Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR), a leading provider of research and analysis on the Internet and current technologies, announced today that iPlanet’s Application Server 6.0 is currently first place in Forrester’s Application Servers TechRankings. Among 11 products from 10 participating vendors, IBM’s WebSphere Advanced Edition 3.5 is in second place, followed by SilverStream’s third-place Application Server 3.7.

“Many people think that the application server market is a done deal, but we found vendors solving the same problem in different ways. Users still have a difficult decision to make,” said Chris Dial, associate analyst at Forrester and principal researcher for this TechRankings category. “Performance, reliability, and integrator partnerships are key requirements for application servers, while the new J2EE platform, development tools, and adapters for back-end systems are the product features of choice. Although no app server vendor meets all these needs, iPlanet, IBM, and SilverStream offer the best solutions today.”

iPlanet’s Application Server 6.0 currently holds first place with a score of 3.3 out of 5.0. It receives high marks for its high-performance, scalable, and reliable architecture. The product’s development environment has tools for building presentation and business objects, as well as integration tools for building EJBs and servlets. Forrester believes that iPlanet’s backing by Sun and its strong partnerships with integrators will propel this product through the marketplace.

Second-place WebSphere, the centerpiece of IBM’s eBusiness product line, has an overall score of 3.1. IBM’s product runs on its heavy-duty platforms like AIX and OS/390, and users can shop the IBM store to pick up other infrastructure that they will need for their sites, such as IBM’s MQSeries and TXSeries. But users will have to turn to other vendors to integrate WebSphere with their existing infrastructure, like third-party transaction processors, message queues, and EAI software.

SilverStream’s Application Server 3.7, currently in third place with a score of 3.0, offers one of the most full-featured development environments on the market, including useful tools for designing and modeling object applications. The vendor is developing strong partnerships with integrators and is expanding its worldwide presence. But its application server doesn’t have many adapters for third-party transaction monitors, message queues, or EAI software, so companies will have a difficult time integrating the server with existing infrastructure.

“Technology specialists that invented app servers are now overshadowed by infrastructure heavyweights,” said David Truog, research director at Forrester. “Sixty-four percent of the companies we interviewed said that they have an application server standard — but half are buying app servers from more than one vendor. The market is clearly still in turmoil, and innovation won’t slow down as user companies look for support to build apps for their mobile and global constituencies.”

As of December 21, 2000, the following vendors were ranked by Forrester in its Application Servers TechRankings research: Allaire, ATG, Brokat, IBM, Inprise, iPlanet, Lutris, Microsoft, SilverStream, and Sybase.

Forrester assesses each application server’s features and capabilities and each vendor’s strategy and market support. Forrester works with its partner, Doculabs (, to conduct laboratory-based product testing and assessment for each vendor on more than 100 attributes, then presents the analysis via an interactive research database. TechRankings’ research methodology combines rigorous product testing and market analysis with vendor and user interviews. Forrester continuously updates its research and re-evaluates products to help firms understand rapidly changing technology markets, accelerate and improve product selection, and effectively gauge implementation costs and effort.

Later this month, Forrester will announce leaders in its Customer Service Applications TechRankings. Since November 2000, TechRankings has evaluated technology solutions in the application servers, content management, and commerce platforms categories.

Forrester’s eBusiness TechRankings methodology is open, rigorous, and unbiased. TechRankings combines the results of hands-on lab tests, strategic market analysis, and in-depth research into the needs of technology users. Forrester does not charge vendors in any way to participate in TechRankings, and it tests and analyzes all products with Doculabs in a given category using identical, publicly available criteria. Forrester extensively checks and verifies results and updates the research and rankings monthly. Any vendor wishing to be ranked may apply by contacting Forrester’s TechRankings research team at