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

New Features to Fuel Business Growth

IBM is now shipping WAS V8.0 and the latest release has animpressive number of new features. The newest version has full support for JavaEnterprise Edition (Java EE) 6.0, making it only the third application fullycertified with the full profile. A larger number of vendors support the Java EE6.0, but only a small number are officially certified as compliant.

In addition to certification on the latest enterpriseedition of Java, IBM also made a significant effort toward enhancing theoperational management of the environment. WAS V8.0 is the first release of IBMapplication server to leverage the company’s installation manager. Theinstallation manager is a single platform for installing and uninstallingproducts and fix packs, which should make it easier to install, uninstall andmanage the software across different hardware environments. WAS V8.0 alsoincludes an Application Migration Tool that was actually released during theWAS V7.0 service period, which analyzes application source code to identifypotential migration problems before final deployment.

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

Learning Opportunities

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

Improved Software Performance

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

These improvements should help IBM continue its rein in thesoftware middleware market. Gartner has named IBM the leading provider of softwarefor the tenth year straight with a 32.6 percent market share. That is veryimpressive given the number of commercial vendors in market and the growth in enterpriseopen source adoption.