Is it just me, or does is seem that Oracle is arriving just a little bit too late to the party when it comes to hosting Java applications in the cloud?
At JavaOne 2015, Shaun Smith took the stage to reveal the current direction Oracle is taking in terms of developing, deploying and hosting Java applications in the cloud, and quite honestly, the discussion seemed most underwhelming. It's not that Oracle hasn't been doing some great work in the field of creating a compelling platform for hosting Java applications in the cloud, it's just that it doesn't seem like they're doing anything that hasn't been done before by just about every single one of their competitors. What was once a failure to launch now feels like a failure to differentiate.
"We want to make it as easy to use these apps in the cloud as is is on-premise."
Diving into the Java SE Cloud Service
The Java SE Cloud Service is the name they've given to this particular offering, and the promise is a new, simple approach to deploying to the Oracle cloud. Basically, you can take any server-side application you have ever created, no matter which set of libraries it uses, and deploy it simply by zipping it up using your favorite build tool and clicking a few buttons to indicate upon which cloud based deployment target you want to send your archived application. It sounds a lot like deploying an EAR file to WebSphere using the WebSphere Administrative Console, which is a good thing for those who actually use an administrative console to do deployment. Of course, most organizations just deploy applications through scripts that are kicked off by continuous integration tools, so the one click deployment really isn't all that relevant. The Java SE Cloud Service does integrate with Hudson, the Oracle equivalent of Jenkins, meaning deployment would be business as usual for any organization leveraging CI.
One thing that did sound a bit funny was the fact that while the Java SE Cloud Service would be compatible with any Java library you wanted to integrate into your apps, the service did require Oracle's Advanced Java SE development toolkit. So essentially, this cross-platform Java based environment is compatible with everything except competing Java environments. To be fair, the requirement for using Oracle's Advanced Java SE environment isn't unreasonable, especially since many helpful tools come packaged with this flavour of the JDK, including Oracle's Flight Recorder for application monitoring. If you're deploying to Oracle's platform, you probably should be using Oracle's JDK, after all when you deploy to WebSphere, you're supposed to use the IBM JDK as well.
Another Docker based cloud service
Under the covers, it's just Docker. Again, this seems underwhelming. It makes sense that Oracle not re-invent the wheel to empower their cloud platform, but again, it just seems like Oracle is taking a page from the playbook of just about every one of their competitors. So Oracle is offering up a platform where you can deploy your Java apps onto a distributed set of Docker containers? What is the value add for the consumer? Is it just a matter of accepting that Oracle can do it better than all of their competitors simply because they're Oracle? That's hardly a compelling argument.
For a more detailed write up from TheServerSide on Oracle's Java SE Cloud Service, along with how their new developer tools will work to create a complete, cloud based ALM solution, take a look at the following article. And let us know what you think about Oracle's latest announcements regarding Java application deployment in the cloud: