Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Derek Weeks, Patrick Hubbard

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Best Practices in Migrating from .NET to Linux

Visual MainWin for J2EE - A Way Out of Vendor Lock-In

For many businesses, the Web storefront is the only point of contact for customers, and for others it's a major one. As such, it's important that this architecture meets the needs of your business, not just from a technology point of view but from a strategic one. No business likes to have an important asset be vulnerable to the whims of a particular vendor, and this is particularly true of a technology asset. As you probably know in IT there are two broad options that can implement your business needs: the Microsoft family of Windows and .NET products, and the open standards community.

The Microsoft option is compelling given the Visual Studio.NET development tools that are so incredibly productive in implementing software - and this is key in the success of the .NET framework. However, if you use Microsoft you're locked into a single vendor and potentially exposed to changes in its strategy or technology. If your inclination is to migrate to architectures that are no longer single vendor-dependent then J2EE provides a runtime environment that's generally considered superior to .NET insofar as scalability, security, manageability, and flexibility are concerned, and you have a choice of operating systems on which to run including Windows, Unix, Solaris, and of course Linux.

If you've ever considered taking your existing .NET server code and migrating it to run on J2EE and Linux or any other operating system, you would probably have deduced or heard that despite the surface similarities between C# and Java, the differences between the underlying class libraries and runtimes will make it unfeasible to migrate and easier to re-architect from the ground up. However, using the right combination of best practices and a tool from Mainsoft called Visual MainWin for J2EE, you'll find out that it isn't just possible to do this - but in some cases it's actually easy. By following these best practices for application design and using this tool for application migration, you'll find that the process will be orders of magnitude faster than trying to port by hand.

The Price of High Productivity
The Visual Studio.NET development environment is a very impressive tool that empowers developers to build applications quickly. It comes bundled with many controls that let you do drag-and-drop development, saving you from writing many hundreds of lines of code. However this productivity leads a developer to write monolithic applications.

Take the case of a simple Web app that retrieves data from a database, enriches the data through analytics, and then presents the data in a Web-based user interface. Using the Visual Studio.NET IDE you can easily create a Web application with an ASPX Web Form for the user interface. On this form you drag-and-drop controls that manage the connection to the database, generate data classes that represent the data for you, bind the visual controls to the data, and off you go. In some cases, you can build the application without writing any code whatsoever.

The cost of such high productivity is that the entire application is effectively a single tier. There's no separation of the retrieval, representation, logic, and presentation tiers; they're all blended into a single application domain in a 'Solution Workspace' in the Visual Studio.NET IDE.

It's important to note that Visual Studio.NET doesn't force this on you - there's nothing to stop you from building an application in separate tiers, but, it's a typical scenario that the IDE is designed to handle and is optimized for.

In trying to port an application like this to Java to run on the J2EE framework, you'll face a number of problems. Much of the C# code that's been generated for you by the IDE uses the .NET class libraries, and these libraries have a different structure than the corresponding Java ones, which makes the code that uses them impossible to port without rewriting. In many cases, C# supports functions that Java doesn't, and vice-versa, so you can end up either having to rewrite your code in the first case, or having code that isn't optimized for Java in the latter. In addition many user controls, or user interface controls that make the high-productivity, low-coding environment possible, don't have source code available for you to translate, so you'll have to rewrite them from scratch.

It makes for a difficult and expensive porting proposition.

If you have a monolithic .NET-based application there are a number of best practices in architecting your .NET application that will make the porting process easier and let the Java version of your application use your mainframe's full J2EE capabilities. Depending on your requirements, you could simply use the Visual MainWin for J2EE tool to port it as-is, getting yourself up and running quickly. But before jumping into that, it's worth looking at the best practices that will help you get the most out of the J2EE platform after migration. Then you can decide.

Best Practice 1: Design as an N-Tier Loosely Coupled Architecture
The same application can be re architected to be loosely coupled and operate in tiers. You can see a sample high-level architecture in Figure 1. The overall application has been split into four application domains, each one being a tier in the architecture. These are:

  • Data Tier: This is where the data is stored usually in a relational database, but it can also be in a flat file format, or a service behind a HTTP, or other server that delivers data to you. When implementing your database behind a data retrieval tier, you're not limited to Microsoft SQL Server, and can use various Open Source or low-cost databases such as PostgreSQL or MySQL.
  • Data Retrieval Tier: This is a tier that understands the Data Domain and how to access data on it. So if for example the Data Domain contains a DB2 database, the data retrieval tier has JDBC connectors for DB2 and logic that wraps these connectors that your application can use. This tier has knowledge of the specific queries or stored procedures that your application needs, and can execute them on the data store.
  • Data Enrichment and Business Logic Tier: This tier gathers information from one or more data retrieval applications and applies business logic to this data. The business logic can take many forms including analytics, data enrichment and data aggregation as shown in the diagram.
  • Presentation Tier: This tier contains the logic to present a visual interface to your users and all logic required to pass their input to the business logic tier as well as return information to them from the business logic tier.
Now that your application architecture has been nicely separated, you could go ahead and rebuild each of these tiers using Java if you like, but there are two other best practices that you could look at first that will make life much easier before you do.

Best Practice 2: Use Web Services in the Middleware
The data retrieval tier and the business logic tier make up the middleware of the system. They're the hub around which the system runs and the important value-added middle ground between the user interface and the underlying data. If they could be implemented as Web Services, you could buy a lot of flexibility for your port.

This is because a Web Service isn't a physical implementation of logic. It's an abstract entity that defines the interface to the underlying physical implementation. This interface is defined using an XML-based language called WSDL (Web Services Description Language), an open standard supported by all vendors that lets you communicate with the underlying functionality using a document constructed out of another standard XML-based language called SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).

More Stories By Laurence Moroney

Laurence Moroney is a senior Technology Evangelist at Microsoft and the author of 'Introducing Microsoft Silverlight' as well as several more books on .NET, J2EE, Web Services and Security. Prior to working for Microsoft, his career spanned many different domains, including interoperability and architecture for financial services systems, airports, casinos and professional sports.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effic...
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CHEETAH Training & Innovation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CHEETAH Training & Innovation is a cloud consulting and IT training firm specializing in improving clients cloud strategies and infrastructures for medium to large companies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and thei...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...