JAX London 2014: A retrospective
Red Hat Bring Java EE 6 to OpenShift

Java EE 6 Support Comes to OpenShift

Jessica Thornsby

“People who have applications that run on EE 6 and its predecessors now have a zero-coding approach to moving to the cloud.”

  • Issac Roth

    Issac Roth is Red Hat’s PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) Master, whipping the clouds into shape to create the best experience for developers who build on open source and leading Red Hat’s hosted online services strategy. He was previously co-founder and CEO of Makara, which launched the first PaaS to run Java EE applications and was acquired by Red Hat in 2010. Previously recognized as an innovative leader in the APM space, Roth was a pivotal member of the team that built Wily Technology and, after being acquired by CA, Inc in 2006, built CA’s end-to-end application management business. He is thrilled to be back at the open source leader after having started his software career as the first technical support engineer at ACC Corp (Red Hat’s original name) in Bob Young’s living room.

  • Mark Little

    Dr. Mark Little serves as the senior director of engineering for Red Hat’s middleware business. Prior to taking over this role in 2008, Mark served as the SOA technical development manager and director of standards. Mark joined Red Hat through an acquisition of Arjuna Technologies, a spin-off from HP, where he was a distinguished engineer, chief architect and co-founder. Mark has worked in the area of reliable distributed systems since the mid-80’s, and has a PhD in fault-tolerant distributed systems, replication, and transactions. As lead developer and manager on a number of important products for Red Hat as well as HP, Mark was instrumental in engineering the first fully compliant OTS implementation as well as the world’s first pure Java transaction service. He has extensive experience in the areas of fault tolerance, reliability, transactions, Web Services and SOA. Over the years Mark has been heavily involved in standards, from activities in the OMG, where he was a collaborator on the Object Transaction Service (OTS) specifications since 1991, to various OASIS committees. Mark has been involved with the W3C WS-Addressing working group since its inception, and also participates on the WS-Policy and WS-CDL committees.

Red Hat recently announced that they had integrated their OpenShift PaaS with JBoss Application Server 7, bringing Java EE 6 to OpenShift. In this interview, we speak to Red Hat’s Mark Little and Issac Roth, about this update, and what it means for the PaaS user.

JAXenter: OpenShift now supports Java EE 6, thanks to JBoss Application Server 7 technology. What was the biggest challenge you faced, when integrating JBoss AS with OpenShift?

Mark Little: There was only one technical challenge and that was putting JBoss AS 7 on to Express. Because Express runs a more constrained cloud profile than Flex, it was not possible to provide all of the EE 6 capabilities. Fortunately several years ago during the EE 6 process, we were instrumental in pushing for “profiles” within EE 6. A profile is basically a persona for EE 6 and you can provide some or all of the different (full) EE 6 capabilities within a profile. During the EE 6 standardisation effort two profiles were created: the full profile (which includes all of the EE 6 capabilities) and the Web Profile (which is intended for Web development and hence does not need all of the capabilities). The Web Profile was a perfect fit for Express and we had recently just certified AS 7.0 against the Web Profile. Obviously the Full Profile is supported within Flex and migrating from Express to Flex is therefore relatively straightforward, since Flex is a superset of Express.

JAXenter: How does this integration help with the problem of migrating existing applications, which is often faced by PaaS users?

Mark: EE 6 is a standard. It is a natural evolution from EE 5 and as with all of the EE (and previously J2EE) standards, we have worked hard within the standardisation effort to provide backwards compatibility where it is possible. What this means for our PaaS, which is significantly different to other approaches, is that people who have applications that run on EE 6 and its predecessors now have a zero-coding approach to moving to the cloud, and importantly, moving out of the cloud too. Therefore, there is no vendor lock-in with OpenShift JBoss PaaS. Furthermore, the learning curve to move into the cloud is virtually zero too: if you know EE 6 then you’re pretty much there. If you don’t, then we spent a lot of time and effort in the EE 6 standardisation work to make it easier to develop applications in Java, so it is now easier to work in Enterprise Java standards than with vendor specific frameworks of old.

Issac Roth: One thing that is unique about OpenShift among PaaS is that it has a full UNIX filesystem underneath it, which is usable by the applications. Any application that was written to an on-premise datacenter uses the filesystem. We don’t break this and make developers re-write applications to bring them onto OpenShift PaaS.

JAXenter: What are the next steps for OpenShift?

Issac: OpenShift will continue to have a better and better experience for developers. More ease, more built-in utilities for the development lifecycle, integrations with useful developer tools, more choices of frameworks and middleware.

JAXenter: What functionality will be included in JBoss Enterprise Application 6?

Mark: JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 6 will support the EE 6 Full Profile that I mentioned before. Outside of that, it will have faster boot time, a more modular architecture to allow for easier upgrades, much more manageability and also will be a lot faster across the board. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort in performance optimisations and improvements, so those will be some of the most obvious benefits for all of our users.

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