Click here to close now.


Linux Containers Authors: Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Anders Wallgren, XebiaLabs Blog, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

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
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief Architect at CTS, will explore the synergy of Big Data and IoT. First he will take a closer look at the Internet of Things and Big Data individually, in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. Then he will explore the relationship between IoT and Big Data. Specifically, he will drill down to how the 4Vs aspects intersect with IoT: Volume, Variety, Velocity and Value. In turn, Tony will analyze how the key components of IoT influence Big Data: Device, Connectivity, Context, and Intelligence. He will dive deep to the matrix...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Building actually breathes - immediately flagging overheating in a closet or over cooling in unoccupied ho...
Scott Guthrie's keynote presentation "Journey to the intelligent cloud" is a must view video. This is from AzureCon 2015, September 29, 2015 I have reproduced some screen shots in case you are unable to view this long video for one reason or another. One of the highlights is 3 datacenters coming on line in India.
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect and correlate data from control systems, sensors, mobile devices and IT systems for a variety of Ind...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innovation is automation. The most painful pain point for any business is the mismatch between supplies a...
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
As enterprises capture more and more data of all types – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured – data discovery requirements for business intelligence (BI), Big Data, and predictive analytics initiatives grow more complex. A company’s ability to become data-driven and compete on analytics depends on the speed with which it can provision their analytics applications with all relevant information. The task of finding data has traditionally resided with IT, but now organizations increasingly turn towards data source discovery tools to find the right data, in context, for business users, d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 150 developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project manage...
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless Thingies, will discuss and demonstrate how devices and humans can be integrated from a simple clust...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...