.0 is the first release of IBM application server to leverage the company’s installation manager. The installation manager is a single platform for installing and uninstalling products and fix packs, which should make it easier to install, uninstall and manage the software across different hardware environments. WAS V8.0 also includes an Application Migration Tool that was actually released during the WAS V7.0 service period, which analyzes application source code to identify potential migration problems before final deployment.

WAS V8.0 allows organizations to fully embrace mobile delivery -- an important capability for companies that want to target the rapidly growing numbers of mobile device users. The release includes the Web 2.0 and Mobile Feature Pack, which IBM originally made available for WAS V6.1 and V7.0. The feature pack lets users develop interactive mobile friendly content for the most popular smartphone and tablet devices such as iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.

Interestingly, although IBM released a press release indicating the software was just shipping, there were announcements regarding the version 8.0 release dating back shortly after Big Blue’s 100th anniversary, June 16.

Improved Software Performance

WAS V8.0 doesn’t just include feature enhancements. The application server also offers much better performance. In fact, SPECjEnterprise 2010 benchmark identified the application server a  performance leader in two out of three categories in its latest study. These improvements will allow organizations that are more responsiveness to its users.

These improvements should help IBM continue its rein in the software middleware market. Gartner has named IBM the leading provider of software for the tenth year straight with a 32.6 percent market share. That is very impressive given the number of commercial vendors in market and the growth in enterprise open source adoption.