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Scala developers lead the way in container, microservices adoption

[Note: this article by Mike Wheatley appeared originally on]

Scala developers are inching ahead of Java developers when it comes to microservices and cloud-native apps.

But according to a new survey by Lightbend Inc., the main backer of the Scala project, both camps also indicate that containers are set to cause huge disruption in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) landscape.

The biggest takeaway from Lightbend’s survey of more than 2,100 JVM developers across large, medium and small-sized enterprises was that application containers are “democratizing infrastructure,” and “challenging the old guard of Java EE app servers.”

“The fragile model of bundling services into JARs and EAR files on app servers for isolation is rapidly giving way to the much more refined foundation of service isolation through Linux Containers,” the study’s authors wrote. “57 percent of survey respondents said they believe that containers will “disrupt the JVM landscape.”

And the survey shows that it’s Scala developers who likely will get there first. The findings show that 42 percent of Scala developers are already running microservices in production, compared to just 28 percent of developers whose apps are primarily written in Java. Scala developers are also ahead when it comes to the cloud, with 42 percent indicating the majority of their apps run there, compared to just 26 percent of Java developers.

The momentum of containers is a real thing. According to the survey, 22 percent of developers are already seriously piloting containers for production deployment, while another 31 percent indicated they’re “playing around” with containers on local machines. Another 20 percent said they’re in the process of seriously evaluating containers, while just six percent said they had no interest in them.

Another upcoming trend appears to be what Lightbend calls “fast data patterns.” The survey shows that 34 percent of all developers do most of their data processing in real-time, with 22 percent saying they do roughly equal amounts of batch and real-time processing. Breaking it down further, 28 percent of Scala developers said they’re running Akka Streams in production, another 28 percent said the same of Apache Kafka, while 21 percent favor Spark streaming.

Scala developers also seem to have more influence in their employer’s adoption of cloud technology than their Java developing counterparts. Of the Scala developers surveyed, 49 percent said “a lot” of their company’s cloud technology adoption was driven as a result of developer influence, compared to just 36 percent of Java developers.

“Developers and Datacenter Operators are pursuing similar concepts in parallel today,” said Mark Brewer, CEO of Lightbend, said in a statement. “While the Reactive movement encapsulates the sort of flexibility and resilience that the modern application is required to achieve, actually running these applications in production is pushing operations to become more elastic and lighter weight as well. Fast Data and Cloud flexibility are two trends that are driving this renaissance in converging Dev and Ops and driving new patterns into application architecture.”

Lightbend’s full survey, Enterprise Development Trends 2016, can be downloaded here.

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