Websphere Application Server version 5 is based on Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.3, and IBM claimed that its platform is now optimised for Web services provision and integration.
The integration is based on Java Messaging Service (JMS) and Enterprise Java Beans 2.0 Message Beans. JMS supports asynchronous connections - the ability to hold messages in a queue if a component is not available until it comes back online. Dynamic interaction between applications allows developers to expose Java applications, Web services and legacy applications as reusable services which can then be arranged in a logical flow.
The main addition to the Web services mix for long-established IBM sites is new software to enable legacy mainframe systems to be wrapped and presented as a Web service.
IBM claimed that Websphere will cut integration costs by 50%. Ed Harbour, director for Websphere commerce at IBM Software, said, "As much as 40% of the IT budget can be spent on application integration issues. Although each project and customer has different requirements, we are confident that the cost of integration will be dramatically decreased.
"IBM will soon be releasing a return on investment tool that will allow our customers to model a project and get some indication of what these savings will mean to them."
At the same time as the Application Server launch, IBM also unveiled Websphere MQ Event Broker and Websphere Business Integration.
MQ Event Broker allows businesses to publish personalised information to specific subscribers whether on the same network, across the Internet or using mobile devices.
Business Integration allows business processes, such as enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management enquiries, to be implemented across the enterprise. It uses technology gained by IBM following the acquisition of CrossWorlds Software earlier this year.
Version 5 of Websphere Application Server is available now in beta form on IBM's Web site and will be released in packaged form next month. MQ Event Broker and Business Integration will be available shortly afterwards.