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META Group: Competition Between Java and .NET to Remain Intense
META Group: Competition Between Java and .NET to Remain Intense

(August 29, 2002) - Although many corporations have selected Java as a strategic platform for enterprise development, adoption has been hampered by J2EE's complexity, according to the META Group, Inc.'s newly available METAspectrum market evaluation for the J2EE application server market. The METAspectrum report also concludes that the Microsoft .NET platform will continue as the principal competition to J2EE servers for the next 18 months.

The report predicts that growth in the J2EE market will continue, but will increasingly concentrate around two or three main players and a decreasing number of additional niche players. Market entry will remain difficult for adjacent and transformational suppliers, and, as a result, vendors that have not already established themselves will fail to make customer shortlists.

"We expect IBM and BEA to remain the dominant players in the J2EE application server arena during the next 18-24 months, but the market will continue to consolidate rapidly as the number of viable vendors shrinks," said Michael Barnes, senior program director with META Group's Application Delivery Strategies service, as he elaborated on additional METAspectrum findings. "Global 2000 organizations should continue ramping up internal expertise via proof-of-concept and limited-scope initiatives, but application server product choices should be re-evaluated during the next three to six months given ongoing consolidation. Making well-educated and well-documented decisions is critical."

METAspectrum's J2EE evaluation studied vendors of Java-based application servers or "containers" that manage components and services in a multitier application. Products evaluated in this space have either passed the Java test matrix or are in the process of being certified as J2EE compliant.

Other key finding of the report include:

  • Success in the J2EE application server market is dependent on the vendor's combination of performance and presence. In the future, dependency between these two areas will increase, particularly as the number of vendors with significant presence decreases.

  • Although support for enhanced development productivity and application frameworks/patterns will remain core differentiators for the next two to three years, the broader technical capabilities among platforms are moving towards relative parity.

  • Companies selecting platforms should weigh market presence and vendor viability more heavily than technical capability - to reflect the relative importance enterprise customers place on presence when selecting a strategic supplier.

  • As vendors continue to leapfrog one another in technological prowess, users are more concerned with providers' long-term commitment to the market and their ability to adequately service and support products on a global scale.

    Vendors evaluated included BEA, Oracle, Borland, SAP, IBM, SilverStream, IONA, Sun, JBoss, Sybase, and Macromedia. For more on the METAspectrum evaluation for J2EE, see www.metagroup.com.

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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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