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Java in Cloud Native Environment: All You Need To Know


Java has been a prevalent programming language. Even today, it remains one of the top three most-used languages for developing enterprise software. New cloud-native Java runtimes must provide developers with the following four significant benefits. It helps build cloud-native, microservices, and serverless Java applications:

  • Elevate development productivity: Developers want zero configuration, live coding, and easy injection of extensions for implementing cloud-native applications.
  • Reactive programming enablement: Developers can use EventBus or Vert.x to implement reactive and traditional imperative applications.
  • Serverless optimization: The development teams utilize existing microservices for serverless applications. It is when the cloud-native Java runtimes provide super-fast starting times and tiny memory footprints.
  • Open source projects and tools adoption: Developers must integrate with standard open source projects. It would include tools such as Kubernetes, Vert.x, RESTEasy, Kafka, Jaeger, Prometheus, Infinispan, and more.

Traditional Java applications run as containers on hardware servers that control the processing power required for application instances. In contrast, cloud-native Java runs across multiple nodes hosted within the virtual machines running on shared computing resources. A cloud-native Java development approach is used to build, deploy and manage Java-based applications geared toward cloud frameworks.

Key Components of Cloud-Native Applications

  • Building Microservices – Cloud native applications use and build microservices architecture to break up the functionality into smaller pieces that can be scaled and managed individually. The microservices communicate using APIs & distributed systems, offering more flexibility and faster deployment.
  • DevOps – This collaboration between software development and IT operations aims to ensure automated software delivery. This concept seeks to develop, test, and release software consistently, rapidly & in a computerized way. The processes are set up to deploy to production at any time.
  • Containers – Containers enable application packaging and its dependencies into self-contained units that can run on any platform. Containers provide an alternative to virtual machines (VM). It is layered and includes components needed by Java applications to run on the cloud, like code, dependencies, frameworks, OS packages, runtime environment, system tools & libraries.
  • CI / CD – Continuous integration (CI) and Continuous delivery (CD) ensure reliable, frequent and faster release cycles for applications. Various tools and technologies help push application updates into production through automation.

Approaches to Cloud-Native Java

Some examples of cloud-native approaches that can help make development easier –

  • Java in Linux Containers – Docker containers from a vital component in cloud-native development, and Linux containers based on cgroups functionality and OS-level virtualization are one of the main approaches for cloud-native development. Memory management creates a limitation to this approach, as raising the heap size above the container allowance can lead to errors. However, most of the common issues have been resolved by the OpenJDK developer community, making this approach relatively easy.
  • MicroProfile – MicroProfile is a classical approach to Java enterprise application development. Modern frameworks like Helidon from Oracle and Quarkus from RedHat support MicroProfile.
  • Native images with Spring Native – Native images are a cloud-native approach and allow the creation of a progressive and developer-friendly environment. Liberica Native Image Kit (NIK) is a compiler that translates Java bytecode to binary code and is based on open-source GraaIVM Community Edition. This approach offers several advantages like instant startup times, ease of transfer between systems, low memory footprint and extensive toolkit available in different programming languages. It is one of the most popular frameworks for building JVM-based applications, but its reliance on annotations and Java Reflection API can hinder cloud-native Java development.

Drawbacks of Using Cloud-Native Java

Some potential disadvantages of using cloud-native Java development –

  • Complexity – Increasing modularity and composability can make cloud-native applications more challenging to maintain. It is true, especially when legacy applications are refactored for the cloud.
  • Security – Cloud-native java development practices offer more protection than the traditional development approach. However, developers should be cautious about the security implications of deploying applications across multiple nodes in virtual machines on shared resources. 
  • Performance – A potential downside of virtual machines is reduced performance, which can be mitigated by selecting the correct type of VM and optimizing the code to run on this infrastructure.

In conclusion,

  • Cloud-native Java applications are more scalable and perform better than traditional Oracle Java applications. It is partly possible because microservices break down applications into smaller manageable pieces that can be scaled as per need.
  • The cloud ecosystem emphasizes monitoring which assists in detecting and correcting issues to avoid significant downtime or performance degradation.
  • Operating on the cloud increases application performance and scalability as resources like memory, CPU, and storage can be allocated as required.
  • The cloud-native community has many open-source projects that work on different aspects of operating a cloud-based application. Such ongoing projects ensure consistent application performance upgrades.

Cloud-native development has introduced new ways to develop complex, scalable systems. Managing errors and exceptions can be challenging. Connecting with a Java development solutions company can help track, analyze, and manage real-time errors.