Java-as-a-Service?

Microsoft and Azul lift OpenJDK into Azure cloud

Chris Mayer
openjdk

Microsoft continue to welcome outsiders into their cloud platform, but the OpenJDK arrival could be the biggest move yet.

Microsoft have made their clearest hint yet that Java is part of
their long-term future, revealing plans to bring the open source
implementation, OpenJDK, to cloud platform Azure.

The news, announced at this year’s OSCON, sees
the software giant team up with Java Virtual Machine (JVM) vendor
Azul Systems. The Sunnyvale company are expected to build certify
and deliver an OpenJDK compliant distribution, that will run on top
of Windows Server.

Microsoft will offer Java 7 SE, both as a
standalone platform (PaaS) and as an infrastructure component
before the year is out. The arrival of the official open source
Java version, which will be licensed under GPLv2, allows Azure
users to sidestep any proprietary versions when using Java in the
cloud, as well as being theoretically able to exploit the plethora
of JVM languages out there, like Groovy and Scala. There are also
plans afoot to add an Eclipse plugin for simple Azure
deployment.

The company has been on an acquisition drive of
late, in order to reinvigorate their ailing cloud service with
technologies from outside their confines.

Oracle pledged in June
to bring middleware,
the WebLogic Server and its 11c and 12c databases to Microsoft
Azure.

According to Microsoft’s Gianugo Rabellino,
customers had been asking for Java support for some time, and the
latest move is “complementary” to the one made by
Oracle.

“The point is making sure that Windows Azure
customers can use OpenJDK on our platform in a way that is fully
supported and fully backed by Microsoft,” the senior director of
Microsoft’s open source communities

told OSCON onlookers
.

Azul Systems president Scott Sellers, said the
“initiative is all about bringing Java to the masses”

“We will be providing a fully open and
unconstrained Java environment — with open choice of third-party
stacks — for developers and essential applications deployed on
Windows Azure.”

Azul’s experience with Java is unquestionable
with their lead product, the pauseless garbage collecting JVM Zing,
having been around for over a decade. Their involvement in
community matters is commendable too, since joining the Java
Community Process in 2011.

The arrival of OpenJDK is long overdue, given
that fellow PaaSes CloudBees, Google App Engine, Cloud Foundry and
Amazon Web Services all offer the functionality as part of their
services. But Microsoft must be commended for bowing to customer
pressure, just as Java 8 is set to arrive, and the signs are good
that Microsoft Azure can become a huge enterprise cloud contender
after a less than stellar start.

The frosty relations between Microsoft and
Oracle over Java in the 90s appear to be consigned to the history
books then.

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