Netscape plans to take competitors Microsoft and IBM head on by adding transact- ional capabilities to its Netscape Application Server.
In an effort to cover its bases across an increasingly competitive playing field, Netscape is preparing to launch its next-generation Application and Web Servers, with the possibility of a third server offering that would address the middle-tier market.
Application Server 4.0, slated for an early 1999 release, is based largely on technology acquired from Kiva.
On par with competitors
It will feature transaction-level capabilities that should bring it on par with IBM's WebSphere offering and Microsoft's Transaction Server, according to Keng Lim, vice president and general manager of application platforms and managed content at Netscape.
In addition to transaction monitoring functionality, Application Server 4.0 will also offer programming language neutrality, multi-tier specialisation, enhanced application reliability, and extensions to enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications.
Netscape announced earlier this year at SAP's SAPphire conference in Los Angeles an extension to its Application Server that will link it to the ERP giant's system. The company has similar deals planned with PeopleSoft and other ERP vendors.
"Netscape realises the entrance of all these players in the app server market means we need to keep raising the bar on performance and scalability of our own app server," said a company representative.
Also expected to ship in early 1999 is Version 4.0 of the Netscape Web Server.
According to the company, it is the focus on managed sites in this release that will place Netscape's enterprise Web Server ahead of the competition.
"Web Server 4.0 will let Web site producers manage hundreds of pages of Web content and links - something that IIS [Microsoft's Internet Information Server] can't do," said a Netscape representative.
Additionally, Web Server 4.0 will feature centralised management and security, as well as native Java servlet support.
While Netscape executives hope that the Version 4.0 releases of the Application and Web Servers will be enough to beat back the growing number of competitors in this space, the company is considering the possibility of a third offering.
Called Application Server "Lite" by one Netscape representative, it would essentially be the Application Server without the high-end transaction-level monitoring capabilities.