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Q:   My company doesn`t build management products, is there any reason we should be looking into the Java Management extensions ("JMX") specification?
A:   If your company builds applications or devices that would benefit from being manageable then the answer is yes. Making these elements manageable increases their value to yourself and your clients. It makes them easier to install, configure, and maintain. And because is relatively easy to do, making your products manageable through JMX technology is something you should definitely consider.
Q:   Why shouldn`t I just use existing, say SNMP, agent kits to instrument my Java technology-based functions?

JMX technology is native to the Java programming language. As such, it offers extremely efficient, lightweight, and natural management extensions to Java technology-based functions. One might say that, thru JMX technology, Java technology-based components can "inherit" manageability from the environment in which they were built and execute.

Note further, that JMX specification compliant implementations such as Sun`s Java Dynamic Management Kit (Java DMK) can present an SNMP conformant interface to the outside world through facilities that are called tooling. Tooling can be delivered by JMX specification compliant implementations as optional utilities that are not part of the formal JMX specification. Note that Sun`s Java DMK supported product enables several forms of management such as SNMP and HTTP.
Q:   How difficult is JMX technology to use? What`s the learning curve?
A:   If you want to use JMX technology to instrument your applications or devices for manageability it`s actually quite simple. JMX technology is a Java platform extension and shares Java technology`s component model, object model, and many other aspects of standard Java technology. If you know the Java programming language and are familiar with the JavaBeans component architecture model, then you already know 95% of all you need to.
Q:   Many management platform providers also provide frameworks for building agents. How is JMX technology positioned with respect to these products?
A:   JMX technology applies to Java technology-based managed resources. JMX technology is positioned as THE way to instrument any function that has been built using Java technology. This represents a significant benefit to all users of the Java platform for developing embedded, commercial or enterprise software--the platform not only provides excellent facilities for creation but also a single coherent framework for management. Thus, for example, router manufacturers can create embedded Java technology functionality that naturally and efficiently implements JMX specification compliant manageability --- and this manageability is compatible with any JMX specification compliant management platform. The concept of specific integration with specific management platforms becomes obsolete.
Q:   My applications consist of different Java technology-based components ("Java components"), JavaBeans, servlets, and Enterprise JavaBeans architecture components ("EJB Components"). Can I manage all of them with JMX technology?
A:   Yes, JMX technology APIs can be invoked from any Java Virtual Machine and any Java technology-based program. You can instrument your application for management with JMX such that it is transparent what type of Java component is actually `doing the work`. You simply expose the appropriate application management interfaces accross your application implementation.


Q:   What will it cost to adopt the JMX specification as my standard for instrumenting Java technology-based functions?
A:   The JMX specification is being developed according to the Java Community Process, and will comprise a separate package for each tier of the management architecture. The Instrumentation tier will be absolutely free. Other tiers can be built from the public specifications or from reference implementations available under Sun Community Source License. Alternatively, you can purchase commercially supported products such as Sun`s Java Dynamic Management Kit (Java DMK), that also offer more tools for developing and deploying management solutions. See Sun for Java DMK licensing information.
Q:   What will be the cost of maintaining a management solution based on JMX technology?
A:   Because JMX technology is an extension of standard Java technology, the costs associated with training new staff to maintain a JMX technology-based solution is minimal. Also, because of their distributed nature, JMX implementations can distribute the cost of development and maintenance across the stakeholders of distributed systems.

I want to supply my own stand alone application manager, but I want my application managable by enterprise managers too. Can I solve both of these problems with JMX technology?

Yes, and you even have choices on how to do this. You can instrument manageability in your application with JMX technology. Your application manager can use its own JMX technology adapter to manage the application - the same way the enterprise managers do! Alternatively, your application manager can expose the managed resources and management interfaces to JMX on behalf of your entire application. Obviously, with JMX technology, you can have the best of both worlds.


Q:   What impact will JMX technology have on distributed computing?
A:   We think that JMX technology will have a significant impact on the proliferation of distributed computing. Java technology is already leading the way in distributed computing. One of the greatest remaining challenges, however, is the inherent complexity of distributed computing. JMX technology addresses this particular issue head on. And because it is an extension of the Java platform, the tools needed to address these problems will be readily available to developers in this field.
Q:   How is JMX technology positioned with respect to existing enterprise management platforms from companies such as Bull, Computer Associates and IBM/Tivoli?
A:   JMX technology represents a standard framework for instrumentation and management of Java technology-based resources. Enterprise management platforms such as OpenMaster, Unicenter, and TMS can leverage JMX technology to manage Java technology-based resources that are JMX specification compliant. JMX technology is the window through which all management platforms gain visibility into the growing world of Java technology-based applications-- embedded, telco, or enterprise.
Q:   Is JMX technology only available in large Java virtual machines for the Enterprise?
A:   JMX technology can be used in ANY implementation of Sun`s Java Virtual Machine specification - embedded to enterprise - that supports the Java SE platform. This means that your manageability is portable across platforms with the Java programming language as well as portable across Java technology-based environments with JMX technology.
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