IBM has reinforced its commitment to Java with the introduction of eNetwork On-Demand to simplify Web application deployment and management.
However, the first release of the product appears to lack a number of key features, including integration with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directories.
OnDemand Server is similar to SCO?s Tarantella middleware in that users only need to log on to the offering once from any client device to access their personalised Java desktop, Java applications and Web pages.
Tarantella, however, also supports non-Java applications such as Windows, X-based packages and terminal emulation software.
But, IBM is differentiating OnDemand Server by stressing its application management capabilities and hooks into different systems management software by means of the Application Management System (AMS) standard.
Ed Harbour, IBM's director of business line management for eNetwork Software, said support for the standard meant that customers could use a number of different systems management platforms to manage OnDemand applications, including IBM?s own Tivoli environment and Hewlett-Packard's OpenView offering, but not Computer Associates' Unicenter.
Systems administrators can also set data and application access rights based on individual user or group requirements or on the type of client device being used.
In addition, IBM will provide Java developers with a set of Java Beans to enable OnDemand Server to distribute and manage supported applications. The Beans will also enable programmers to create ?smart? Java packages that can adapt themselves to user preferences.
A later version of OnDemand server will store this personalised data in a standards-based LDAP directory, but the current release is also lacking support for remote users logging on to the corporate Intranet.
OnDemand Server is not intended to be a Web application server, however, attested Jeff Jaffe, general manager of IBM eNetwork Software and security unit. Instead, it will work with other Web application servers, such as Microsoft's, Netscape's and Big Blue's own Lotus Go!.
OnDemand Server will ship on October 30, running initially under Windows NT, AIX, OS/2 and OS/390. Pricing will be based on the number of users, but single user pricing has not yet been set. The pricing model is likely to change over time as the technology is adapted to work over the Internet.
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