Red Hat Quarkus Project Aims to Optimize Java for Kubernetes

Rethinking Java for use with Kubernetes is a priority for the new Quarkus endeavor.

Todd R. Weiss

April 1, 2019

4 Min Read
Open source

As business computing continues to focus more on the cloud, mobile applications and devices, IoT and open source, Red Hat has been looking at new ways to use Java to help create the applications and architectures that will better serve users in the future.

That’s where Red Hat’s new Quarkus open-source project comes into play as a lightweight, high-performance framework designed to reduce the footprint and latency of Java applications specifically for cloud-native architectures like microservices, containers and serverless requirements.

Jason Greene, the co-founder of Quarkus and a distinguished engineer and manager at Red Hat, introduced the project in a blog.


Red Hat’s Jason Greene

“The goal of Quarkus is to make Java a leading platform in Kubernetes and serverless environments while offering developers a unified reactive and imperative programming model to optimally address a wider range of distributed application architectures,” wrote Greene. “Quarkus is a Kubernetes Native Java framework tailored for [the universal virtual machine] GraalVM and [the Java virtual machine] HotSpot, crafted from best-of-breed Java libraries and standards.”

Quarkus was created to help rethink how Java can be best utilized to address new deployment environments and application architectures, including containers, Kubernetes and microservices, as well as reactive, function as a service (FaaS), 12-factor, and cloud-native application development to provide higher levels of productivity and efficiency, wrote Greene.

“Through our work in communities like Eclipse MicroProfile and OpenJDK, we have seen that there is still life and innovation and hunger throughout the Java ecosystem, and it remains one of the most popular programming languages for building enterprise applications,” he added. “We have also seen the hunger that developers have for building modular, microservices-based applications that can be deployed in containers and managed with Kubernetes.”

Java was introduced to the open-source community more than 20 years ago, Greene said, and remains popular with developers for a wide range of tasks and applications, including for the latest cloud, IoT, Kubernetes and other uses.

“Quarkus is designed to meet those needs and we believe it has the potential to open up a whole new realm of possibilities for Java developers,” he wrote.

With a container-first approach for cloud-native Java applications, Quarkus unifies imperative and reactive programming models for microservices development and offers an extensible set of standards-based enterprise Java libraries and frameworks while also providing developer productivity that promises to revolutionize Java development.

Quarkus includes fast startup in the tens-of-milliseconds range, low memory utilization, a smaller application and container image footprint and unified configuration with all configuration in a single property file. It also uses a full-stack framework that leverages best-of-breed libraries including Eclipse MicroProfile, JPA/Hibernate, JAX-RS/RESTEasy, Eclipse Vert.x, Netty and more. Quarkus also includes …

… an extension framework which reduces the complexity for making third-party frameworks run on Quarkus and compile to a GraalVM native binary.

John Clingan, the senior principal product manager for Red Hat, told Channel Futures that the Quarkus project is valuable because it optimizes Java runtime execution for today’s applications, including shared cloud, container and serverless environments where startup time and efficient memory usage are critically important.


Red Hat’s John Clingan

“Given that many organizations have built a tremendous amount of in-house Java expertise, Quarkus is an ideal platform to evaluate for enterprise microservices and serverless environments, especially organizations that have a lot of in-house Java expertise that plan to move to a containerized environment like Kubernetes or OpenShift,” said Clingan.

The project was undertaken because no other development work could be found that specifically targeted Java application development for use with Kubernetes deployments, he added.

“Red Hat’s customers, and the industry as a whole, have a tremendous amount of Java expertise and are rapidly adopting Kubernetes and OpenShift to run Java workloads.”

For channel partners, Quarkus and its work could present more opportunities to help serve customers, said Clingan.

“ISVs that have adopted a microservices or serverless architecture will benefit from migrating their Java applications to Quarkus to run significantly – potentially orders of magnitude – more efficiently on Kubernetes,” he said. “For some ISVs, developing Quarkus extensions enables them to plug into and extend the Quarkus core platform, so Quarkus users benefit from a natural development experience with ISV functionality that result in blazing fast speed with much lower memory utilization at runtime.”

Channel partners will also have new opportunities in working with business IT leaders to see if they need additional help determining if they should migrate existing applications to Quarkus and, if applicable, assistance in the migration itself, he added.

“Both new application development and application migration may occur in the context of adopting Kubernetes and OpenShift, requiring additional expertise,” said Clingan. “Partners that build expertise with Quarkus will be able to assist customers in delivering a highly efficient Java application deployment solution and productive development experience for Kubernetes.”

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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