Companies are using Java to cut cloud costs, survey finds

  • Java remains the predominant programming language among enterprises

  • The vast majority of enterprises are using Java to try to cut cloud costs

  • Oracle is still the leading Java vendor, but recent changes to its licensing terms have enterprises eyeing other options

For the majority of companies worldwide, Java is the programming language of choice and serves as the backbone for their software applications. But as companies increasingly become hamstrung by rising cloud costs, some are starting to see the Java platform as a tool to reduce their cloud costs.

This was one of the many findings of an Azul Systems survey that queried more than 2,000 Java users from around the world, with 47% of respondents based in the U.S. and Canada. Azul is a non-Oracle Java vendor and its customers include Priceline, Salesforce, Deutsche Telekom, Mastercard and more.

Because Java offers a wide range of frameworks and is platform independent, it is well suited for developing and maintaining cloud-based web applications. In fact, 90% of companies surveyed said that they use Java in a cloud environment with 48% using it in the public cloud, 47% in a private cloud, and 40% said they use Java in a hybrid cloud environment.

However, while these companies find that using the public cloud for their applications gives them extra flexibility, scalability as well as certain security advantages, 70% of the enterprises surveyed said they believe they are over-provisioning their cloud resources. 

The reason they are paying for more cloud capacity than they use is because if an enterprise reduces the cloud resources it uses during off-peak times, it might not be able to turn them on quickly enough if there is an unexpected demand for more cloud resources. Because of this companies tend to pay for all the compute capacity that they need at all times.

Azul chart of cloud cost reduction actions

However, 95% of the Java users surveyed said they are taking steps to lower their cloud costs. Those steps include right-sizing resources (48% of those surveyed are doing this) or repatriating some compute resources from the public cloud back to on-premise (33% of respondents are using this tactic).

Additionally, 46% of respondents said that they are reducing their public cloud costs by using a Java virtual machine implementation of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) specification because it allows them to use their cloud resources more efficiently.

According to Martin Van Ryswyk, chief product officer at Azul, the reason a high-performance JVM is more efficient is because it processes more transactions per second than a standard OpenJDK, allowing a workload to be processed with a smaller infrastructure footprint. “It also has a highly consistent performance, allowing teams to run compute instances at higher CPU utilization levels without reserving excess compute for outliers,” he added.

Java remains the predominant programming language among enterprises with 98% of the survey respondents saying that they use Java in their software applications or infrastructure and more than half (57%) describe Java as the backbone of 60% or more of their applications.

Although Oracle is still the market share leader when it comes to the Java Developer Kit (JDK), the company’s recent price increases and licensing changes (including moving to a per-employee pricing model in January 2023) are driving many businesses to look for alternatives.

According to the survey, nearly three-fourths of respondents (72%) said they are looking for other options to using Oracle Java, including using an open-source implementation of Java such as Open JDK.

“Running Java applications and infrastructure with a faster and more efficient JVM can provide superior performance, consistency, and the capacity to address these challenges, gaining tangible business results today,” said Jevin Jensen, research vice president, intelligent CloudOps at IDC.