The Java EE 5 Tutorial

What Is a Group?

A group is a set of authenticated users, classified by common traits, defined in the Application Server.

A Java EE user of the file realm can belong to an Application Server group. (A user in the certificate realm cannot.) An Application Server group is a category of users classified by common traits, such as job title or customer profile. For example, most customers of an e-commerce application might belong to the CUSTOMER group, but the big spenders would belong to the PREFERRED group. Categorizing users into groups makes it easier to control the access of large numbers of users.

An Application Server group has a different scope from a role. An Application Server group is designated for the entire Application Server, whereas a role is associated only with a specific application in the Application Server.