How Open Liberty and IBM Semeru Runtime proved to be the perfect pillars for Primeur

As an independent software vendor (ISV), we at Primeur embed the Open Liberty Java runtime in our flagship data integration platform, DATA ONE. It is essential that the embedded Java runtime is both invisible to our customers yet observable to our engineers who support them. Open Liberty, IBM’s open-source Java runtime on which IBM WebSphere Liberty is built, was the perfect solution for us.

Primeur and DATA ONE

As a smart data integration company, we at Primeur believe in simplification. For more than 35 years, we have been helping companies from all over the world to accelerate their data integration projects. This helps ensure that their customers reach their business goals while making the most of their existing IT investments and avoiding unnecessary expenses. We combine our customers’ proprietary methodology with our purpose-built technology, which runs natively on all the main architectures, including IBM zSystems.

Our flagship data integration platform, DATA ONE, is designed to federate different technologies, platforms, data types and deployment models, with an intuitive user experience. It plans, manages and monitors integration flows, allowing clients to control data throughout its end-to-end lifecycle. Since its launch in 2020, DATA ONE has been successfully adopted by multinational companies across sectors, including insurance and banking, automotive, energy and utilities, manufacturing, logistics and telco.

DATA ONE consists of three modules that can be activated as needed:

  • Data Mover, a secure file-transfer enterprise solution.
  • Data Shaper, providing any-to-any data transformations.
  • Data Watcher, for the integrated end-to-end monitoring of dataflows.

Open Liberty: Invisible, yet observable for Primeur

As an ISV, we focus on shipping the best-fitting products for our customers without burdening them with understanding and managing the products’ internal architecture and software components.

Open Liberty is one such software component (actually, the most important of them all) given that it powers the core DATA ONE data integration choreographies.

We fell in love with Open Liberty for two main reasons: invisibility and observability. We know this may seem like a contradiction but keep reading to see why it’s not.

Why invisibility?

The perspective of an ISV embedding Open Liberty inside its products is different from that of a business customer installing Open Liberty on-prem or in a cloud environment to run its business application.

At Primeur, we can embed, completely configure and operate Open Liberty within our DATA ONE product without our DATA ONE customers being aware that Open Liberty is even there. They need to care only about DATA ONE.

But invisibility is just one side of the story; we also sought something that is seemingly in stark contradiction with invisibility: observability.

Why observability?

As an ISV, we know that shipping products, installing them in the most frictionless way at customer sites, and adopting them for production is just the beginning of a long journey that can last several years until the next major product version upgrade.

During this time, customers raise support requests to investigate problems that surface in the product but whose root cause can be very remote and well-hidden, especially in hyper-connected and distributed products like DATA ONE. When this happens, we need to diagnose the problem as quickly as possible to limit the impact on the customer’s business.

This is when observability comes into play. Our support team needs to monitor, trace and generally probe Open Liberty until they have identified the root cause of the problem that the customer is seeing.

Open Liberty at Primeur

Since our product leverages both JEE specifications and the OSGi architecture, and one of our platforms on which customers install the product is native IBM z/OS, for us, Open Liberty has been a natural choice compared to other runtimes like Quarkus, Wildfly, Spring Boot, etc.

Furthermore, during our initial software selection process, Open Liberty came out as the best choice for a number of different reasons, some of which were very unique for us as an ISV, others of broad interest for any user:

  • Invisibility and ease of embeddability: Open Liberty can be easily hidden from view, silently installed and silently preconfigured to meet specific customer needs without the customer needing to know that Open Liberty is there at all.
  • Observability: In line with IBM tradition, Open Liberty offers a wide range of problem-determination tools and techniques. Moreover, Open Liberty and IBM Semeru JDK are best friends, making it easier to diagnose problems at the JVM level, too.
  • Modularity: DATA ONE is a distributed application made of several nodes cooperating at runtime. Nodes are grouped together in homogeneous clusters, but different clusters can be optimized for different types of workloads. Open Liberty enables us to transparently provision a runtime that is the best fit for each node’s specific workload.
  • Support: Access to IBM support for both Open Liberty and the underlying Semeru JDK mitigates risks that are hard to identify and solves problems.
  • Updates: Open Liberty is frequently updated with security and non-security fixes. Being such a core component for the DATA ONE product, it is paramount that we can keep it current easily. With the Liberty zero-migration architecture, you can move to the latest version of Liberty with minimal impact on your current applications and configurations.

Accelerate your application delivery with Liberty (IBM WebSphere Liberty or Open Liberty). It’s the next-generation application runtime that accelerates the delivery of cloud-native applications, allowing your team to rapidly deliver differentiating innovation.

z/OS and Primeur

For some of our key customers, the z/OS platform is the most important environment, so we are expected to provide first-class support for it.

IBM Semeru Runtime Certified Edition for z/OS and Open Liberty proved to be the perfect pillars on which to base the rest of our DATA ONE product, thanks to the following capabilities:

  • z/OS-specific APIs (the JZOS APIs) that we use to access z/OS-native datasets.
  • Transparent exploitation of z/OS JAAS Extensions and zSystems cryptographic hardware.
  • Keystore implementations, including RACF keystores, with the Java Cryptography Extension (JCE).
  • The Data Access Accelerator library, which uses efficient binary-coded decimal operators to leverage the latest IBM z/Architecture decimal and vector-packed-decimal instructions to improve the application execution. As an ISV, we were able to strike the optimal balance between platform-specific optimizations and cross-platform architecture consistency, almost for free.

IBM Semeru Runtime Certified Edition for z/OS provides a platform for building highly robust, scalable and reliable modern enterprise apps. Developers can build batch and transactional apps, microservices and more by using Java’s APIs, Libraries and frameworks.  

Future directions

DATA ONE is on a cloud trajectory. Over the next few releases, we will enable specific components and workloads to be optionally containerized and deployed to the cloud. Open Liberty is proving to be the ideal companion for this journey thanks to MicroProfile and OpenShift.

As an ISV, we specifically appreciate the flexibility that the Liberty runtime gives us in adapting our DATA ONE deployments to either a traditional model or to a containerized model (according to our customers’ preferences and skills) and enabling our customers to make the transition from traditional to containerized at their own pace.

Find out more about how to drive innovation and productivity with IBM Websphere Liberty

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