Sun Microsystems has launched the second major version of its GlassFish open-source application server, adding enterprise-class features like clustering and central administration to the software.

GlassFish V2, which is available now, was built to provide companies with an open-source option for high-end application servers, said John Clingan, Sun's application server group product manager.

"With GlassFish V2, we're offering advanced features required for production uses such as clustering ... and advanced and centralised administration," he said. "From a single point of control, administrators can grow or shrink the size of a cluster. We have best-in-class performance."

V2's clustering support will allow companies to group servers for scalability and to replicate data in-memory for fail-over protection and high availability, Clingan added. It also allows administrators to manage application server clusters from a centralised console, he said.

This new version also includes support for interoperability between Web services running on Java and Windows technology.

In addition, Sun announced significant price cuts for its supported version of GlassFish V2 - Sun Java System Applications Server 9.1. Sun said Version 9.1 carries a price tag of $4,500 for a bundle of four sockets compared to $10,000 per socket plus $2,000 for support for the earlier version.

"A lot of enterprises are looking to open source to reduce costs and gain access to innovation more quickly," Clingan said. "We want to take price out the equation as they evaluate open-source application servers

Sun today also began shipping a beta version of the NetBeans 6.0 IDE. The new version adds a new editor and support for dynamic languages, including Ruby and JavaScript. With 6.0, developers can use Ruby on Rails with existing Java code, said Gregg Sporar, Sun's NetBeans evangelist.