6 Takeaways on the State of the Java Ecosystem
May 22, 2024

Peter Pezaris
New Relic

Over the past few years, New Relic has monitored the Java ecosystem to better understand how developers currently utilize Java and its adoption rates of new versions. The data gathered helps to provide an improved data-driven approach to software development, deployment, and management.

In April, New Relic published the 2024 State of the Java Ecosystem Report with findings from 2024. The annual report gathers data from hundreds of thousands of applications that report to New Relic with performance information.

Here are six key takeaways from the report:

1. Developers Are Quickly Embracing Java 21

Every six months, Oracle releases new Java versions to provide new features and bug fixes, and every two years, the database introduces new Java long-term-support (LTS) versions, which help improve stability, security, and performance. Released in September of 2023, Java 21 boasted significant updates like virtual threads, updated libraries, and advancements to syntax. In the first six months of its release, the adoption rate for Java 21 (1.4%) was 287% higher than Java 17's initial adoption rate (0.37%).

2. Java 17's Popularity Continues to Rise

Although many developers were quick to implement the new Java version, Java 17 saw a rise in adoption far higher than when Java 11 was released. In 2023, 9% of applications used Java 17 compared to 35% in 2024 — a nearly 300% growth rate year-over-year (YoY).

3. Oracle Is Here to Stay, but Eclipse Adoptium Is the New Rising Star

When Oracle released the first open-source Java version in 2011, it quickly became the preferred Java Developer Kit (JDK), comprising 75% of the Java market by 2020. However, a noticeable shift away from Oracle binaries occurred due to more restrictive licensing of its JDK 11 distribution, resulting in a consistent YoY decline. Amazon took the crown as the top JDK vendor in 2023 with a 31% market penetration and was followed closely by Oracle with 28%. Today, Oracle sits at 21%, representing a 28% decrease in one year. However, while Oracle remains in the top spot in 2024 at 21%, Eclipse Adoptium is following closely behind at 18%, boasting a 50% YoY increase from 2023.

4. Log4j Sweeps the Logging Framework Competition

Logging frameworks are helpful tools for developers to troubleshoot issues and fixes. Various logging frameworks exist to provide the necessary information from the log messages without adversely affecting the application's performance. Of the Java applications reporting to New Relic, 91% use logging frameworks. This year, the data showed that the most popular logging framework is Log4j, with 76% of Java applications using it.

5. Bouncy Castle Is the Most Popular Encryption Library

Encryption libraries are common amongst Java applications reporting to New Relic, with 41% using them. Bouncy Castle remains a tried-and-true library thanks to its set of cipher suites and utilities, and 17% of applications use it today. Following Bouncy Castle, Spring Security is the second most used (6%), along with Jasypt (6%).

6. Oracle Database Is the Preferred System for Enterprises

Oracle Database's scalability and capabilities of handling large amounts of data aptly and swiftly make it among the most preferred database systems for Java applications. Additional benefits include customer support and a strong toolbox. Notably, 17% of applications reporting to New Relic use Oracle Database, making it the most widely used. The second most popular is the open-source database PostgreSQL, with 14% of applications reporting to New Relic using it.

Peter Pezaris is Chief Design and Strategy Officer at New Relic
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