Will Microsoft's RWA Pattern for Java Lure Devs to Azure?

Microsoft's Newest Reliable Web App Pattern Aims at Java Devs

Microsoft's recent announcement of the availability of its Reliable Web App Pattern for Java Tomcat is yet another example of the company's abiding interest in attracting Java developers to its Azure cloud platform—and a potentially powerful one.

The Reliable Web App Pattern (RWA) consists of architecture guidance and reference implementations designed to enable enterprise developers and solution architects to migrate their legacy web applications to the cloud with minimal code changes. The pattern is built on the Azure Well-Architected Framework and the open-source reference implementation code and CI/CD pipelines on GitHub. The code is deployed via the Azure Dev CLI and Terraform, HashiCorp's infrastructure-as-code tool.

"The RWA pattern is a field-tested blueprint that navigates you through the initial phase of your web app's journey to the cloud," explained Nish Anil, principal product manager at Microsoft, in a blog post. "With this cohesive blend of cloud design patterns, implementation, and tools, you can seamlessly integrate these best practices into your existing apps."

The RWA pattern for Java Tomcat was tailored specifically, as the name implies, for Java developers to help them efficiently re-platform their legacy Apache Tomcat applications to the cloud. Apache Tomcat is a venerable open-source web server and Servlet container for Java code. It's an implementation of the Jakarta ServletJakarta Server PagesJakarta Expression LanguageJakarta WebSocketJakarta Annotations, and Jakarta Authentication specifications (all specs that are part of the Jakarta EE platform).

"We've crafted the RWA pattern for Java in response to feedback from our enterprise developers, who frequently express the need for comprehensive architectural guidance and reference implementations that demonstrate more advanced scenarios like multi-region deployments, CI/CD practices, identify management, secure secrets, caching, observability, transient failure handling, and more," Anil said. "They seek ways to expedite their proof-of-concept work and accelerate the modernization of their applications on Azure. In response to this feedback, we've established common objectives, cloud-design patterns, and best practices to enable our Java developers to thrive quickly in Azure, eliminating the developer toil of trial-and-error."

Specifically, the RWA for Java includes prescriptive guidance, deployable reference architecture, dev/prod deployable stacks, simulations, cost estimates, service-level objectives (SLOs)—all of which helps developers transform traditional line-of-business Java Tomcat apps more easily into modern applications running in the cloud in a reliable, secure, and operationally efficient way, Anil said.

"Our goal with this pattern is to help you enhance your web applications' reliability, security, operations excellence, and performance in the cloud with proven best practices," Anil said. "It optimizes costs when transitioning from on-premises infrastructure to cloud infrastructure in Azure and achieves these improvements with minimal changes to your existing setup."

In addition to the production-ready source code on GitHub, Microsoft has provided developers with the architecture documentation and six learning videos lead by Matt Soucoup, Principal Cloud Developer Advocate for .NET at Microsoft.

According to some industry watchers, almost half of all Java developers used Tomcat last year, which makes it the perfect adjacent technology for a major cloud platform provider hoping to reach more Java Jocks.

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].