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Oracle plans two major Java EE upgrades for the cloud

Paul Krill | Sept. 20, 2016
Version 8, due in late 2017, focuses on services configuration and health; Version 9, due a year later, focuses on smaller services and consistency

Modernizing Java EE (Enterprise Edition), the server-side version of Java, for the cloud and microservices will require two critical upgrades to the platform. Version 8 is set to arrive in late 2017, followed by Java EE 9 a year later, Oracle revealed on Sunday.

Although Java EE already in use in cloud deployments, Oracle sees a need to better equip it for this paradigm, said Anil Gaur, Oracle's group vice president of engineering, at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco. To this end Java EE 8, which had already been mapped out, will receive two additional sets of capabilities: one for configuration of services, and the other for health checking to monitor and manage services communications.

Oracle will publish Java specification requests (JSRs), which are official amendments to the Java platform, detailing these two efforts. Java EE 8 had been scheduled to arrive by next summer, but the additions will push the release out several months. Java EE 8 also will be fitted with enhancements previously specified, such as ease of development.

The configuration specification will enable services to scale horizontally and help specify capabilities such as quality of service. These details will be maintained outside the application code itself so when the service expires, the configuration code is still there for use with a similar service, Gaur said. With the health service specification, a consistent set of APIs will be featured so that services can communicate the health of services and developers can specify what corrective measures may need to be taken.

Java EE 9, meanwhile, will foster deployment of smaller units of services, which can independently scale. Key-value store support for using databases such as MongoDB and Cassandra is planned, along with eventual consistency in transactions. Oracle also is exploring support for a server-less model, where code is taken care of in a runtime environment. A state service and multitenancy for tenant-aware routing and deployment will also be considered, along with security capabilities for OAuth and OpenID.

Java EE has been the subject of much debate in recent months with proponents upset over a perceived lack of direction for the platform. In response, Oracle first expressed its cloud intentions for Java EE in July. "Developers are facing new challenges as they start writing cloud-native applications, which are asynchronous in nature," Gaur said.

Vendors have begun using Java EE APIs to solve these problems. But each vendor is doing it in its own way, with consistency lacking, Gaur said. With no standard way, it is impossible to ensure compatibility of these services.

Gaur also highlighted use of a reactive style of programming for building loosely coupled, large-scale distributed applications. Moving to the cloud requires migrating from a physical infrastructure to virtualization as well as a shift from monolithic applications, he said.


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