Red Hat's OpenShift PaaS for Cloud Now Supports Java EE 6

Red Hat announced today that its OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) environment now supports Java Enterprise Edition 6 (Java EE 6). Red Hat is billing OpenShift as the first PaaS in the industry to deliver Java EE 6 to simplify "how application developers build and deploy Java in the cloud." The support is the result of an integration with the open source JBoss Application Server 7 (AS7).

Launched in May at the Red Hat Summit in Boston, OpenShift is aimed at open source developers. It comes with built-in management, auto-scaling capabilities and supports a range of programming languages, including Java, Ruby, PHP, Python and Perl, as well as numerous frameworks databases and clouds. Integration with the JBoss app server enables a cloud-ready architecture with a lightweight footprint and dynamic container model, the company says, to better support multi-core processing and multi-tenancy.

Perhaps one of the most important pieces of this announcement for developers is that Java EE 6 includes Content and Dependency Injection (CDI), a standards-based programming framework designed to make it easier for developers to build dynamic applications. Red Hat officials couldn't say enough about CDI during a press conference announcing the Java EE 6 support.

"We think, as do many in the Java Community Process, that probably the single biggest improvement in EE6 is CDI," said Mark Little, senior director of engineering in the company's JBoss group.

"We're really excited about CDI," said Red Hat's PaaS Master Isaac Roth, "...which allows Java developers to get going in the cloud in a really fast, agile manner. I feel like this development model for Java is going to power the next generation of mobile, social and cloud-scale applications. It's a great way to develop applications, and combined with OpenShift, it leaves all of the operational aspects to a service, so you don't have to worry about that stuff. You can just go out and create the next Angry Birds...and leave the scaling to us."

Roth is the former CEO of cloud platform provider Makara, acquired by Red Hat last November.

Red Hat was actually responsible for the CDI spec, which it submitted to the Java Community Process as JSR 299. The purpose of JSR 299 was to unify the JSF managed bean component model with the EJB component model, creating a significantly simplified programming model for Web-based applications. CDI was the brainchild of JBoss Fellow Gavin King, and it has become the standard for dependency injection for Java EE.

"[Java] EE 6 is not a standard that we have simply followed," Little said. "It's a standard that we have led in many respects."

Little also talked about the "perceived problem of bloating" in Java EE, and the "slimming" effect of Web Profiles in Java EE 6.

"We can now provide a number of profiles to users that are targeted to a specific deployment niche," he said. "The Web Profile is meant just for Web development and doesn't include many of the specs in the full profile, allowing for a slimmer deployment."

Other profiles will be defined in future Java EE releases, he said, including possible specific profiles for the cloud. The JBoss Application Server 7.0 release is a fully compliant Web Profile implementation. The Full Profile implementation is expected in the 7.1 release.

OpenShift will come in two editions: "Express" and "Flex." Express is a shared-hosting, multi-tenant environment. "It's simple," said Roth. "You can get going quickly and for free." OpenShift Flex Edition is a dedicated hosting environment. "If your application wants to be multi-tenant at the hypervisor level, instead of the OS level, then you can use Flex." Both provide a complete level of isolation and security, so that apps don't run into each other, Roth added, but Flex provides a bit more operational control. Developers can move applications seamlessly between the two editions, Roth said. Both editions are free to get started; users pay as they scale. Roth says Red Hat is committed to providing a free level on an ongoing basis, with fee-based scaling options.

RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady sees the OpenShift integration with the JBoss Application Server as a significant move to provide enterprises a way to transition their existing Java EE applications and skills to the cloud "with zero friction." It's a move, he says, that could help to overcome the difficulty of migrating existing applications to incompatible frameworks, which has slowed adoption.

Red Hat is currently providing OpenShift as a free developer preview.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].