VMware: Java Apps Moving to Kubernetes

The rate at which containerized Java apps are being deployed on Kubernetes platforms continues to accelerate, according to a report published today by VMWare.

Based on a survey of 1,024 IT professionals conducted by Dimensional Research on behalf of VMware, a full 95% said they have either already used the open source Spring framework to either containerize a Java application (65%) or plan to do so (30%).

Among the 95% of Spring users who are containerizing applications, 44% said they have deployed those applications on Kubernetes clusters, with 37% planning to do so as well. Among those planning to embrace Kubernetes, 84% said they would do so within the next 12 months.

John Allwright, director of product marketing for VMware, says the survey makes it clear that IT organizations that have invested in the Spring framework to build Java applications plan to continue to rely on the framework to build cloud-native applications for Kubernetes environments.

VMware has extended the capabilities of the Spring Boot framework it provides to accelerate development of microservices to enable native containerization of compiled applications on an underlying base image. Despite the plethora of tools available for building containerized applications, Spring is the primary platform that more than half of developers (52%) employ to build applications, the survey finds.

Spring is the Java framework most widely employed by enterprise IT organizations, so the survey results indicate adoption of Kubernetes platforms within those environments has substantially increased, says Allwright.

The survey also finds the largest use case for Spring among survey respondents (76%) is now developing internal and external application programming interfaces (APIs). Historically, Spring has been widely employed for developing web applications, but Allwright notes the survey makes it clear Spring usage patterns are evolving.

Three-quarters of respondents (75%) also said they expect usage of Spring Boot to continue to grow over the next two years, with 82% specifically citing usage of Spring Boot to launch new development projects. A full 90% of survey respondents agreed they view Spring Boot is the future of enterprise Java.

While there’s always a lot of debate over the degree to which organizations should rely on compiled code to accelerate application development at the expense of performance, it’s clear enterprise IT organizations that have embraced Spring—and, by extension, Java—are not moving away from the platform as they transition toward building cloud-native applications running on Kubernetes clusters. VMware, of course, is betting the bulk of those applications will be deployed on the VMware Tanzu platform based on Kubernetes it created to host and manage a variety of classes of applications.

Originally developed by Pivotal Software, the Spring framework is now being advanced by VMware after it acquired its former sister company. Both Pivotal Software and VMware were units of Dell Technologies prior to VMware formally acquiring Pivotal Software. Prior to that acquisition, the two business units had been collaborating on the development of a distribution of Kubernetes for VMware environments.

It’s obviously still early days as far as development of cloud-native applications. However, given the investments organizations have already made in the Spring framework, it’s clear VMware will exercise some significant influence over their development for many years to come.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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