by Natalie Miller • @natalieatWIS

IBM WebSphere Application Server evolves to support composable business model

Published April 08, 2015


Customer engagement is paramount to success and the plethora of ways to now communicate with customers has required organizations to change their approach. Enterprises have to be a lot more nimble and dynamic in the way that they go about their interactions with those customers, and they need to build an infrastructure that supports that, says Walt Noffsinger, IBM WAS Program Director.

IBM calls this shift the composable business model. “You have a lot of things that you’re able to do in a composable business that allow you to be able to make changes quickly from an agile perspective,” he says. He explains that with this approach, it’s easier to make changes on the fly and quickly bridge new systems of engagement with existing systems of record to adjust to customer demands in a timely manner.

To become a composable business, companies must “embrace a new way of assembling their technologies, and that means that they need to be open to taking whatever they can as early as they can and building it in a composable fashion,” he says. A micro-services architecture, rather than monolithic applications, is the ideal platform to be able to make these kinds of continuous, agile changes, adds Raj Suryavanshi, IBM WAS Product Manager, but this places new requirements on the infrastructure.

Traditionally, IBM’s WebSphere Application Server offers clients all they need to run a Java environment—it’s a robust platform that offers security, complete control, and deep functionality. But its architecture doesn’t allow all the flexibility that cloud and agile environments require. A few years ago, IBM introduced its Liberty profile, which does just that—offers customers a lightweight and composable dynamic, cloud-ready environment—and this year, Big Blue has added additional features to the platform.

It’s about delivering a platform that delivers micro services ... runtime, flexibility to deploy on cloud, flexibility to compose, and last but not least, ability to pay for what you use.

Raj Suryavanshi, WAS Product Manager, IBM

Liberty gives organizations a flexible, micro-services kind of architecture that allows them to drop in only the components they need. “It’s about delivering a platform that delivers micro services ... runtime, flexibility to deploy on cloud, flexibility to compose, and last but not least, ability to pay for what you use,” says Suryavanshi.

IBM is now promoting its WAS architecture as able to run anywhere, with on-premises options as well as public cloud (IaaS) and packaged services (PaaS) options using Bluemix and Cloud Foundry. Customers can now deploy in any build-your-own-cloud configuration with any service, from SoftLayer to Microsoft Azure to IBM Bluemix.

“It’s about having the flexibility of bringing your WAS infrastructure to whatever environment makes sense,” says Noffsinger.

Among the new improvements to WAS, IBM recently released additional components on the WAS Liberty Repository “that really empower the developer,” he continues. A number of these new components have to do directly with Java EE7 to supplement what was added last year. The update also includes production support for Docker environments, which gives users higher performance, scaling, and density.  There is also a Statement of Direction for full Java EE7 support in the Traditional WAS Profile, and a new no-charge WAS Liberty for limited production.

“We realized that developers not only appreciate no-charge access to the development and deployment environments, but in many instances would like to have a limited production option for their personal projects and small company situations,” says Noffsinger.

The limited production offering includes up to 2 GB of memory per enterprise—so clients have the ability to run Liberty in production with no charge and no support. “This gives smaller organizations the ability to put something in production without having to pay for it,” he says. “So it really helps a lot with helping people get familiar with the environment.”

You don’t want to change too much at once, and this approach allows you to trial things, fail fast, and adjust course. Demonstrate success and usefulness to the business and grow on that.

Walt Noffsinger, WAS Program Director, IBM

Other enhancements just announced focus on providing accelerated delivery and dynamic scale. These include the ability to write applications once and then deploy them anywhere with flexibility of location and consumption. IBM launched a promotion last month that runs through September 9 and allows clients to take WAS licenses and run an equivalent amount of those licenses on SoftLayer for no additional charge.

“It’s a pretty good deal for customers who want to get started in trying things on cloud,” adds Noffsinger.

A few other things to note about the announcement:

  • When it comes to dynamic scale, IBM has made improvements to the Liberty Profile to simplify operation through optimized scaling and routing.
  • There is improved security and support for IBM Power8 and IBM z Systems z13.

These enhancements in total differentiated WebSphere Application Server and allow it to run everywhere—on-premise, in the cloud, or a combination of dedicated servers and cloud options that support rapid development and scale.

IBM also introduced WAS Liberty V9 Beta with Java EE7 that has almost all the EE7 content and some additional features that differentiate WAS from others in the marketplace and again, according to IBM, enable developers to rapidly build, deploy, and manage Java applications. The beta also provides additional functions such as:

  • WebRTC, which allows developers to embed rich, real-time multimedia into their applications without plug-ins, downloads, or installs.
  • Embedded analytics which provides for faster problem determination.
  • Java Batch modernization with support for the standardized programming model and GUI tools and support for easier management.

In the future, IBM plans to deliver all of the Java EE7 components on a new version of its Traditional WAS Profile sometime after this release of the new Liberty enhancements. “We can do it first on WAS Liberty because of its componentized runtime architecture and the Liberty Repository,” explains Noffsinger. “With traditional WAS, we roll out with a new version update and a new package … so that will be a little bit after the Liberty profile.”

There will be future announcements in the WAS Liberty V9 Beta, and these updates will be available as they are released on This continuous delivery model mirrors the approach Noffsinger says clients should take within their own organization.

“The problem many times is trying to take on too much at one time,” he says. What companies should do, he advises, is start with an application that might be particularly prone to a certain kind of customer engagement model and begin to build that out as a component based or micro-service architecture.

“Don’t take it all on at once.  Start with a piece of the puzzle and let it build from there.  Let the technology pieces appropriately fall into place as they are needed,” he says.  “You don’t want to change too much at once, and this approach allows you to trial things, fail fast, and adjust course. Demonstrate success and usefulness to the business and grow on that.”

To learn more about IBM WAS, visit Big Blue’s WAS community at



1 . Posted by: Elena on 4/9/2015
Great article! I wanted to share information on WAS Liberty V9 webcast that would be of interest to your readers.

Chicago North-West Integration and Cloud Computing Websphere User Group is hosting a webcast on 4/30 at 10am CDT, where IBM experts will share their experience and show demos on the new Request Timing, Log Analytics and WebRTC features in the WAS Liberty V9 Beta with EE7.

Here is registration link -

See more info below.

Focused on delivering web applications that deliver continuous value to your business and enabling you to succeed in the emerging cloud and mobile market place, WebSphere Application Server's latest Beta is packed with several new features designed to bring your applications to market faster. This webcast will drill down into three new exciting technologies: Request Timing that automatically pinpoints performance problems, embedded Log Analytics for ease of problem determination to ensure high availability of your app-infrastructure and WebRTC that enables adding video chat capabilities to an enterprise social media application. Through this webcast the team will demonstrate how to set up and configure these features as well as how to rapidly prototype and deliver rich real-time communication features in today's modern web applications using the latest beta driver. This webcast will also have live demo’s on the Request Timing, Log Analytics and WebRTC.