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Virtualization Software Extended to Java

Cassatt Launches Java Server Consolidation Software

Cassatt, a California-based company hoping to profit from the flexibility that can come from virtualization, plans to expand its management software to let Java apps run on servers more efficiently. This is a start-up company that established computing powers by embracing virtualization. Its software steps in a layer above that, though, controlling higher-level software and letting it be moved from one machine to another.

The company sells software called Cassatt Collage that governs how software runs on a pool of servers. A new option called the Web Automation Module extends to software running on Java application servers. The project is currently only certified to work with BEA’s WebLogic, but will soon expand to other Java application servers including JBoss and IBM's WebSphere and later on it plans to tackle hypervisors such as VMWare. Rich Green, a former Sun employee and present executive vice-president of products at Cassatt said, “Cassatt's new module takes advantage of the fact that Java already employs virtualization.”

Each Java program already runs in a software environment called a Java virtual machine. This new module controls Java software by assigning new computing resources if performance isn't up to preset levels or moving it to a new machine if the one it's running on fails. It also lets administrators pool Java server resources into a central resource, replacing large numbers of underutilized servers with fewer machines running closer to top capacity.

It does so with a control engine that is housed on an Intel server, access to a repository of system and software images that are retained in a storage network and passive sensing that picks up standard data from sources such as SNMP, Java Management Extensions (JMX), and from the OS itself. When capacity thresholds are reached, Cassatt's engine doesn't reach for a library of prescribed actions. Instead, it dynamically optimizes demand for resources and deploys accordingly. They claim that their approach can ramp new servers into production with provisioned software in minutes without human intervention.

"Our knowledge of system design is what allows us to build this goal-seeking engine," explained Richard Green, vice president of marketing, who was previously served in similar roles at Sun heading the Solaris and Java units. Cassatt's control software costs about $100,000 for a 40-server pool. Adding the Web Automation Module increases the cost by about $5,000 per server. Collage automates the provisioning of Linux and UNIX server resources so that they can be shared and utilized more efficiently. It treats server resources as a virtual pool that can be assigned or reassigned to different applications or processes as demand dictates

The new release adds capabilities to manage J2EE resources more granularly. Until now, J2EE was treated as a single resource or black box. The new capabilities can peer under the hood to introspect actual instances. It can judge the number of J2EE appserver instances deployed on each server and it can drill down further to track consumption of resources like Java Server Pages (JSPs) or enterprise Java Beans (EJBs).

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JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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