On Tuesday 24th April our colleagues at Docklands.LJC welcome Steve Wallin, Programme Director of IBM Runtime Technologies, who will be discussing Eclipse OpenJ9 – driving JVM innovation for Cloud Native Applications.

Steve Wallin profile

In anticipation of the event, we caught up with Steve for a quick-fire interview to get his thoughts on the session, the latest Java technologies and his advice for new programmers.

Why do you think this presentation is important for people?
JVM innovation is a hot topic right now! With Hotspot and Graal from Oracle, Falcon from Azul and now IBM open sourcing J9 at Eclipse there is real choice in finding the right JVM for your application requirements.

How do you ensure you are getting the most out of your hardware infrastructure and that your application is performing at its best?
There are a breadth of performance characteristics like application memory footprint, GC pause time, predictability/repeatability, ramp-up, peak throughput that all need to be carefully balanced by the JVM to provide the most efficient use of system resources. The whole model for the dynamics around these characteristics needs to change to include workloads designed for cloud and container deployment.

This talk will cover some of the new challenges which cloud and container scenarios create, what Eclipse OpenJ9 can already do to help and in which areas we are focused driving innovation going forward.

Would it be cool to reduce your memory footprint by 60% and improve startup by 40% simply by changing a couple of lines in your Dockerfile ?
Come and see the demo !

I’ll also make it interactive and you will get a chance to ask me anything you like.

What Java/JVM technologies are interesting you most at the moment?
It is great that there’s a renewed focus on language syntax , native interop and the removal of templating and generally minimizing the volume of code required for a developer to write to get the job done. Amber, Panama and Valhalla are all key projects at OpenJDK that will drive important features into the language over the next few years and will make the code easier to write, better to debug and enable cross language integration that JNI has not really been able to provide effectively.

In this session I will be focusing more on my interests in containerised applications, and how, with Docker kubernetes deployments we need to drive down the memory footprint and improve start-up performance to have Java competitive for microservices and cloud functions when compared to other technology options.

There are also broader challenges in the Java ecosystem for developers related to the new release cadence and migration challenges beyond Java 8. This tension between agility, time to value and stability are provoking some interesting discussions. I’m really pleased to have a team working with the LJC and a broad range of community members at AdoptOpenJDK (AdoptOpenJDK.net) which is helping to mitigate some of these challenges.

Finally do you have any advice for junior programmers entering the industry?
As a software developer and leader of software engineering teams for over 20 years there have been a huge number of ‘next big things’in the technology landscape where I have worked. As a junior developer understand your depth and breadth of skills and focus on finding your passion. If you are having fun and enjoying what you do then you’ll likely do your best work.

I do believe that the best programmers have an ability to keep up with the trends, but more importantly they understand how to use the softer skills to work with others, collaborate, lead, empathise with users and understand the motivations of those around them.
If you are able to continue to improve your personal, communication and presentation skills at the same pace as the technical skills then this puts you in a much better position to build better outcomes for your clients.

If you’d like to join us at the event, please register at: https://www.meetup.com/Londonjavacommunity/events/249668942/