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Caucho's Resin Application Server Grew by a Factor of Almost Ten Last Year According to Netcraft

by Charles Humble on Feb 22, 2012 |

Resin, the web server and Java application server from Caucho Technology, is getting some media attention at the moment, with both Netcraft and Gartner talking about the product. Caucho has  been in business for more than 14 years, and has built up a relatively large install base for Resin including Bebo,CNET, Motorola, Salesforce.com and Openwave.

A report from Netcraft, who surveyed more than 612 million sites, states

The Resin application server has been experiencing strong growth over the past 12 months; seeing an almost tenfold growth from 480k hostnames in February 2011 to 4.7M or 0.77% of the market in February 2012.

A corollary is that the firm is seeing a similar rise in interest levels "through conferences, enquiries and increased deployments (sales)," Scott Ferguson,  Chief Architect of Resin told us.

Caucho certified Resin as compliant with the Java EE 6 Web Profile in the middle of 2011, and this has been received positively in the market, according to the vendor. However

...more important than the certification is the ability the web profile has given us to focus more tightly on our customers' needs. For example, instead of spending time on some of the more obscure enterprise features outside the web profile, we've been able to improve our health and monitoring capabilities, our cloud deployments, and performance.

Caucho also make strong claims for Resin's performance, stating that Quercus, their Java based PHP engine, is faster than standard PHP, and that the web server is faster than Apache httpd.  These claims are mostly based on internal benchmarks though the firm plans on publishing more of these.

We've been focusing on competing with nginx on performance, since beating nginx is more of a challenge than beating Apache httpd. Currently, we're faster than nginx in some cases and slower in others, so we're not quite there yet, but it's the challenge that makes the engineering fun.

Resin's core networking library is written in highly optimized C. Java is the OOP layer that allows Resin to be full featured. C is what allows Resin to be fast. On top of this layer we build our distributed caching, clustering, session replication, servlet engine, etc.
 
C gives us speed. Java gives us OOP and structure to build complex systems.

Meanwhile Gartner's September 2011 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Application Servers has the vendor in the "Visionaries" quadrant, which the analyst firm describes as "relatively small innovators that invested in excelling with highly differentiated variations of EAS offerings, usually at the expense of a lesser breadth of the total offering, compared with established, comprehensive products."

Gartner's broadly positive assessment of the firm does state that

Underfunded marketing holds back the ability of the company to grow its EAS market mind share, leaving most market share and name recognition growth to the word-of-mouth strategy, where the company's market penetration trails behind Apache Tomcat and Mortbay's Jetty.

"We don't disagree with Gartner's criticism," Ferguson told us, "but we're just more interested in making a better product, and exploring leading technologies like WebSockets, than spending too much of our time marketing. One of the perks of being a privately-held company is that we can be engineering-quirky."

Resin is provided in two versions, Resin Professional, which costs $699 per CPU (up to 4-cores/CPU), and Resin Open Source (licensed under GPL). The major difference between Resin Professional and Resin Open Source are support, clustering and administration. The product can be downloaded here.

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