Jboss Admin Tutorial: Overview of JBoss Application Server

2. Overview of JBoss Application Server

2.1. JBoss Organization

  • JBoss - The Professional Open Source Company
  • Focuses on middleware software and services - JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (JEMS)
  • Software is open source and free
  • Makes money on services
  • Acquired by Red Hat in April 2006 for $420M

JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (JEMS):

  • Application Server (JBoss AS, Tomcat)
  • O/R Mapping and Persistence (Hibernate)
  • Portal Platform (JBoss Protal)
  • Business Process Management and Rules (JBoss jBPM, JBoss Rules)
  • Object/Data Cache (JBoss Cache)
  • Distributed Transaction Management (JBoss Transactions)
  • Development Tools (JBoss Tools plugin for Eclipse)

JBoss Organization Services:

  • Training
  • Certification
  • Online Education
  • Consulting

2.2. JBoss AS Background

  • Established in 1999 as an open-source EJB container
  • Version 2.x becomes a full J2EE application server
  • Version 3.x is the production series - based on JMX microkernel and service-oriented architecture (May 2002)
  • Version 4.x explores the aspect-oriented middleware services, adds support for EJB 3 (September 2004)
  • Version 5.x comes with JBoss Microcontainer (also a stand-alone project) and replaces JMX Microkernel of the 3.x and 4.x JBoss series (December 2008)
  • Version 6.x to add support for Java EE 6 APIs and Profiles. Replaces JBoss Messaging with HornetQ (6.0.0.M3 released in April 2010)

2.3. Highlights of JBoss AS

  • Enterprise-class reliability, performance, scalability, and high-availability
  • Zero-cost product license, to download, use, embed, and distribute
  • Open-source
  • Built for standards - provides a safe choice for portable applications (interoperable)
  • Service-oriented architecture provides consistency, makes it embeddable
  • Aspect-oriented architecture simplifies interaction with middleware services
  • 24x7 professional support by the core development team
  • Active developer community
  • Over 5 million downloads
  • 25+% market share

JBoss AS 5 has passed the Java EE 5 Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) test suite (100%).

2.4. What is new in JBoss AS 5?

  • New kernel ⇒ JBoss Microcontainer

    • is a refactoring of old JMX Microkernel (JBoss AS 3.x and 4.x)
    • the core of JBoss AS 5
  • New messaging provider ⇒ JBoss Messaging

    • Replaces old JBossMQ (shipped with JBoss AS 4.x series)
  • One of the first application servers to implement EJB 3.0 specification (dating back to 4.x series)
  • Reliable transaction manager ⇒ JBoss TS

    • more than 20 years of expertise in transaction management
  • JBoss Web based on Apache Tomcat 6.0
  • JBoss WS 3.0 (support for JAX-WS/JAX-RPC)

    • can be replaced by Sun Metro or Apache CXF for example
  • Two new configurations:

    • standard: Java EE compliant configuration.
    • web: provides support for JTA/JCA and JPA in addition to the Servlet/JSP container. The server can only be accessed through the http port.

2.5. JBoss AS Architecture

"JBoss AS is assembled from a set of independent, yet cooperating components and services that are neatly packaged and fully hot-deployable. It is architected to be seamlessly embeddable in applications, and the nature of its embedding is completely customizable to the requirements of the application itself. Only the critical and necessary application server components, therefore, need to be brought along as part of the application’s baseline footprint. Developers can also easily create and add their own services to the system, thus ensuring that custom services exhibit the same consistent behavior as the JBoss standard set of services."

Figure 2. JBoss AS 4.x Architecture


Figure 3. JBoss AS 5.x Architecture


2.6. JBoss Microcontainer Layer

JBoss Microcontainer is an inversion of control (IoC) framework. IoC frameworks let you create, configure and wire up simple Java objects (POJOs). Classes don’t need special coding to be usable. The objects created usualy represent the modules of your application.

  • Replaces JMX-based Microkernel, though still supports all JMX Microkernel features
  • IoC framework similar to Spring IoC
  • POJO based kernel (no need for Standard/XMBean or MBeanProxy)
  • Simplified and improved lifecycle management
  • Additional control over dependencies
  • Transparent AOP integration
  • Virtual File System (VFS)
  • Virtual Deployment Framework
  • OSGi class-loading

2.7. Services Layer

  • Service-oriented architecture - service is either defined as a POJO or a JMX Managed Bean (use the JMX kernel, still available in JBoss 5.x but is created by JBoss Microcontainer).
  • Services are hot-pluggable
  • Makes it possible to tune the system for just the required services to lower the overall footprint (easier to secure and tune)
  • Easy to define new services and package them as SARs (service archives) or JARs (Java ARchives)
  • Examples: Servlet/JSP container, EJB container, transaction management, messaging, connection pooling, security etc.

2.8. Aspect Layer

Increase the modularity of an application by allowing the separation of cross-cutting concerns (e.g logging is often required in many parts of your application).

  • Based on aspect-oriented programming model (AOP)
  • Defines cross-cutting simple-to-use services
  • Makes it possible to add object persistence, caching, replication, remoteness, security, etc. late in the development cycle by annotating existing plain-old-java-objects (a.k.a POJOs)

Available since JBoss AS 4

2.9. Application Layer

  • This is where Java EE applications reside
  • This layer deals with the business logic while leaving the container services up to JBoss AS
  • Portable - Independent of JBoss AS

2.10. JBoss AS Services

  • JBoss Microcontainer - POJOs services container
  • JBoss Microkernel - JMX MBean server (One of the primary POJOs created by JBoss Microcontainer)
  • Aspect-oriented Framework
  • Web Application Services - based on Tomcat (Servlet, JSP, JSF)
  • Enterprise Services: EJB, ORB, JNDI, JTA
  • Web Services - based on SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, and XML
  • Messaging Services: JMS, JDBC, JCA
  • Persistence Services - Hibernate O/R mapping and transparent persistence
  • HA Services: clustering, fail-over, load-balancing, distributed deployments
  • Security Services - based on JAAS
  • Console Services - monitoring, configuration, deployment, management, lifecycle

2.11. JBoss AS Requirements

JBoss 3.2.x JBoss 4.x JBoss 5.x

Java (JDK)





Any Java-compliant

Any Java-compliant

Any Java-compliant

Memory - RAM












DB (Optional)

Any JDBC-Compliant

Any JDBC-Compliant

Any JDBC-Compliant


JBoss AS 5.x requires at least Java SE 5 and can run on Java SE 6 (though this is a separate download). Run java -version to find out if you already have Java installed, and if so, which version of the JVM. JBoss AS does not require the JDK (thanks to the embedded JDT compiler that can be used to compile JSPs), so JRE is sufficient in production environments. With that said, having the extra JDK tools available on the system is recommended. Verify that you have the JDK installed by running javac -version .