Beat the Java price hike with new, faster alternatives 

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If you’re running business critical applications, or have customer facing websites, you’re like using Java. 

Indeed, a staggering 98% of businesses utilize Java in their software or infrastructure, according to the State of Java 2023, a recent study of 2,000 Java professionals commissioned by Azul Systems. 

Java’s versatility and vast developer pool have made it a cornerstone for countless applications. However, the landscape is shifting for those who rely on Java for their operations.  

Over the past few years, Oracle, which acquired Java with its buyout of Sun Microsystems in 2009, has implemented a series of pricing hikes and policy changes that have many organizations concerned. In fact, some 82% of respondents in the State of Java survey indicated they are concerned. 

Instead of charging based on the number of machines or users of the software, Oracle now charges Java usage per employee, which includes contractors, consultants, agents and others. 

Unsurprisingly, many are now re-evaluating their options, particularly C-level executives responsible for optimizing costs and driving innovation.  

It’s clear to them that rising Java costs can significantly impact a company’s bottom line, eating into budgets allocated for critical IT initiatives and hindering competitiveness.  Worse yet, Oracle aggressive antics and the potential for future price changes has imposed far too much risk for most organizations.

Beyond Oracle: Exploring the open-source Java landscape 

The good news? Oracle Java isn’t the only path forward. Only 42% of respondents use at least one instance of Oracle Java, and a significant 74% of those organizations leverage at least one other JDK distribution, according to the Azul study. Predominantly, this points towards OpenJDK, the open-source implementation of the Java SE specification. 

OpenJDK offers a free and feature-rich alternative to Oracle Java. It’s actively developed by a global community of engineers, ensuring continuous innovation and adherence to the latest Java standards.  

However, OpenJDK itself doesn’t provide commercial-grade support, which can be a concern for some organizations with strict security requirements and limited in-house Java expertise. 

This is where trusted open-source Java vendors like Azul Systems come into play. These vendors offer enterprise-grade support for OpenJDK, providing a critical advantage for businesses seeking a cost-effective solution, often as much as 70% less expensive than Oracle Java, without compromising stability and security. 

Plan for a smooth transition 

So, how can your organization migrate to an alternative Java solution without disrupting operations? Here’s a three-phase plan: 

  1. Discovery: Map your Java landscape 

Conduct a thorough inventory of all Java versions currently used within your organization. Identify specific versions of Java employed by different applications, servers, and development environments. A comprehensive understanding of your existing Java ecosystem is crucial here. 

  1. Execution: Selecting and deploying the right OpenJDK distribution 

Next, choose the most suitable OpenJDK distribution. Several open-source distributions exist, with slight variations in features and performance optimizations. Consider factors like compatibility with your existing applications, security updates, and long-term support when making your selection. 

  1. Validation: Rigorous testing for seamless functionality 

After deploying the chosen OpenJDK distribution, rigorous testing is essential. This involves thoroughly testing all your applications to ensure seamless functionality with the new Java version. This validation phase is vital to identify and address potential compatibility issues that might arise during the migration. 

Azul prides itself on 100% customer satisfaction in its customer support surveys and 100% migration success off Oracle Java through the support and expertise both Azul and its channel partners provide new customers.

Mitigating risks with paid support  

While OpenJDK offers a compelling cost advantage, some organizations might hesitate due to concerns about support and security patches.  

This is where partnering with a trusted vendor like Azul Systems becomes crucial. Businesses that have the right level of support do not have manually troubleshoot issues, for example, when the Log4J bug emerged back in 2021. 

Here, Azul uniquely provides comprehensive enterprise-grade support for OpenJDK, including guaranteed security-only updates that are vital to safeguarding applications and infrastructure without introducing the risk of implementing quarterly updates which a broader set of feature enhancements and fixes. 

At the same time, Azul’s experts offer technical assistance should a business encounter issues with OpenJDK. This helps save valuable time and resources, ensuring the development team keeps its focus on core business objectives. 

Beyond cost savings with open-source Java 

While competitive costs are a major draw for migrating to open-source Java, the benefits extend far beyond financial considerations for many businesses that are migrating away from Oracle Java. 

There is a significant challenge with version complexity, as 64% of respondents to the State of Java report admitted to using more than one version of Java. 43% say they use at least one version that is no longer commercially supported by Oracle with 15% admitting to using Java 6 and 7. Large organizations often have departments running on older versions of Java, such as Java 6, 7 or 8. Organizations need a vendor who backports patches for newly reported vulnerabilities across all these versions.

Cloud-optimized performance, is another key driver for change. For example, Azul Platform Prime is specifically optimized for cloud environments. This translates to faster application startup times, enhanced performance for cloud-based applications, and ultimately, reduced cloud costs. 

In the past year, these factors have been crucial for businesses seeking an alternative to Oracle Java. Through trusted vendors such as Azul, many more are on this journey, as they find the necessary support to better run their operations and improve business outcomes.