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Demystifying Java Application Modernization

In today's IT landscape, if an application is being built from scratch, it is easy to embark on a journey to explore a host of tempting shining technologies. There are countless frameworks that are used to build modern applications leading you to believe that if your infrastructure does not match them, your company is doomed to a legacy limbo. Because of this misconception, modernizing your application is a subject that often is surrounded by myths and not discussed in a broader form.

Applications are just one of many parts of a complex system. They coexist with networks, hardware, other software, software engines, and data repositories used to process and store data and information. Switching applications for a more "modern" one is a complex task because it is not just a simple swap. It is necessary to reconsider your infrastructure, user training, and how your business will be affected by the change. A daunting task no doubt.

The State of Developer Ecosystem 2020 report shows Java is still the primary programming language among developers. Used on websites, web back-end, mobile development, and many other areas, Java applications continue to represent a big portion of the enterprise applications market and can rely on an abundance of experienced professionals and a solid community. Modern Java frameworks enable you to build microservices or stand-alone applications. Java provides a one-stop-shop for any challenge.

Most Java applications are insulated from the bottom part of the server stack (hardware and OS). This means that the top part of the stack (JVM, application server, and custom applications) can be moved to a different platform (i.e. RISC/Unix to x86_64/Linux or x86_64/Windows). That is Java portability: build once and run anywhere.

Oracle continues to bring value to Java to address the evolving needs of modern application developers. Oracle includes the free use of GraalVM Enterprise with the Java SE Subscription or when running on OCI. GraalVM Enterprise helps create executables that are ideal for microservice deployment because they startup almost instantly with reduced memory and compute footprint.

Moving to the application servers, the applications, and their components can be decoupled into different contexts. Contexts can be grouped or spread on multiple individual servers, clusters, or containers. At this point, nothing has changed but your application is ready to take advantage of the new infrastructure and its perks, or if necessary, take a leap forward and re-design using microservices architecture for example.

In your journey to modernize your application, Oracle Cloud becomes an excellent option as it allows, but is not limited to:

  • Move without change – if your infrastructure is already x86_64 based, similar servers can be created, and the application is transferred with virtually no changes.
  • Move and improve – scale horizontally or vertically, add redundant servers behind a load balancer, implement database replication, deploy on multiple regions, leverage flexible block storage. There are countless deployment options that can enhance your solution.

One unique benefit to migrating workloads to OCI is access to GraalVM Enterprise's patented optimizations that accelerate Java application performance or compile native executables with near-instantaneous startup ideal for microservice deployment.

  • Move and upgrade – upgrade the stack, deploy separated environments for test/QA/production, upgrade platform versions. Move away from CAPEX and take advantage of the Oracle's compute flexibility. Tailor your infrastructure without wasting resources with oversized infrastructure.  
  • Move with re-platforming – maybe it is time to move away from that proprietary hardware platform that is costly to renew, maybe your java application is ready to be containerized. Java has come a long way and is capable of taking advantage of new technologies.
  • Move just what is needed – adopt a hybrid model interconnecting your existing infrastructure and move the pieces that require change. Preserve your existing investment until the end of its life cycle.

Modernizing your infrastructure doesn't require a complete overhaul. It can be gradual, tailored, and smooth. Take a peek at our growing collection of reference architectures to help you speed up your journey. Here are a few reference architectures that demonstrate how your Java application can be deployed on OCI:

GraalVM Enterprise on OCI helps build Java native executables for faster microservice deployment.

Deploy Oracle WebLogic Server on compute instances

Run WebLogic in the Cloud with Kubernetes Operator and Container Engine

Deploy Apache Tomcat connected to an autonomous database

Deploy and upgrade legacy IBM WebSphere on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Monolithic to microservices: How design patterns help ensure migration success

From Monolith to Microservice: When Should You Convert Your Java Applications?

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