Cloud Agility for Application Development

4 min read

Managing and making businesses successful in the ever-changing world of cloud computing can be a daunting task.

Whether working on-prem or on the cloud, many organizations struggle to determine the right technology decisions to future-proof their investment. This can apply to selecting a cloud provider or picking what cloud-native technologies to use. Organizations need solutions that fit their immediate needs and provide a path forward as requirements change and evolve. 

This is equally true when choosing technologies to use for developing cloud-native Java applications. How can organizations best support their Java developers who need to develop new applications and deliver new features that focus on the needs of the business and customers? 

The answer is cloud agility, which means you invest in technology you trust is safe for the future and gives you the flexibility and portability you need to grow or change. How do you know if your organization is cloud agile? When selecting your cloud-native Java development and runtime solution, you want to ensure it has the following features:

  • Is supported on multiple cloud platforms
  • Supports multiple application frameworks
  • Enables continuous delivery of new applications
  • Embraces open standards and APIs
  • Provides an easy and painless upgrade path to newer versions of application libraries

Don't forget vendor neutrality

For organizations transitioning to the cloud or cloud-based technologies, there are many providers offering solutions to make your organization agile, but keep in mind the importance of vendor neutrality. Vendor neutrality means that you are not tied down to a specific technology, be it a cloud provider, application runtime or even programming specifications. 

The cost to change technologies grows as your organization uses more and more solutions provided by a specific vendor. This cost can be mitigated by choosing a vendor that offers and delivers on open solutions and standards. 

Liberty: The runtime built for cloud agility

Liberty is a cloud-native Java runtime that enables developers to achieve true cloud agility and flexibility. Liberty works with all cloud platforms, including Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud Platform and IBM Cloud. This ensures organizations have the flexibility to choose for immediate needs and the ability to pivot if circumstances change. Key benefits include the following:

  • Optimized for container and Kubernetes environments: Liberty application containers are optimized to run on Kubernetes with low overhead, adaptive tuning and an integrated platform experience via the Liberty Operator. The operator deploys your application quickly and provides auto-scaling, deployment management and automated service binding, allowing your developers to focus on their code, spend more time creating new functionality for your applications and get innovation to your customers faster. 
  • Supported on all major cloud platforms: Liberty containers are supported on all major cloud platforms, with accelerated deployments available through optional cloud-vendor-specific marketplace offerings. This includes collaborations with cloud vendors like Microsoft that enable you to get your application deployed to the cloud within minutes.
  • Optimized for modern DevOps practices using continuous delivery release cycles: Liberty fully embraces the concept of continuous delivery, delivering a release every four weeks. Fixes are automatically rolled into the next release so there is no need to apply service updates because you get them automatically when you pull down the latest container image. Every release of Liberty is made available in multiple container registries, making it easy to pick up the latest release through build automation. Developers can be confident new releases will not break their code. “If something within the system needs patching, I can do it in minutes. In the time it takes me to hang up the phone, I can make a quick change and reboot their server and can also roll back super-fast.” — Shawn Hisaw, ICT Middleware Services Lead, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
  • Easily upgraded with zero or minimal code/configuration changes: Liberty is the only Java runtime that provides “zero migration,” which means that with zero effort, you can upgrade your runtime from one version to the next without any application or configuration changes. Upgrades can be expensive and time-consuming, having to plan months or even years in advance to complete, and that’s a lot of investment just to stay current. Coupling continuous delivery with zero migration means you can remain up to date with fixes — with minimal investment/cost — and choose to invest in application changes only when there’s a business need and benefit to doing so. Traditional WebSphere upgrade was a very time-consuming process that took 15-24 months. With Liberty, the rollout of a new JavaEE Version to all clusters was done in less than an hour for a whole test environment.” — Henrik Lundström, WebSphere Liberty Admin z/OS, Handelsbanken
  • Supports the latest version of open standards and specifications, such as Jakarta EE and MicroProfile: Support for open standards and APIs is in the DNA of Liberty and its development team. Open standards are important as this allows vendor neutrality with broad vendor participation and support. Liberty is a modular runtime, which allows developers to work with only the required APIs needed for a specific application. This — coupled with Liberty's breadth of API support, including MicroProfile and Jakarta EE — gives developers flexibility.

Summary

With Liberty, you can use the phrase “write once, run anywhere with agility” and be confident your application is running on an agile runtime with continuous delivery, open standards, zero migration and the freedom to run anywhere at its heart. These capabilities make Liberty an ideal choice for both migrated enterprise Java workloads for hybrid cloud, and new cloud-native workloads with cloud agility. 

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