Is Java EE7's cloud focus too narrow?

The upcoming Java EE7 release is focused on cloud computing, but at JavaOne 2011 some Java experts wondered if that's a good thing. 

Java EE7 will provide the flexibility needed for cloud computing, particularly in the areas of platform as a service (PaaS) and cloud virtualization, according to Oracle's Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine. Other cloud-focused enhancements will show multi-tenancy, application versioning and modularity features. Moussine-Pouchine -- Java EE Developer Advocate, Oracle France --moderated the JavaOne 2011 panel session, "The Road to Java EE7: Is it all about the cloud?"

The cloud features have benefits, but they're not enough to meet the needs of  Java EE7's user base, some panelists said. Panelists included Adam Bien, Java EE consultant and author; David Blevins, Apache Software Foundation; Emmanuel Bernard, JBoss Platform Architect, Red Hat; Reza Rahman, Senior Software Engineer/Community Outreach Activist, Caucho Technology; and Linda DeMichiel, Java EE 7 Specification Lead, Oracle.

Moving applications and systems to a public "cloud is not important for my customers," said panelist Adam Bien, a consultant. Many companies are not eager to move their applications off their sites. Bien is enthusiastic about private clouds, which live in house and offer easy start-up of development and fast deployment.

"The emphasis on cloud features in Java EE7 distracts from other features," said panelist Reza Rahman. He's rather the focus was on innovation and great improvements in the platform itself. Innovation isn't just needed in the platform, he said. "Java EE7 vendors need to step up."

Other panelists agreed with Rahman and worried aloud that the rate of innovation in EE specifications is falling behind that of other platforms. Also, they said, improved features for distributing data are needed. Across the board, they called for greater innovation. A clearer business model for Java EE is also needed, said Apache Software Foundation's David Blevins called for. "I don't know if you (Oracle) know what it is, but the vendors don't," he said.

DiMichiel noted that Java EE7 is not just for the cloud, and that improving ease of use is another key focus.

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