In this interview we speak to Ramesh Loganathan, VP Engineering at Pramati technologies. Ramesh heads the product development at Pramati.
Ramesh speaks about Pramati’s origins in India and how it has moved on to being one of the top application server vendors in the world. Ramesh answers the all important question of why you should buy the Pramati server over the competition and also gives us an overview of the new features in Pramati’s latest offering, Pramati Server version 4.1.
Ramesh also shares his views on J2EE complexity, SOA, enterprise integration and the evolving J2EE specifications.
IndicThreads >> Welcome Ramesh! I am glad to have u on IndicThreads. Could u please introduce yourself to IndicThreads members?
“My personal high was
when we got the J2EE 1.3 certification
just a week ahead of IBM“
Ramesh Loganathan >> I head Product Development at Pramati Technologies. Have 15 years of experience mostly in Products (Database Servers- Acto-Norway/Integra-Bangalore and Informix-USA) and multi-tier architectures. Have managed the Product lines at Pramati since early 2000. This includes Server, Studio, DesignViewer and some custom Tools. My personal high was when we got the J2EE 1.3 certification just a week ahead of IBM and the attention we got during the Ecperf benchmark submissions in 2002. Which was very well summarized in the ServerSide.com cartoon- http://www.theserverside.com/discussions/thread.tss?thread_id=15548
IndicThreads >> Great. Pramati has been one of the top J2EE app server providers for quite a while and one of the few product companies from India that are doing well globally. I am sure the readers would be keen to know more about the origins of Pramati. Can u share some info on this?
Ramesh Loganathan >> Our founders are Jay Pullur (CEO) and Vijay Prasanna (CTO). Both had a good long stint in services- mostly on Systems software- before realizing that most companies were ignoring the latent potential in IP creation. Started the company in 1997. The first product was to Java-enable-HTML- much like what JSP is today. IN 1999 with the traction the Java standards were gaining, decided to get into standards. At JavaOne 1999 we were one of just three companies with an EJB implementation. Had the complete J2EE stack at JavaOne 2000 and at JavaOne 2001 we were the only one with an EJB2.0 implementation.
“At JavaOne 2001,
we were the only one with
an EJB 2.0 implementation“
Since inception, the focus was on the complete-product and the user-experience. Even when we were just a 6-person company, we had an Usability & graphics designer as part of the team. With near-zero expertise available in various aspects of Product Development from Design approaches to Configuration management, Processes, Documentation and Collateral, we built all the capabilities in-house. We now have end-to-end expertise, design/architecture insights, processes, and systems for building products.
“One of our key accomplishments
is that we have managed
to stay, thru the downturn“
IndicThreads >> Pramati is in a tough and competitive market. What do u think is the key to Pramati competing successfully with the big boys like IBM and Oracle?
Ramesh Loganathan >> While we have attained decent traction in the market and very good visibility as a technology player, we still have some way to go before we can claim “success”. That said, I feel one of our key accomplishments is that we have managed to stay, thru the downturn, in the App Server space where almost all small players have got wiped out and even among the remaining large corporations, many are struggling.
In the standards space, the vision set for the product was to differentiate in Performance and Management. We have consistently worked on realizing this. Our Management solution and its architecture is one of the best in the App Server space- which includes the web-based console, declaratively customizable console pages, Enterprise dashboard, Alert framework, low-cost Statistics framework and the Diagnostics/Profiling framework.
“In the standards space, the vision set for the product
was to differentiate in Performance and Management.
We have consistently worked on realizing this.“
IndicThreads >> What are your thoughts on open source servers like JBoss and Apache Geronimo? Do u think they are a major threat to commercial app servers like Pramati?
Ramesh Loganathan >> While they surely did drive down the value proposition that the large players could communicate, did not affect us much. We have always played in a space where our USPs- of being a Tech player with good products and great support- are recognized. We are able to consistently differentiate ourselves from both- the Open-Source implementations, as well as the Weblogics and Webspheres.
IndicThreads >> You recently released Pramati Server 4.1. What are the striking features of this new release?
Ramesh Loganathan >> Ease of Migration from other Servers, Better management, the New Flash based Enterprise Dashboard, and increased robustness. The Enterprise dashboard in particular is pretty cool. It has a flash based UI with a completely customizable backend. Few XMLs determine the layout, the information shown, and the backend instrumentation. The framework is also generic enough to be usable in other applications/solutions outside of our Server administration.
Pramati 4.1 offers:
“Ease of Migration from other Servers,
the New Flash based Enterprise Dashboard,
and increased robustness“
IndicThreads >> The new dashboard does look neat. What about IDEs? IBM has WSAD that simplifies working with WebSphere server, Oracle has JDeveloper and so on. Despite Pramati Studio, Pramati as yet does not have much of an IDE presence. What is the IDE future for Pramati?
Ramesh Loganathan >> Pramati Studio compares with the best in the Java+J2EE space. We don’t have a strong presence in the IDE space due to our focus in select segments. (Haven’t taken out huge campaigns yet). Watch out for some developments in the near future.
IndicThreads >> Your customer list has a number of Indian clients. Does Pramati have something special for Indian companies?
Ramesh Loganathan >> The space we are in is highly standardized. We can offer everything that Weblogic or Websphere can offer and vice-versa. In this space, our differentiators of Performance, Management and Tech-Support is equally valid in all regions- be it US, India or elsewhere. Being the only vendor with the backoffice & R&D based in India, we can certainly offer better turn-arounds on Support issues and any Integration requirements/Enhancements . This is an aspect that all our partners and customers greatly appreciate. More so in India, as it is much more difficult to get good effective & timely support from major vendors in India.
“We can offer everything
that Weblogic or Websphere
can offer and vice-versa“
IndicThreads >> I am sure many IndicThreads readers are at least evaluators if not app server decision makers. Why do you think they should try and more importantly ‘buy’ the Pramati server?
Ramesh Loganathan >> J2EE is extremely standards driven. So the basic runtime functional behaviour is assured to be the same across all compliant J2EE Server implementations. The difference would be in the architecture, performance, robustness, and manageability. One indication of Pramati Server’s agility is its lean and mean design. The same functionality with comparable/better performance and much better management capabilities is provided with much lesser CPU, memory & storage requirements. The other difference is the management. Pramati Server’s management capabilities are much better than the competition. From the powerful server and remote shells to the web based admin console, powerful statistics & diagnostics, distributed non-master-slave admin service (comparable to Management Domains in other servers) and the powerful Deploy Tool that hides the complexities of the deployment XMLs.
In short, the reasons to buy- Product as good as other leading vendors, a technology pioneer (we have been at the forefront of J2EE since 1999), great performance, extensive management solutions and great support.
IndicThreads >> Are you happy with the way Java and J2EE is progressing? Do u think J2EE is perhaps getting a little too complex for human brains?
Ramesh Loganathan >>A middle-tier/App Server space is inherently complex. Fortunately, in the J2EE space, the runtime complexities are hidden from the development paradigm. The development model is clear with good separation of roles. Reuse is the mantra thru-out- whether in the OOPs tint, the Biz components model of EJBs or the “customizable behaviour” of standard componenets allowed by the package XMLs and the deployment descriptors. As a comprehensive Application development model and runtime platform, it is just tremendous. There is no other platform/technology that has come anywhere close (save- .NET, and as a technology probably CORBA- even if infinitely more complex).
About complexity: Sure, the Entity Beans have ended up being quite complex, with serious limitations. But these don’t entirely impede the adoption- there are simple workarounds. And even this is well addressed by the EJB3.0 spec.
IndicThreads >> Do u see any upcoming Java technologies that can make a real impact and which all Java enthusiasts should be aware / excited about?
Ramesh Loganathan >> With J2EE 1.4 Web Services is now inherent part of the platform. (Even though it was quite simple to use Web Services even with J2EE 1.3). The space to watch is now in the Enterprise Integration and SOA.
“The space to watch
is now in the Enterprise Integration
ESB is a technology that is gaining good momentum. Standards are evolving here- like the Java Business Integration standard. Most Enterprises and CIOs are now inclining towards SOA concepts to be adopted-to ensure that service orientation is considered ground up rather than retro-fit. While the basic application design may not be affected, like say in J2EE the app will still be a normal J2EE application, the key consideration is in the inter-application interactions. Even if at the time of designing an application there are no interactions expected, keeping SOA in mind would ensure there are course-grained biz-components with well defined biz-functionality that are defined as the facades. Which incidentally, is not exactly a new design pattern in the J2EE space! But gaining lot more visibility and purpose beyond the individual applications. From a biz-process standpoint that will span several such applications & services. Spanning heterogeneous platforms and environments.
IndicThreads >>Anything else you wish to share with IndicThreads readers?
Ramesh Loganathan >> Do check out Pramati Server, Pramati Studio and Pramati DesignViewer. Great products for J2EE!
IndicThreads >> Thanks Ramesh. I wish you and Pramati the very best.
Ramesh Loganathan >> Thanks, And, greatly appreciate this opportunity to share our views.