The J2EE Application model, as shown in the following figure, is very flexible; allowing the application architect to split application logic functionally into many tiers. The presentation layer is typically implemented using servlets and JSP technology and executes in the web container.
Moderately complex enterprise applications can be developed entirely using servlets and JSP technology. More complex business applications often use Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) components. The Application Server integrates the web and EJB containers in a single process. Local access to EJB components from servlets is very efficient. However, some application deployments may require EJB components to execute in a separate process; and be accessible from standalone client applications as well as servlets. Based on the application architecture, the server administrator can employ the Application Server in multiple tiers, or simply host both the presentation and business logic on a single tier.
It is important to understand the application architecture before designing a new Application Server deployment, and when deploying a new business application to an existing application server deployment.