Case study touts .NET development for IBM portal server deployment

Such economics will be compelling not only to the financial sector as it seeks larger, unified, lower-TCO datacenter consolidation. It will also appeal to those seeking a practical approach to SOA -- build your services as you wish, or migrate the older ones, and host them in the best fashion for cost, scale, maintenance, and governance. Hosting organizations, ever wary of costs and energy use, can appeal to the widest base of applications and users while unifying or virtualizing their serving and data environments. The .NET to portlets cross-compilation benefits also aids in migration and coexistence exercises.

Call it a suck-up job for developer choice, but I've been appraised of an interesting case study that highlights the ability to develop using Visual Studio/.NET -- but to then cross-compile the applications to play as portlets for deployment on IBM WebSphere Portal server on ... a System Z mainframe. Zoom, zoom.

The irony is sweet, but the economics are sweeter yet. The two players lobbing up this example today are Mainsoft, with the compilation and UI/data consistency value, and IBM with the big honking platform that loves virtualization and Linux or Unix containers value.

The happy user is Opal Financial Group, a pension fund and institutional fund manager. It uses IBM WebSphere Portal software on System Z or System P running AIX to support .NET-developed applications. The economics enticement is the ability to support wide diversity for development (and to use all the developer skills available), while consolidating and unifying on the operations side -- which usually means 70 percent or more of the IT budget.

The ability to reliably take code written in C# and VB.NET and run via a JSR 168 portlet on a portal server at high scale with user experience maintained has long been on the wish-list for organizations struggling to manage the high-costs yet inevitability of platform heterogeneity. Mainsoft says a half-day of developer training and $5,000 per developer seat/$15,000 per CPU license can make it so. Total costs and training results may vary, of course.

Yet the attainable goal here, say both IBM and Mainsoft, is to support .NET-made applications at one-third the cost of supporting separate runtime environments, and that is not peanuts. The resulting portlets, incidentally, can run on any J2EE server, from Tomcat to Geronimo to JBoss to WebSphere.

Such economics will be compelling not only to the financial sector as it seeks larger, unified, lower-TCO datacenter consolidation. It will also appeal to those seeking a practical approach to SOA -- build your services as you wish, or migrate the older ones, and host them in the best fashion for cost, scale, maintenance, and governance.

Hosting organizations, ever wary of costs and energy use, can appeal to the widest base of applications and users while unifying or virtualizing their serving and data environments. The .NET to portlets cross-compilation benefits also aids in migration and coexistence exercises.

What's more, Mainsoft is coming out on June 6 with a major upgrade to its offerings, to fully support the latest .NET development environment.

The case-study and its implications are substantial. The hearts and minds of developers can be pleased while the penny-pinching pockets of the operations side of the house can relate good news to the corner office. I expect we'll be seeing a lot more of these kinds of consolidation projects in the coming months and years.

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