Enterprises collectively wasted more than $1bn in overpayments for never-to-be-used high-end Java application servers from 1998 through 2000, according to research company Gartner.
From 2001 through 2003, it may cost them an additional $2bn, said Gartner.
Confusion over the appropriate software needed to power web applications has led many companies to bypass low-end application servers that meet most requirements and cost 10 times less than the high-end products, according to Gartner.
Gartner defines low-end application servers, which include Enhydra, WebLogic Express, iPlanet Web Server and WebSphere Standard Edition, as mostly focused on supporting the user interaction type of business logic and requiring little systems management and administration.
High-end application servers, which are intended for large transaction volume and offer advanced load balancing, fault tolerance, transaction management and system management capabilities, are meant to host the core business logic of an application, Gartner said.
Typically, they support Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) architecture and Java messaging architecture, both of which can help facilitate the re-use of the application business logic across various business processes and clients.
In the past three years, the less expensive servers were sufficient for 80 per cent of the projects in a typical midsize company, yet 60 per cent of the deployments were in the high-end.
"There is much confusion in the industry over what the appropriate use of an application server is," said Gartner analyst, David Smith.
"For example, the unfortunate naming of Microsoft's application server as a transaction server creates the mistaken tendency to equate application server to just Java 2 Enterprise Edition."
In many cases, enterprises simply follow the vendor's advice without additional research, and vendors' sales representatives naturally prefer to sell the more expensive version of the technology, Smith said.
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