IBM's Red Hat business unit is updating its flagship JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) with a series of new capabilities for building, running, deploying, and managing enterprise Java applications.
JBoss EAP 8 is the first enterprise Java platform release from Red Hat to support the open source Jakarta EE 10 specification. Jakarta EE is the open source successor to the platform that has had multiple names over the last two decades, including J2EE and more recently Java EE. The Jakarta EE name and platform came about in 2019 with a governance move for the effort from Oracle to the Eclipse Foundation. Jakarta EE 9 came out in 2020, but it was not supported by Red Hat JBoss EAP.
With Jakarta EE 10 support, companies can modernize legacy Java applications while continuing to leverage their existing investments. The platform's improved provisioning tools also empower developers to more easily manage and optimize Jakarta EE application deployments across bare metal, virtual machines, cloud environments, and Red Hat's OpenShift platform for Kubernetes container management.
In addition to Jakarta EE advancements, JBoss EAP 8 provides security enhancements such as native support for OpenID Connect.
Why Jakarta EE 10 Matters to Enterprise Java
With Jakarta EE 10, there are a number of new critical capabilities that JBoss EAP users will now benefit from.
"Much of the new innovation in Jakarta EE 10 is in the area of lightweight, cloud-native Java development and an effort to bring the specification in line with how developers are building and deploying modern applications," James Labocki, senior director of product management for Red Hat Runtimes & Migration Tools, told ITPro Today.
For example, Labocki explained that Jakarta EE 10 introduces a new Core Profile, defined as a small subset of the most useful Jakarta EE features needed when building lightweight Java microservices. But what's more important is that this also reduces the friction of modernizing existing enterprise Java applications by not requiring developers to learn a new framework to bring apps forward, he said.
Another key feature highlighted, according to Labocki, is CDI Lite, which enables the rising trend of using ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation techniques and natively compiled Java applications, first popularized by GraalVM and implemented by next-generation Java frameworks such as Quarkus and Spring Native.
"This has brought new life to Java in the age of cloud and containers, and represents another path forward to extend the life of enterprise Java apps," Labocki said.
Improved Provisioning Boosts Enterprise Java Deployment Management
Beyond supporting Jakarta EE 10, the new JBoss EAP release integrates improved provisioning tools.
Labocki said that the new provisioning system includes a new installation manager for bare-metal or virtual machine installations and a new Apache Maven plug-in for OpenShift builds. He explained that for OpenShift, the JBoss EAP Maven plug-in allows users to specify what they want in their server footprint and configuration — for example, to specify a feature pack to include database drivers. The JBoss EAP Maven plug-in uses Galleon trimming capability to reduce the size and memory footprint of the server; it also supports the execution of JBoss EAP CLI script files to customize server configuration.
"For bare-metal or virtual machine installations, the new installation manager allows users to install JBoss EAP, apply patches, revert patches, and apply feature packs," he said.
In addition to making it easier for operations teams to install and maintain JBoss EAP instances, Labocki said the installation manager introduces similar layering concepts to container deployments, providing a more consistent experience across bare metal, VMs, and OpenShift.
Going a step further, JBoss EAP 8's OpenShift integration includes new lightweight OpenShift container images for running the server and the ability to build even lighter-weight containers with a smaller attack surface.
Labocki added that the new release also includes an update to the JBoss EAP Operator, which is similar to the Kubernetes Operator concept, that can manage container images for this release as well as the previous release (JBoss EAP 7.4), and includes new support for managing health probes directly in the custom resource managed by the Operator.
"Prior to JBoss EAP 8, this had to be done in the application container itself, which could result in configuration drift or developers specifying values outside of IT policy," he said.
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.