The Microsoft Azure engineering team is calling on the Java community to participate in a special survey to understand the challenges of migrating Java EE applications to the cloud. The team would appreciate input from developers who either: have already migrated Java EE applications to the cloud; are currently going through a migration; or are planning to start a migration. Microsoft Azure aims to facilitate an important series of dialogs with the Java community through engineering engagements, where developers may speak directly with key engineers driving Java on Azure.
Speaking about these engagements, Reza Rahman, principal program manager for Java on Azure at Microsoft and former Oracle Java EE evangelist, stated:
Our team sincerely cares about and wants to understand the needs of Java EE developers moving to the cloud. There is no agenda here beyond really listening to you and trying to create something of value for all.
Please be assured there is absolutely no expected commitment but some of your time. Microsoft engineering engagements are never tied to sales, advocacy or marketing objectives. This is about listening to the Java community to help create real customer value for the Java EE ecosystem.
Asir Selvasingh, principal program manager for Java on Azure at Microsoft and Microsoft veteran, also stated:
Microsoft loves open source and Java. Our customers have expressed definite interest in Java EE along with Java SE and Spring. This engagement is part of our ongoing effort to make Azure one of the most customer driven places to deploy and scale Java workloads.
Microsoft Azure, a member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), has representatives serving as ambassadors and participation on the governing board, the technical oversight committee, and the marketing committee.
Rahman spoke to InfoQ about this survey.
InfoQ: Is this the first Java EE-related survey that Microsoft is conducting?
Reza Rahman: One of the core tenets of modern Microsoft is to become a customer driven – if not a customer obsessed – company. One of the key ways our team can do that is by running engineering studies reaching out to fellow engineers. Various teams within Microsoft honestly do that all the time. Java developers might find this a little bit of a surprise, but .NET developers, for example, probably won’t. That will change and we will do this more on the Java side. For example, we just finished running a survey reaching out to the Spring ecosystem. Now we are reaching out to more Java EE-focused developers. This is indeed the first time we are reaching out to Java EE developers specifically at this scale.
InfoQ: Can you tell us more about engineering engagements and how the Java community may participate?
Rahman: Certainly. One of the key ways our team decides what we should do is listening to respective developer communities carefully by talking to people one-on-one. I think this sort of mindset is becoming more commonplace in the industry thanks to works like “The Customer-Driven Playbook” by Travis Lowdermilk/Jessica Rich and “Lean Customer Development” by Cindy Alvarez. This is because software is becoming more user-focused, more collaborative and we are learning from other fields of study such as economics as well as social science.
By understanding true needs and delivering those we can hope to maximize productivity and user satisfaction. From a user standpoint, I think it is invaluable to get dedicated time with the engineering team actually delivering features. To some degree, each study is different. Some may engage the broader community and some may not. In our case, we have chosen to reach the community broadly, hopefully with a bit of your help. The Spring study was also broadly open to developers.
InfoQ: Has Microsoft Azure identified any challenges on the migration process from Java EE to the cloud?
Rahman: So far the respondents seem to be reasonably happy with what Azure offers (and some have actually completed their transition to the cloud). Some have even asked us to include them in our ongoing beta programs, which is truly encouraging. There are of course areas we could do better and more but there isn’t anything glaring so far. However, we are still at a reasonably early part of the study and I am sure we will learn more from the Java EE community. In theory we could share some of what we learn with the MicroProfile and Jakarta EE communities if applicable. I think we’ve done that with the Spring community in the past too.
InfoQ: What can the Java community expect from the results of this survey?
Rahman: I think they will see the end results of their valuable input in Azure itself, especially for the folks that engage. If nothing else, hopefully it is clear at least to some that we are trying our best to serve the broader interests of the community through one of the major cloud platforms out there. We want to become one of the best cloud platforms for Java EE (and Spring and Java, etc) developers to run their workloads.
InfoQ: Will this ultimately be an annual survey to keep current with upgrades such as Jakarta EE and MicroProfile?
Rahman: That is an interesting idea indeed but not at this point. Our team has been empowered to take this opportunity to learn much more about the Java EE community so we need to really make it count this time. Hopefully, we will get to do this again in the future to learn more about what Java developers really want from Microsoft and Azure. To some extent it depends on how it goes this time and what gaps we see in the future.
Included in the survey are questions related to job titles, decision making within the organization, current Java EE application servers being used, and cloud strategy. This survey is well underway and should be complete in the coming weeks.