Finally, the third view covered in this chapter is that of the WebSphere environment technology stack. In other words, this view presents which technologies from the operating system to the WebSphere Application product are involved, highlighting the aspects related to security. This view is broken down into three categories, which are described in the following paragraphs. The stack and its categories are depicted in the diagram shown in the next sub-section.
At the bottom of the stack there are the primitive technologies. The term primitive in this context does not carry the meaning of backward, but rather that of foundation technologies. In the following diagram, the rectangular (bright green) area located at the bottom of the stack represents the OS platform layer.
In this layer, the presence of the underlying operating system can be observed. In the end, it is the responsibility of the OS to provide the low-level resources needed by the WebSphere environment. Furthermore, it is also its responsibility to enforce any security policies required on such resources. Two of the more prominent OS components as they relate to a WebSphere environment are the file system and the networking infrastructure. Both the file systems and the networking infrastructure are handlers of special resources.
The next layer in this architecture is that of the Java technology. This layer comprehends the core Java technologies and APIs used within the WebSphere environment. In the previous diagram, the layer is represented by the rectangle (teal) in the middle of the stack.
The layer is further broken down into three distinct groups among the Java stack. At the bottom sit the foundational bricks. The Java Virtual Machine and the Java Language Specification. The JVM is the enabler whereas the Language Specification lays down basic and general rules that must obeyed by the entities that will populate the JVM.
The middle brick of this layer is that of Java 2 Security. It includes more sophisticated rules that will enable entities in the JVM to achieve more complex behaviors in harmony with the rest of the inhabitants.
Finally, at the top of this layer there is the J2EE Security brick. It brings additional enablers to the JVM and rules that must be followed by the entities that populate these remote areas of the Java galaxy.
In other words, the WebSphere high-level security layer offers conduits using a number of technologies such as LTPA, Kerberos, and so on, that make the WebSphere environment more robust. This layer is represented in the previous diagram by the rectangle (maroon) located at the top.
In general, the number of technologies supported by this layer as well as the implementation version of such technologies is one of the aspects that make up each new WebSphere release.
One of the main benefits of the technology stack view is that it helps WebSphere practitioners involved in various roles to map the various technologies included in this stack to the functional blocks that make up the other two views. Some practitioners will benefit by selecting the most appropriate subset among the classes offered by the WebSphere environment to implement a required functionality. Other practitioners will benefit by integrating into the WebSphere environment the best infrastructure component that will help to enable a piece of functionality required by a hosted application.