Tag Archives: upcoming

Google Kubernetes Engine price change sparks discontent

An upcoming price change to Google Kubernetes Engine isn’t sitting well with some users of the managed container service, but analysts said Google’s move is well within reason.

As of June 6, Google will charge customers a cluster management fee of $0.10 per hour, regardless of the cluster’s size or topology. Each customer billing account will receive one free zonal cluster, and the new management fee doesn’t apply to clusters run as part of Anthos, Google’s cross-platform container orchestration service.

Along with the management fee, however, Google is also introducing a service-level agreement (SLA) for Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). It promises 99.95% availability for regional clusters and 99.5% on zonal clusters, assuming they use a version from Google’s stable release channel, according to the price change announcement.

Google’s decision did not sit well with some users, who voiced complaints on social media.

Gary ChenGary Chen

Container service pricing could remain in flux

Others disagreed. The planned fee for Google Kubernetes Engine is reasonable, said Gary Chen, an analyst at IDC. “The fact is that Kubernetes control plane management is getting more complex and Google is constantly improving it, so there is a lot of value-add there,” he said. “Plus, as more critical workloads get deployed on containers, service levels become important and that will take some effort and investment, so it’s not unreasonable to ask for a fee for enterprise-level SLAs.”

A longer-term solution for Google could be to offer a lower-cost or free tier for those who don’t need all the features or the SLA, Chen added. “I think we’ll definitely see that in cloud container pricing in the future,” he said. “More tiers, feature add-ons, etc., to satisfy all segments of the market.”

Google previously had a management fee of $0.15 per hour for large clusters but dropped it in November 2017. The price addition coming in June will bring GKE into parity with Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service; AWS cut the cluster management fee for EKS to $0.10 per hour in January, down from $0.20 per hour.

Kubernetes ecosystem
Managed services such as GKE fit into a continuum of technologies for managing containers

Although measured in pennies per hour, the cluster management fees amount to about $72 a month per cluster, a sum that can add up fast in larger implementations. The question Google Cloud customers must weigh now is whether the fee is worth it compared to other options.

Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service is one, as it doesn’t currently carry any cluster management fees. But customers would have to do a close comparison of what Azure charges for the compute resources supporting managed containers, as opposed to Google, AWS and other providers.

Another alternative would be to self-manage clusters, but that would require analysis of whether doing so would be desirable in terms of staff time and training.

Above all, Google would undoubtedly like more adoption of Anthos, which became generally available in April 2019. The platform encompasses a software stack much broader than GKE and is priced accordingly. Anthos is the company’s primary focus in its bid to gain market share against Azure and AWS and represents Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian’s intent to get more large enterprise customers aboard.

“The cloud wars are intense and revenue matters,” said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research in Cupertino, Calif. The cluster management pricing could be viewed as some “gentle pressure” on customers to adopt Anthos, he added.

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PowerShell 7 features admins should examine

Most of the additions to the upcoming PowerShell 7 add operators and cmdlets that are more of creature comforts and tools that make using the open source version of PowerShell better for everyone.

While there are a couple of changes that are performance-oriented, many are focused on making PowerShell 7 the go-to version for all users, including those who are still using Windows PowerShell. At time of publication, the PowerShell development team has a PowerShell 7 Release Candidate out that Microsoft supports in production with the official generally available version due out sometime toward the end of February. In a branding change, Microsoft will drop the Core part of the PowerShell name in version 7.

Legacy Windows commands get support

The transition from Windows-only PowerShell to the cross-platform PowerShell Core 6 left behind a lot of commands administrators and other IT workers used frequently. In PowerShell Core 6.1, some of these commands returned to close the feature gap with Windows PowerShell. PowerShell Core was developed to work alongside the existing Windows PowerShell installation to help administrators with the transition process.

PowerShell 7 continues to expand on this list of Windows-only commands by using a new process for handling the commands. When you run a Windows-only command in PowerShell 7, it will run a new runspace and open the version of Windows PowerShell on the machine to execute the command. Because this happens in the background, the execution is seamless.

The Get-Error function

Reading PowerShell errors has never been fun, and it can be hard to figure out what the error really means and, more importantly, what is causing the error. To help, PowerShell 7 has a new Get-Error command.

Get-Error cmdlet
The new Get-Error cmdlet gives you extensive information in a PowerShell error record

Running the Get-Error command expands the details of the last error. Previously, you would have to remember where each property is buried. In PowerShell 7, you can use Get-Error to present all the data in an easily readable list.

A new way to run scripts in parallel

For a while now, PowerShell has had several ways to run multiple processes in parallel using workflows, background jobs and runspaces. Unfortunately, these processes can be hard to get your code to work with if you did not start with parallelization in mind.

You could use runspaces, but this takes some knowledge of .NET classes and can be hard to troubleshoot. Now, with PowerShell 7, there is a -Parallel switch for the ForEach-Object command, which does the runspaces work behind the scenes. You can write code that easily runs multiple instances of the loop at one time, as long as it is not interacting with anything that has to be serialized. While adding the Parallel switch is not going to make every script run faster, it can make a significant different in some cases.

Ternary operators help trim code length

PowerShell has had if statements from the start, but now the PowerShell developers are introducing the ternary operator to the mix. This feature can simplify and condense the simple if statements that are already being used.

As an example, look at the code block below which contains several if statements:

if (Test-Path $Path) {
$Property1 = $Path
} else {
$Property1 = "C:"
}
if ((Get-Date).DayOfWeek -eq "Monday") {
$Property2 = "Monday"
} else {
$Property2 = "Not Monday"
}

In PowerShell 7, instead of using up all these lines to handle the simple if statements, you can use the ternary operator as shown below:

$Property1 = (Test-Path $Path) ? $Path : "C:"
$Property2 = ((Get-Date).DayOfWeek -eq "Monday") ? "Monday" : "Not Monday"

While the ternary operator does give another way to show simple if statements, it is not a replacement for an if statement. This is especially true in the case of complicated if statements with multiple elseif statements included.

Pipeline chain operators help debug scripts

Another useful PowerShell 7 addition is the new pipeline operators. Previously, if you wanted to check for errors mid-pipeline, it was messy and required you to extend the pipeline to include if statements to nest the next command in the pipeline. Since this removes the simplicity of using the pipeline, most people opt to split this type of work into multiple commands and then do error-checking in between.

The new pipeline operators allow simple error checking mid-pipeline. Below is an example of running a command to import a module and then run a command from the module with error handling:

try {
Import-Module TestModule
Test-Module
} catch {
#Does nothing
}

The try…catch statement works, but it takes up a lot of space. Also, the catch block just takes up space with unused code. As an alternative, see the code below with the new AND (&&) operator using a pipeline operator.

Import-Module TestModule && Test-Module

The && operator only continues the pipe if the previous command completes successfully.

The OR (||) operator is another useful pipeline chain operator new to PowerShell 7. The following code uses the same try…catch statement:

try {
Get-Content $Path
} catch {
Get-Content $Path2
}

In PowerShell 7, we can use the OR pipeline operator instead to compress the code to a single line as shown below:

Get-Content $Path || Get-Content $Path2

Similar to the ternary operator, the pipeline chain operator is not a replacement for all code, but it comes in handy to build much shorter code blocks.

Null assignment and coalescing operators help streamline code

The last new addition to operators for PowerShell 7 is the null assignment and coalescing operators. These new operators replace the simple if and else statements that are used to compare a variable to see if it is $null. Below is an example of the way you would code this before PowerShell 7:

if ($null -eq $Path) {
$Path = "C:"
}

With the null conditional operator (??=), you can make this a single line of code as shown below:

$Path ??= "C:"

The null conditional operator checks if the expression is null and, if it is, it makes the variable equal the second expression. Similar to the null conditional operator, the null coalescing operator (??) compares the first expression to null. The difference is that if it equals null, then it outputs the second expression; if it is not null, then it outputs the first expression. Below is an example of the previous syntax:

if ($null -eq $Path) {
Write-Host "Path is null"
} else {
$Path
}

Using the null coalescing operator compresses this example to the example below:

$Path ?? "Path is null"

In the case that $Path is $null, the command will output Path is null; otherwise, the command will output the value of $Path.

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IBM Spectrum Protect supports container backups

IBM Storage will tackle data protection for containerized and cloud-based workloads with upcoming updates to its Spectrum Protect Plus backup product and Red Hat OpenShift container platform.

Like other vendors, IBM has offered primary storage options for container-based applications. Now IBM Spectrum Protect Plus will support backup and recovery of persistent container volumes for customers who use Kubernetes orchestration engines.

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus supports the Container Storage Interface (CSI) to enable Kubernetes users to schedule snapshots of persistent Ceph storage volumes, according to IBM. The company said the Spectrum Protect backup software offloads copies of the snapshots to repositories outside Kubernetes production environments.

IBM will offer a tech preview of the container backup support in the OpenShift platform that it gained through its Red Hat acquisition. The tech preview is scheduled for this year with general availability expected in the first quarter of 2020, subject to the availability of CSI snapshot support in Red Hat OpenShift, according to Eric Herzog, CMO and vice president of world storage channels at IBM.

“The problem with Kubernetes is there’s really no standard storage architecture. So you’re starting to see all of the vendors scramble to implement CSI driver support, which links your Kubernetes containers with backend storage,” said Steve McDowell, a senior analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.

CSI snapshots

McDowell said IBM and other vendors are stepping up to provide CSI drivers for general-purpose backend storage for containers. He said few, if any, tier one vendors support CSI snapshots for data protection of Kubernetes clusters.

But enterprise demand is still nascent for persistent storage for containerized applications and, by extension, backup and disaster recovery, according to IDC research manager Andrew Smith. He said many organizations are still in the early discovery or initial proof of concept phase.

Smith said IBM can fill a gap in the OpenShift Kubernetes ecosystem if it can establish Spectrum Protect as a platform for data protection and management moving forward.

Randy Kerns, a senior strategist and analyst at Evaluator Group, said early adopters often stand up their container-based applications separately from their virtual machine environments.

“Now you’re starting to see them look and say, ‘What data protection software do I have that’ll work with containers? And, does that work in my virtual machine environment as well?'” Kerns said. “This is an early stage thing for a lot of customers, but it’s really becoming more current as we go along. OpenShift is going to be one of the major deployment environments for containers, and IBM and Red Hat have a close relationship now.”

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus for VMware

In virtual environments, VMware administrators will be able to deploy IBM Spectrum Protect Plus in VMware Cloud on AWS. IBM said Spectrum Protect would support VMware Cloud on AWS, in addition to the IBM Cloud and various on-premises options available in the past. Herzog said IBM Spectrum Protect Plus would support backups to additional public clouds starting in 2020, in keeping with the storage division’s long-standing multi-cloud strategy.

Also this week, IBM introduced a new TS7770 Virtual Tape Library built with its latest Power 9 processors and higher density disks. The TS7770 will target customers of IBM’s new z15 mainframe, Herzog said.

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Increases expected from new Microsoft Dynamics 365 pricing

Upcoming changes to Microsoft Dynamics 365 pricing will lead to lower licensing fees for some users while possibly raising the cost of the cloud-based business applications platform for organizations with 100-plus seats.

Microsoft described the changes, scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, in a blog post this week. The company gave partners advance notice of the new pricing scheme at last week’s Inspire conference in Las Vegas.

Midsize and larger organizations that use more than one application could face significant increases, because of Microsoft’s decision to unbundle Dynamics 365 apps and sell them a la carte. Currently, the cloud apps come priced as bundles, with many companies on a Customer Engagement Plan at $115 per user/month. The plan includes five core applications — Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation and Marketing.

The new individual pricing would cost $95 per user/month for one app, with $20 “attach licenses” for additional apps. Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president for business applications at Microsoft, said in the blog post that customers preferred having the option of adding or removing applications as their companies grew and changed over time.

 Microsoft Dynamics 365 pricing to take effect October 2019
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM ‘attach pricing’

But users of Dynamics 365 CRM software would likely pay more for that convenience, Dolores Ianni, an analyst at Gartner, said. Those customers typically employ multiple applications in the Customer Engagement Plan.

I feel that a majority of renewing customers are going to be substantially impacted by this change.
Dolores IanniAnalyst, Gartner

“If you’re using four applications and you had a thousand users, well, your price went up 158% — it varies wildly,” Ianni said. “I feel that a majority of renewing customers are going to be substantially impacted by this change.”

Microsoft claims 80% of its customers are using only one application, but anecdotal evidence indicates otherwise. Conversations with Microsoft customers — and a review of their contracts — show that the largest enterprises with 1,000 or more users could pay substantially more in some cases, Ianni said. Organizations with 100 or more users could also pay more, even if they’re using only one application. Companies with more than one application would get hit harder.

Microsoft could offer its largest customers promotional deals that would mitigate the price hike, Ianni said. The company often provides such breaks when changing pricing.

Readiness tips for Dynamics 365 pricing changes

Organizations should prepare for the new pricing structures by analyzing which employees use which applications today. Businesses can sometimes find ways to cut costs after getting a complete understanding of how workers are using the software.

“They’re going to have to do their homework to a much greater degree than they did in the past,” Ianni said.

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Getting Started with Microsoft in the Classroom |

Want to get started with Microsoft in the classroom? We’ve pulled together a list of upcoming training sessions hosted by Microsoft Learning Design Specialists Troy Waller & Megan Townes. In these session you will get to know how you can make the most of Microsoft in your classroom.

Tuesday 4th September 2018, 8:00-9.30PM AEST

This online workshop is aimed at educators for whom Office 365 is relatively new and who are looking to implement solutions to classroom problems right away. It is designed to give educators an understanding of how Office 365 can provide the right environment for better learning outcomes. Educators will learn to become more innovative with cloud-based tools, regardless of the device they use. We will explore Office 365 through hands-on activities that will introduce educators to Office Online and OneDrive.

This workshop will be facilitated by Microsoft Learning Design Specialist Troy Waller.

Register now: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/getting-started-with-office-365-registration-48795432452

Monday 17th September 2018, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm AEST

Minecraft: Education Edition is an open-world game that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination. Students can play in a secure environment along with their classmates, collaborate on projects, and record and reflect on their learning within the game. This workshop is designed specifically for K-12 teachers who would like to introduce Minecraft: Education Edition into their classroom. Learning objectives: Participants will learn why Minecraft enhances learning experiences for both students and educators. Explore digital resources available to educators. Learn about the unique features of Minecraft: Education Edition. Tour through a world demonstrating curriculum applications of the game.

This workshop will be facilitated by Microsoft Learning Design Specialist Megan Townes.

Register now: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/getting-started-with-minecraft-registration-48796774466  

Tuesday 2nd October 2018, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm AEST

Microsoft’s mission is to empower all people and all organisations to achieve more. The classroom is no different. Microsoft Windows and Windows-based applications like Office, together with other assistive technologies, offer features that make computers easier to use for everyone – giving teachers the opportunity to provide personalised learning, and students an improved experience and equal opportunity in the classroom. Join our session to see how Windows 10 and Office 365 can transform students’ educational experience and personalise learning.

This workshop will be facilitated by Microsoft Learning Design Specialist Troy Waller.

Register now: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/creating-an-inclusive-classroom-with-microsoft-technologies-registration-48796816592

Monday 15th October 2018, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm AEDT

Learning is more powerful and dynamic with tools that are already right in front of you – and it’s up to educators to impress this on students in the classroom. With Microsoft OneNote, educators can create digital notebooks that support academic standards and education outcomes across disciplines and tasks, such as writing, reading, mathematics, science, history, CTE, and elective courses. Students may use OneNote across content areas and grade levels, and use OneNote to compile and organize unstructured information, research, and content. OneNote also supports research, collaboration, information management, communication, note taking, journaling, reflective writing, and academic requirements. 

This workshop will be facilitated by Microsoft Learning Design Specialist Megan Townes.

Register now: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/getting-started-with-onenote-registration-48796971054

Monday 15th October 2018, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm AEDT

OneNote Class Notebooks have a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities. It is designed to help teachers and lecturers save time and be even more efficient with their classes. This workshop will introduce teachers to the basic features of Class Notebook and allow time for exploration to get hands-on with ideas and examples for classroom use.

This workshop will be facilitated by Microsoft Learning Design Specialist Troy Waller.

Register now: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/getting-started-with-class-notebook-registration-48797026219

Monday 12th November 2018, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm AEDT

How do we support teachers and students who are challenged to learn in an increasingly collaborative and mobile environment? Microsoft Teams creates an ideal digital hub for teachers to deliver instruction, enhance learning, and interact in a rich and engaging online space. Participants will engage in a series of immersive learning activities that will build a strong understanding of how to use Microsoft Teams to improve collaboration with colleagues and meet the learning needs of their students. 

This workshop will be facilitated by Microsoft Learning Design Specialist Megan Townes.

Register now: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/getting-started-with-teams-registration-48797109468

Remember to follow our social channels for live streams as well as updates on upcoming events and training sessions; Facebook & Twitter. Alternatively if you’re looking for the Right Device for your classroom, you can see our future ready solutions here.

This post was originally published on this site.

Sea of Thieves ‘Cursed Sails’ Free Update To Unleash Skeleton Ships On July 31 – Xbox Wire

At last month’s E3 we gave players a tease of the upcoming Sea of Thieves content updates that we have planned for the summer. We’re thrilled to announce that the first of these summer updates – Cursed Sails – will be available for free to all Sea of Thieves players from July 31.

New Content To Include Skeleton Ship AI Enemies and the Brigantine Ship Designed For Three-Player Crews

As part of our ongoing commitment to deliver new Sea of Thieves content throughout the year, Cursed Sails will offer our biggest update yet at no charge for those who own the game or access it through Xbox Game Pass. Players will now be able to battle terrifying new skeleton ships, set sail in the new three-player Brigantine ship and form Alliances with other players to take on bigger challenges and share greater rewards.

Sea of Thieves Cursed Sails Skeleton Ship

This permanent new content will be introduced into the game through a special time-limited campaign, Cursed Sails. Offering players a range of unique rewards, this three-week campaign will see skeleton ships terrorise outposts and challenge pirates to do battle on the seas. A story-driven side quest will also allow players to investigate the source of the skeleton scourge. For a taste of what’s to come, watch our new trailer above.

This Cursed Sails campaign and content update will be available free and without charge to all Sea of Thieves players who have bought the game across the Xbox One family of devices or on Windows 10 PC, or who have access to it as part of Xbox Game Pass. Once it goes live from July 31, simply download and install the latest Sea of Thieves update to get access. And don’t worry, if you’re unable to take part in the time-limited campaign, all the features introduced with this campaign will remain in the Sea of Thieves world for everyone to see and experience.

New to Sea of Thieves? Join over four million players at xbox.com/seaofthieves, and visit the Sea of Thieves website at SeaofThieves.com to embark with the community. See you out on the seas.

Modern Family’s Nolan Gould Joins Xbox Live Sessions to Play Fortnite Battle Royale on December 21

Hope everyone is getting ready for the upcoming holidays and has a great list of Xbox games they hope to receive! Xbox Live Sessions is back this week with Nolan Gould, widely recognized for his role as Luke Dunphy on “Modern Family.” He’ll join the interactive livestream hosted on the Mixer Xbox Channel on Thursday, December 21 at 7 p.m. PT to take on Fortnite Battle Royale.

Nolan loves gaming and he can’t wait to play Fortnite Battle Royale, the free 100-player PvP mode of Fortnite that drops players on a giant map where the last one standing wins. It combines Fortnite’s unique building gameplay and intense PvP combat for a totally unique and fast-paced battle royale experience. Be sure to tune into the livestream for the chance to submit questions to Nolan as well as win special prizes. This episode of Xbox Live Sessions will be hosted by Microsoft Studios Community Manager, Rukari Austin.

Don’t forget to tune in Thursday, December 21 at 7 p.m. PT on Mixer and keep it locked to Xbox Wire for news on future episodes of Xbox Live Sessions. Happy holidays to all!

Outlook for iOS and Android is adding your most requested calendar features – Office Blogs

Whether you’re planning your next dinner date or an upcoming meeting with teammates, the Outlook app is there to help you manage and make the most of your day. Today, we are adding several of your most highly requested calendaring features, including the ability to sync your shared calendars to your phone and manage and RSVP to recurring events.

A big part of our prioritization of new features and enhancements comes from the votes and feedback we receive from you on Outlook UserVoice. We thank you all for your feedback and are excited to hear what you think of our new additions!

Here’s a look at what’s new:

Sync shared calendars to Outlook

You will now be able to view and edit shared Office 365 or Outlook.com calendars, just like you can with your own calendars. Better yet, you can also share your own calendars with others and accept sharing invitations easily right from the app.

If you don’t see your shared calendars right now, don’t worry. We are in the process of upgrading existing shared calendars so that they start syncing to Outlook. However, if you just can’t wait and want the new experience immediately, simply re-accept the sharing invitation from Outlook on iOS or Android. Once you do this, your shared calendar will appear. If you cannot find the original calendar sharing invitation, ask the calendar owner to re-share and accept the new invite from Outlook. And voila!

Manage delegate calendars on the go

For those of you who manage someone else’s calendar at work, you’ll now be able to do this from the palm of your hand. Manage your delegates, accept a delegation request, and fully view and edit the delegated calendar all from Outlook on iOS or Android. And when you receive meeting invitations and responses, we will more clearly indicate if they are for your or your manager’s calendar, so you don’t get them confused.

Get your Meetups added directly to your calendar

Following up on our launch of Facebook and Evernote in Outlook on iOS and Android this year, we are releasing support for Meetup—a new Calendar app in Outlook. Meetup brings people together in thousands of cities to do more of what they want to do in life. Now, when you connect your Meetup account to Outlook, you can see your upcoming Meetups directly on your calendar.

Managing your events is even easier

We are bringing the best of what Outlook has to offer on the web and desktop to your phone, so you can make the most of your busy day while on the go.

These updates are available for both iOS and Android:

  • Create events with daily, weekly, monthly or yearly recurrences.
  • RSVP to a single occurrence of a recurring event series (e.g. decline one instance without removing the entire series from your calendar).
  • See your coworkers’ availability when scheduling meetings (available previously on iOS, now available on Android).

These features are now available on iOS, coming soon to Android:

  • Add a message when responding to a meeting invite (e.g. explain why you are declining a meeting invitation.)
  • Set an event as private, to keep the details to yourself when sharing your calendar.
  • Mark your calendar events as Busy, Free, Out of Office, or Tentative.

And there’s even more to come!

Let us know what you think of our new calendar features! If you have other ideas for what would make the calendar experience even better for you, let us know on UserVoice right from Outlook by going to Settings > Help & FeedbackSuggest a Feature.

—The Outlook team

Frequently asked questions

Q. I don’t see my shared or delegated calendars on in Outlook for iOS and Android yet. What should I do?

A. As noted above if you don’t see your shared or delegated calendars right now, don’t worry. We are in the process of upgrading existing shared calendars so that they start syncing to Outlook. However, if you just can’t wait and want the new experience immediately, simply re-accept the sharing or delegate invitation from Outlook on iOS or Android. Once you do this, your shared calendar will appear. If you cannot find the original calendar sharing invitation, ask the calendar owner to re-share and accept the new invite from Outlook.

Q. How do I add Calendar apps like Meetup to my calendar?

A. To add a Calendar app, such as Meetup, navigate to settings, and then click Calendar Apps in the Connected Apps and Add-ins section. Meetup is available on Android today, coming soon to iOS.

Oracle releases Java 9, Java EE 8

At long last, Oracle has made Java 9 generally available just ahead of its upcoming JavaOne developer conference in San Francisco early next month.

Java 9 — better known as Java SE 9 Platform Specification, or Java SE 9 (JDK 9) — comes nearly three years after the release of Java 8.

In addition to Java 9, Oracle announced the availability of Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 8 (Java EE 8) and the Java EE 8 Software Development Kit.

JDK 9 is a production-ready implementation of the Java SE 9 platform spec that boasts more than 150 new features, including a new module system and enhanced scalability, improved security, better performance management and a simplified development process for developers.

Modular at its core

“Coming almost three years after Java 8, Java 9 includes some notable features and capabilities, including modularity — based on Project Jigsaw, several new code compilers and a new read-eval-print loop [REPL] tool,” said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT.

Although the Java modularity feature has stirred up some controversy over its development, we are optimistic that it will make innovation in the Java platform faster and easier going forward.
Mike Milinkovichexecutive director of the Eclipse Foundation

Indeed, a core highlight of Java 9 — and partly what held it up in delays — is its modularity. The Java Platform Module System, also known as Project Jigsaw, simplifies the development and maintenance of complex applications. Oracle noted that the module system also makes the JDK more flexible, and it enables developers to bundle just those parts of the JDK that are needed to run an application when deploying to the cloud.

“It is great to see Oracle ship Java 9,” Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, told TechTarget. “This is a significant release that has been long-awaited in the Java community. Although the Java modularity feature has stirred up some controversy over its development, we are optimistic that it will make innovation in the Java platform faster and easier going forward. Eclipse projects, including the Eclipse Java IDE, will start providing support for Java 9 over the next couple of days and weeks. Stay tuned.”

Tools for next-gen applications

In a statement, Georges Saab, vice president of development for the Java platform group at Oracle, said: “Java SE 9 is the result of industrywide development involving open review, weekly builds and extensive collaboration between Oracle engineers and members of the worldwide Java developer community via the OpenJDK Community and the JCP [Java Community Process]. This version of Java SE will provide millions of developers the updated tools they need to continue building next-generation applications with ease, performance and agility.”

In addition to Project Jigsaw, other key features in Java SE 9 include JShell, which delivers the REPL tool that simplifies the process of exploring API language features for developers.

Java 9 also features improvements to Javadoc — the tool used for generating API documentation — that make it easier for developers to learn new APIs by including a search function within the API documentation itself, as well as information on which module defines each class or interface.

Enhancements to the Streams API, which improves developer productivity and includes support for parallelism, represent another key Java 9 feature.

New, six-month release cadence

With Java 9 complete, Oracle said it is moving to a six-month release cadence for Java SE. The company is using a time-driven release model, rather than a feature-driven release model. Thus, the next release will come in March 2018 and will be named Java 18.3 — the year and month of the release. Java 18.9 will follow in September 2018.

“Java 9 is somewhat controversial, since it stands as the last major release before Oracle begins its quicker cadence and, as a result, will not be designated as a long-term support release,” King noted. “That comes with the next major version, Java 18.9, which will arrive about a year from now. That has many wondering how many customers will actively embrace this new version or wait for Java 18.9 when long-term support is available and Java 9’s new features have become more mature and reliable.”

However, with this change, Oracle will also be providing OpenJDK builds under the General Public License. And Oracle will be contributing previously commercial features to OpenJDK such as Java Flight Recorder in Oracle JDK, with the goal of making Oracle JDK and OpenJDK more aligned. OpenJDK is a free and open source implementation of Java SE.

Java EE 8 released, moving to Eclipse

Meanwhile, Oracle also delivered Java EE 8, which modernizes and simplifies the Java EE platform for the cloud and microservices with updates to eight major specifications.

“The release of Java EE 8 is a major milestone in the evolution of Java in the enterprise,” Milinkovich said. “The Eclipse Foundation is looking forward to welcoming Java EE to our community and working to ensure a faster pace of innovation for the technology in the future. We strongly believe that Eclipse’s model of open collaboration and vendor-neutral governance is going to ensure Java EE’s place in the industry for many years to come.”

Oracle recently announced its intention to move Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation, in collaboration with other vendors and the community. Oracle, Eclipse and community members are working out the details of the technology transfer and ongoing governance and process within the Eclipse community, the company said.

Mike Lehmann, vice president of product management at Oracle, said this “major release of the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition, is one we think developers are going to be excited to use. And by open-sourcing Java EE technologies to the Eclipse Foundation, we have set it up for ongoing success in the future. Oracle is committed to working with the Java EE community and the Eclipse Foundation to continue enterprise Java innovation, support and evolution.”

Key features in Java EE 8 include a new security API for cloud and platform-as-a-service-based applications; multiple Context and Dependency Injection enhancements, including support for asynchronous events; HTTP/2 support in Servlet 4.0; and more.