Areas Missing from J2EE Management

Areas Missing from J2EE Management

The 1.0 J2EE Management specification is a great start down the path toward a time when J2EE management tools will be "write once, manage anywhere." Obtaining agreement on the management model for application servers is a major step.

There are some significant items missing from the first J2EE Management specification, however. The following list includes some of those missing management functions and reasons why they were left out of JSR 77:

  • Security. Security is a discipline closely related to management. Management functions are used to configure and enable security. Security functions are used to protect the management systems from unauthorized use. However, most security implementations in J2EE server products are considerably different from one another. This situation is changing and improving with new security-related JSRs. But there was too much divergence in the implementations for security when the JSR 77 expert group was working to allow for standardization in this area.

  • Configuration. Although configuration of managed resources is a fundamental component of any management system, the range of different implementations for J2EE application server products made the selection of common configuration properties a difficult point on which to reach agreement between all of the different vendors involved in writing the JSR 77 specification.

    So a specification for common configuration properties for all compliant J2EE application server products has been left for a subsequent JSR. This may prove to be a long process because even implementations of the same product on different platforms (such as WebSphere/390 versus WebSphere for distributed systems) have different configuration properties.

  • Load balancing. Individual application servers are limited in the number of requests that can be served. Most production systems provide a mechanism for grouping or clustering individual servers into a coordinated set so that higher volumes of requests can be serviced. The techniques for accomplishing multiserver coordination are proprietary; in fact, they are a source of competitive advantage between products. The representation of server clusters was not addressed in JSR 77 because of the issues of product differentiation and because a good amount of innovation is still occurring in this technology.

  • Audit. The JSR 77 model for event notification is a good one for a system that includes a live monitor that registers for all of the important events and is available to receive and process the events when they occur. In practice, most production systems include some form of persistent logging to maintain a history of the events that occur over time. These audit trails are vital when something goes wrong so that support staff can track down the sequence of events that played out as parts of the system failed. As it stands today, every application server product supports auditing and logging in a different way.

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