IBM has officially announced the next version of WebSphere: 6.1. This new version will run on the latest IBM Java 5 run-time (still J2EE 1.4 compliant) and has several Web Services improvements. Other interesting new stuff is support for SIP Servlets and Portlets right in the application server. On the security department things have enhanced quite a bit as well, having a more secure configuration by default and out-of-the-box support for Windows Integrated Authentication (aka SPNEGO)! WebSphere will be available for download at May 26 and is GA at June 30.
IBM also announced the next version of Rational/WebSphere development tools for the second half of this year. As the old WebSphere Studio Application Developer 5.1 will be out of service by September 30 2006, this could be a good time to upgrade. WebSphere Application Server 5.0 users may watch this date too, because that product will then go out of service as well.