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Difference between Glassfish and Tomcat

Main difference

Tomcat is simply an HTTP server and a Java servlet container. Glassfish are full-blown Java EE application servers, including an EJB container and all the other features of that stack. Tomcat has a lighter memory footprint (~ 60-70MB), whereas those Java EE servers weigh hundreds of megabytes. Tomcat is very popular for web applications or simple applications using frameworks like Spring that do not require a full Java EE server. Comparatively, Tomcat server administration is easier than Glassfish administration since there are fewer moving parts in Tomcat.

What is Glassfish?

Glassfish are full-blown Java EE application servers, including an EJB container and all the other features of that stack. It comes from Oracle and therefore each and every new spec will be tested and implemented with Glassfish first.

What is Tomcat?

Tomcat is simply an HTTP server and a Java servlet container. It is run by the Apache community. Tomcat is open source and free. It supports all Java EE technologies. It is not supported by any commercial support, only supported by the community.

Key differences

  1. Tomcat is simply an HTTP server and a Java servlet container. Glassfish are full-blown Java EE application servers, including an EJB container and all the other features of that stack.
  2. Tomcat has a lighter memory footprint compared to Glassfish.
  3. Tomcat has a 60-70MB memory footprint, while those Java EE servers weigh in the hundreds of Megas.
  4. Tomcat is very popular for simple web applications compared to Glassfish.
  5. Comparatively, Tomcat server administration is easier than Glassfish administration since there are fewer moving parts in Tomcat.
  6. Both Tomcat and Glassfish are open source and free, but have different licenses.
  7. Glassfish is dual licensed while Tomcat is single licensed.
  8. Tomcat uses the Apache license, while Glassfish is licensed CDDL and GPL.

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