IBM WebSphere Liberty: New Cloud-Native Capabilities to Reduce Costs and Increase Agility

5 min read

Key upcoming highlights for IBM WebSphere Liberty in the areas of developer benefits, cloud agility and cloud optimization.

These days, budget and competitive pressures are at an all-time high in every business. The need to innovate with speed while reducing costs sounds impossible, but this is at the heart of most businesses moving to the cloud. However, it is not as simple as picking a cloud, putting your apps there and you're done. You might be using the cloud, but you're not exploiting it, so your cost and agility goals are unlikely to be met. To exploit the true value of the cloud you need to become "cloud-native" — adopting modern technologies such as containers, DevOps practices and microservices architecture.

The Liberty runtime from IBM is designed to address the needs of cloud-native applications. Optimized for cloud and container environments, its developer tools help increase your productivity by up to 50%, reduce IT infrastructure costs by 40% and help avoid vendor lock-in with adherence to open standards

Liberty isn't stopping there either, with a raft of new capabilities designed to reduce costs and increase agility even further. Let's take look at some of the key highlights on the horizon for Liberty in the areas of developer benefits, cloud agility and cloud optimization (such as InstantOn).

Developer benefits

Code, without the unnecessary and boring stuff 

The developers in your organization want to focus on what they enjoy the most — writing code. They want it to be easy to produce high-quality, best-practice applications using their tools of choice. Developers don't want to be forced to use an unfamiliar development environment, they don't want to be twiddling their thumbs waiting for builds, redeploys, restarts and tests to complete just to know if that one-line code change worked and they don't want to get continually bogged down solving library update or integration problems. Aside from being tedious, these are not productive tasks for the business, impacting agility.

Liberty Tools (preview) provides a first-class cloud-native developer experience in leading Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). Through its Dev Mode support, you can work on your code and configuration and see the results immediately — no rebuild, no redeploy, no restart. You can do this all in containers, giving you best-practice production parity. With Liberty, all runtime features are pre-integrated and ready to go when you need them, but only when you need them — no bloat. Couple this with Liberty InstantOn (which we'll see later), and you gain rapid startup — making it ideal for developing serverless applications.

Vendor-neutral cloud-native APIs

Most organizations want to avoid being locked into a single vendor. The flexibility to choose alternative vendors insulates the business from being left high and dry in the event a vendor gets acquired or changes strategy. Open source can help, but if a project is dominated by a single vendor, your fate is still tied to them.

Open standards backed by multiple implementations (including open source) provide the ideal protection from vendor lock-in. If you’re looking to write new cloud-native microservices, MicroProfile is the standard for you. Maybe you have existing Java EE applications and are concerned about the risks and costs associated with rewriting. Never fear, Jakarta EE and MicroProfile give you a low-risk, low-cost path forward. Liberty is a leader in the definition and delivery of the MicroProfile and Jakarta EE standards, and with work ongoing for the next versions to deliver a whole raft of new capabilities, the future just gets better.

A demonstrated IBM success story is a large European bank that, with the help of RedBridge Group, evolved its monolithic Java EE applications to microservices on Liberty and OpenShift using MicroProfile and preserved its existing application investments.

“The combination of Java EE, MicroProfile, and Liberty enabled the bank to avoid a more costly and riskier rewrite by allowing existing Java EE code to be augmented to fit with the OpenShift Kubernetes platform as well as with new DevOps delivery practices.” — Daniel Pfeifer, Principal Consultant, RedBridge

Cloud agility

You’re looking to the cloud to achieve greater innovation and accelerate delivery. It’s also clear that you’re choosing from a variety of leading clouds — AWS, Azure, IBM, GCP — and are concerned about cloud lock-in. The Liberty team assists customers regularly with their cloud strategies and helps them achieve their delivery goals on all leading clouds.

When choosing a runtime, you need it to enable seamless development of cloud-native applications that can be easily deployed and managed in your cloud of choice, including on-premises for hybrid cloud. Through collaborations with leading cloud vendors, we're producing cloud marketplace offers that take away the pain of provisioning and integrating production-ready environments for cloud-native applications. Using these environments, it's possible to go from nothing to a provisioned and deployed application in under 10 minutes.

Cloud optimization: Serverless InstantOn without compromise 

As an application owner, you're looking to the cloud to enable you to deliver faster and scale up and down based on business demand. Serverless computing simplifies application delivery by taking away the need to manage infrastructure, allowing your applications to dynamically scale based on usage.

Using a serverless container platform (Containers as a Service (CaaS) or Kubernetes with Knative) and an open standards-based runtime helps you avoid the vendor lock-in inherent in serverless FaaS and PaaS solutions. To effectively scale dynamically (especially from zero instances) requires your application to start in milliseconds. Java Native Image compilation can address this need but impacts performance and developer experience, which can increase costs and risk. The upcoming Liberty InstantOn beta capability will enable your applications to start and respond in less than a few hundred milliseconds (even monoliths), all while preserving the great performance and developer experience — it's InstantOn without compromise.

Cloud-optimized Java

Java's memory use can include high peaks as it seeks to optimize the application for throughput performance. This can be costly as each of your application instances needs to be allocated memory to accommodate these peaks. 

With Liberty and the Semeru Cloud Optimizer, you can now offload the costly runtime optimization work and share it across instances. Using Semeru Cloud Optimizer, you can set lower memory limits on your application instances and significantly reduce your cloud costs without affecting application performance.

Summary

IBM WebSphere Liberty is already a world-leading runtime for cloud-native applications, but these new capabilities offer a ton of benefits:

  • Your developers will be happier and more productive thanks to the new Liberty Tools and latest standard cloud-native APIs.
  • You'll achieve greater cloud agility through the new marketplace capabilities in leading clouds.
  • You'll achieve greater operational efficiency through Liberty InstantOn and Semeru Cloud Optimizer.

Read the Forrester TEI report to speed up your transformation journey.

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