Note: This page was written when the 3.x family had initially no support for clustering, centralized admin, etc... Since the release of GlassFish 3.1 in February 2011, there is really little to no reason for staying with GlassFish 2.1.1 for new development. GlassFish 3.1.x offers enhanced clustering capabilities and full Java EE 6 support on top of its modular kernel.

Comparing GlassFish Open Source Edition versions 2.x and 3.0.x

Which one should I use?

Both GlassFish version 2.1.1 and 3.0.1 are production-ready distributions. Choosing one is mainly based on the features that you need for your particular deployment scenario. If you need clustering, high availability and complete Java EE 5 specification support, choose GlassFish version 2.1.1. If you need Java EE 6 support, leading edge web application technologies, web services and scripting, modular architecture, choose GlassFish version 3.0.1. A rare case for GlassFish 2.1.1 would be the use of Java CAPS or OpenESB as well as SailFin, neither of which exist in a stable form on GlassFish 3.x. Check with the appropriate community to get the latest status.

For users of earlier v3 Prelude, v3 Preview and v3 final releases, we highly recommend you upgrade to version 3.1.1 and get the latest features and bug fixes.
See the following Feature Comparison Table below for more information.

GlassFish version 2.1.1 and 3.0.1 Feature Comparison Table

Feature

GlassFish
version 2.1.x

GlassFish
version 3.0.x

Date Released

version 2.1.1 released in
October 2009

version 3.0.1 released in
June 2010

Commercial Support Available

X

X

Comprehensive platform support : Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux, RHEL, SLES, Windows, Ubuntu [1], MacOS X [1], HP-UX, AIX, JRockit JVM, Oracle VM, Solaris containers, etc...

X
See supported platforms

X
See supported platforms

SailFin (Telco Application Server)

X

Java Platform, Enterprise Edition

Java Compatible, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) Certified

Java EE 5 certified
Java EE 6 certified [2]

Web Application and Service Technologies

Java Web Technologies

Servlet 2.5
JSP 2.1, JSF 1.2

Servlet 3.0
JSP 2.2, JSF 2.0

Metro Web Services Stack

.NET 3.0
Web Services Interoperability

.NET 3.5
Web Services Interoperability

Next Generation Web

jMaki (Ajax Framework)

X[4]

X[4]

Jersey / JAX-RS (RESTful Web Services)

JAX-RS 1.0

JAX-RS 1.1

Administration

Admin Console and CLI (Centralized Administration)

X

X

JMX

X

X

Node Agent & Cluster Mgmt

X


Upgrade Tool

X

X

RESTful admin API


X

Web Profile install bundle [5]


X [5]

Enhanced monitoring (btrace, dtrace)


X

Client

Application Client Container

X

X

Java WebStart support

X

X

Enterprise Application Technologies

Java DB, JDBC Connection Pooling

Java DB 10.4.2.1

Java DB 10.5.3.0

JTA 1.1/JTS 1.0

X

X

J2EE Connector Architecture

Connectors 1.5

Connectors 1.6

Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB)

EJB 3.0

EJB 3.1

JMS 1.1

X

X

Java Pertistence API (JPA)

JPA 1.0
(TopLink)

JPA 2.0
(EclipseLink)

Scripting

jRuby/Rails Web Archive (.war) deployment

X

X

“Native” jRuby/Rails deployment – without need for Servlet container


X

Dynamic resizing of jRuby Runtime Pool


X

Groovy/Grails


X [4]

Early Jython/Django support


X [4]

Developer Tools

NetBeans IDE

X[6]

X[6]

Eclipse IDE

X

X

Rapid Redeployment - Maintain session state on application redeploy


X

Update Center

X

X

Update Center integration with Administration Console


X

Verification Tools

X


Image Packaging System (IPS) Tools


X

Framework Technologies

Grizzly (Java NIO)

1.0.34

1.9.18

Comet (HTTP Push)

X

X

CORBA

X

X

Modular Architecture Based on OSGi


X

GlassFish Embedded


X

Extend GlassFish Functionality (Extensibility APIs)
(Administration Console, asadmin CLI utility, more)


X

System/Performance Technologies

Clustering

X

X[3]

Load Balancer Plugin

X


Centralized Administration of Load Balancer Plugin Configuration

X


High Availability

X


Integration

Integration with Identity Manager, Access Manager (OpenSSO), Registry Server, and Java Business Integration (OpenESB)

X



[1] Developer support only.
[2] GlassFish 3.0.1 will also run Java Enterprise, Enterprise Edition 5 applications.
[3] Basic clustering support using mod_jk.
[4] Located in GlassFish Update Center. Download features using graphical "updatetool", or through GlassFish 3 administration console.
[5] GlassFish 3.0.1 comes in the form of either the web profile or the full Java EE profile. The updatetool lets you upgrade or downgrade to the desired feature set.
[6] Supported in NetBeans 6.9