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DCHQ 2016 Predictions: Java Developers Will Be Heroes - Again

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Amjad Afanah, founder and CEO of DCHQ

Java Developers Will Be Heroes — Again

There is no doubt that the disrupting effects of  "containerization" have led to faster application development and more efficient use of compute resources for many application projects at growing startups or even larger enterprises.

Most of the success stories around containers, however, have focused on new, or "greenfield" applications that are typically built on Node.js, Ruby on Rails or PHP. The underserved Java developers, on the other hand, continue to maintain many of the existing mission-critical "brown-field" applications and are still confused as to how containers can be part of their projects.

Containerizing enterprise Java applications is still a challenge mostly because existing application composition frameworks do not address complex dependencies, external integrations or auto-scaling workflows post-provision. Moreover, the ephemeral design of containers means that developers have to spin up new containers and re-create the complex dependencies and external integrations with every version update. This presents a huge deviation from the existing development workflows that Java developers are using, which are all centralized around creating and refreshing the Java WAR file in already running applications.

With new approaches that help developers move to containers without changing their development processes, Java developers can be the new heroes in their organizations. Some technologies (ours, for example) simplify the containerization of enterprise Java applications through an application composition framework that extends Docker Compose with cross-image environment variable bindings and extensible BASH script plug-ins. These can be invoked at request time or post-provision, with goodies like application clustering for high availability across multiple hosts or regions with support for auto scaling. Moreover, out-of-box workflows that facilitate Continuous Delivery with Jenkins allow developers to refresh the Java WAR file of a running application without disrupting the existing dependencies and integrations.

The payoff of moving brown-field Java applications to containers is pretty obvious:

1.     Major reduction in CapEx 

Many large enterprises are under-utilizing their compute resources even with virtualization platforms like vSphere and OpenStack. Monitoring solutions have certainly helped these enterprises identify un-used or under-utilized virtual machines,  but the process of reclaiming these VMs and optimizing their utilization continues to be a cumbersome process. Moving Java apps to containers helps enterprises know that they are using every bit of compute on their existing virtual infrastructure for those Java apps that compose about 40 percent of their app portfolio.

2.     Faster application development and major reductions in OpEx  

Many enterprises today waste a lot of time provisioning, configuring and managing not just applications, but also the underlying infrastructure needed to run these applications. It should not be to anybody's surprise that developers at some large enterprises can sometimes wait days just to get virtual machines to deploy their applications on. The problem unfortunately does not stop with infrastructure provisioning. In fact, the biggest pain point continues to be application deployment and updates. I've even known some companies to track their Tomcat application servers on spreadsheets! By bringing the container world's solid application deployment and life-cycle management capabilities to Java apps, enterprises will dramatically reduce time required to deploy applications-maybe by 90 percent. Developers can schedule the application deployments or request them on-demand in a matter of seconds. This frees up the developers' time so that they can focus on building more features and release more applications.

3.     Cloud migration made easy  

Container-based applications are completely cloud agnostic, allowing customers to realize massive cost reductions in cloud migration projects and facilitating deployments across hybrid clouds. This major benefit will, for the first time, be readily available to Java app developers.

There's a lot of work to be done here, but it's already well under way. 2016 will be the year Java developers become heroes again, because the market cannot ignore the huge number of Java apps that need to move to a containerized infrastructure model without the pain and expense of rewriting them.

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About the Author

Amjad Afanah is the founder and CEO of DCHQ
Published Friday, December 04, 2015 6:38 AM by David Marshall
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