Field Report: Apache Tomcat 7 In Action

posted by avanabs on January 11, 2011 08:21 AM

With some help from friends at several of my (now-ex) consulting clients, I've been trying out the latest build of Tomcat 7 on some of the "problem applications" we ran into over the years...many of them while transitioning applications from JEE application servers to the "highly distributed services architectures" (now widely called the "Cloud") that I have been discussing and building for the last 6-7 years.

In a word, WOW!

Of the 11 "problem" applications we've tried on Tomcat 7:

  • 100% of them worked
  • 9 of the 11 exposed coding problems that had led to development and production problems previously.
  • All 9 were readily fixed, and they now run properly on 6.5, as well as on 7
  • The other two simply ran reliably on Tomcat 7, while they required frequent re-starts on 6.5
  • 7 of the 11 ran faster, with the best seeing approximately a 6% performance gain

I've been closely tracking the progress on Tomcat 7 for more than a year, have previously blogged (here and elsewhere) about its features and behavior, on how to decide when to adopt Tomcat 7 into your development projects, and have watched it finding its way into development and even some production systems through my former consulting clients. As previously noted, there is a lot to like about Tomcat 7 features, and I'm hopeful I can find the time to try the Servlet 3 capabilities. That said, it's the stability, performance, and application cleanup assistance that make this one compelling.

I strongly urge you to grab it if you haven't already, beat the heck out of it, and provide any feedback to the team via the appropriate tomcat mailing list. It's great fun, and should be considered by anyone doing Tomcat development at any level.

Congratulations to the Tomcat community, and in particular the committers who've worked so hard for so long to make this a memorable release.

Andy has recently decided to make the jump from individual consulting to join the Spring Source team. He will continue to be working with major clients to assist them with IT architecture evolution, now as a member of a large and growing organization. His first project will be leveraging Tomcat, Spring, and a Tomcat based data grid/cache called GemFire. He’s looking forward to sharing the lessons learned with the tomcatexpert community. Andy has been architecting, designing, and building enterprise infrastructure and applications software for most of his career. He’s been responsible for BEA’s “Blended Source” initiative, combining the best of Open Source (including both Tomcat and Spring) with WebLogic, BEA’s WebLogic Enterprise Security product family, MEI Software’s financial systems, Netegrity’s SiteMinder security product, Camex’s electronic publishing systems, mainframe applications for Bell Telephone, and many others. During that time his hands on technology experience has ranged from octal coding into neon lighted switches all the way through JAVA and beyond, including many generations of “the best and final thing we will ever need”, and he looks forward to working on the even better things coming in the future. He was involved in the early days of Open Source software as a contributor to EMACS and refocused on Open Source during his tenure as Director of Product Management with BEA Systems, combined with a fascination for the rapidly evolving application deployment architectures and technologies driving today’s development. Andy has provided architecture and technology guidance for both vendors and IT organizations and he shares what he is learning through consulting services and through his web site, Enterprise Software Trends (


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