The Application Pool feature of IIS allows to run several applications each separated to each own isolated processes.
Is there any equivalent in Tomcat? Or do I have to deploy Tomcat several times to achieve that functionality?
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Tomcat runs under one single JVM. This means that there can be one (and only one) process per single Tomcat instance.
If you deploy multiple apps into the same Tomcat, they will run within the same JVM and will share the same address space. There will be different classloaders for each webapp though.
If you need multiple processes, you need to run multiple Tomcat instances.
P.S. you can look at this SO post which addresses similar question.