JAX 2011: Java Must 'Seize the Lead in the Cloud,' Says SpringSource Founder

There are clouds on the horizon for Java -- or there better be, says Rod Johnson, founder of the Spring framework and senior vice president of the Application Platform Division at VMware.

"If Java doesn't really seize the lead in cloud computing in the next year," Johnson told attendees at the JAX 2011 Conference this week, "I think it has a much greater chance of being eclipsed by languages like Ruby."

Cloud computing has moved well beyond the buzzword stage, Johnson said, in no small part because it actually relieves organizations of the burden of managing legacy systems, which currently accounts for two thirds of IT expenditures. Less than a third of IT spending goes to developing new functionality, he said. Because of the advent of cloud computing, "enterprise middleware as we know it will cease to exist," he predicted. Thriving in the cloud will also require some adaptation to accommodate non-relational data stores, such as Hadoop, he added.

Developers are going to need to be able to build applications that "leverage a dynamic and changing infrastructure, access data in non-traditional storage formats, perform complex computations against large data sets, support access from a plethora of client platforms, and do so more quickly than ever before without sacrificing scalability, reliability, and performance," Johnson declared. What's called for now is "an open, productive Java Platform-as-a-Service."

Not surprisingly, Johnson's company recently upped its own cloud investment with a new version of the vFabric platform for virtual cloud environments. VMware vFabric 5 combines the Spring development framework for Java with the vFabric services, including the tc Server enterprise version of Apache Tomcat 7, the GemFire memory-oriented data management technology, SQLFire SQL interface for GemFire, the RabbitMQ open source messaging system, an enterprise version of the Apache Web server, Spring Insight operations and the Hyperic custom-app management and monitoring technology.

Johnson gave the opening keynote at the conference, which was billed as as "the premier Java, Architecture, and Agile Experience." The JAX 2011 Conference is the first American version of a successful European conference series. This event, being held this week in San Jose, Calif., features more than 90 session in 7 parallel tracks, all focused on the Java ecosystem. Topics included Java EE, Spring, the Java language, Java and tech tools, JBoss, Java mobile and cloud computing, among others.

The conference was co-located with the JSF Summit. Lead by JSF expert Kito Mann, the event featured presentations and workshops on the latest developments in JavaServer Faces.

More information on JAX is available on the conference Web site here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at


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