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Alternatives to Oracle WebLogic

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonJune 26, 2016

Question: What are alternatives to Oracle WebLogic and which should I consider?

Answer:  Oracle acquired BEA WebLogic in 2008 because it its' position as the market leader is application server technologies.  Since then, Oracle WebLogic has been the flagship Oracle Application Server.  While there are dozens of small-time competitors to WebLogic (ranging from open-source solutions such as Tomcat (a.k.a. Tomcat/Apache), the super-high cost solutions such as IBM WebSphere). 

From a cost-savings perspective, Tomcat is the only real alternative to WebLogic, but there are several important caveats:

  • Build vs. Buy:  This is the basic problem in buying a pre-established web server and application server (WebLogic) vs. using an open source solution such as Tomcat/Apache.
  • Personnel skills:  Using any open source product requires specialized UNIX skills, and normally experienced UNIX system administrators and personnel with degrees in Software Engineering or Computer Science are required to install, configure and deploy open source solutions.

There are several compelling reasons to stay with Oracle WebLogic:

  • Oracle WebLogic is the most robust solution:  WebLogic has a sophisticated and flexible interface that allows even the most demanding application server to work seamlessly.
  • Oracle database is tightly coupled into WebLogic:  Oracle WebLogic is a key component of the Oracle application stack.  There is a benefit to having a single vendor for the entire application, from the OS to the database to the app server.
  • Oracle WebLogic can be fully automated:  Noted author Martin Heinzl has published three books on automating WebLogic for Oracle.
  • WebLogic alternatives require software engineering skills:  Many of the open source or partially open source solutions require an expensive a staff of administrators with degrees in software engineering.

 In sum, Oracle WebLogic is the most functional choice for Oracle application server, and replicating the functionality of WebLogic with an open-source tools such as Apache/Tomcat requires prohibitively expensive human engineering skills.

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