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Unbreakable Java: A Java Server That Never Goes Down

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Developers using Java on clients or in small projects may not believe that there is a fundamental problem with Java's robustness. People working with huge applications and application servers written in Java know about the problem but may doubt that it's possible to build something like an unbreakable Java architecture. Some may even remember the White Star Line promising that their ocean liner Titanic was unsinkable; an iceberg in the North Atlantic proved them wrong and demonstrated that there is no such thing as an unsinkable ship. Is it really possible to build a Java application server that never goes down?

It's All About Isolation
The key to understanding robust Java is isolation, isolation, and isolation. Robust applications, especially robust application servers, require a high level of isolation between users. It's not acceptable that an error occurring while processing one user's request may affect all users connected to the system. The complexity of software systems makes it impossible to develop software that is completely free of errors, so errors will always happen. Only isolation can provide real robustness by limiting the impact of errors.

The design of the Java Virtual Machine ignores the painful lessons operating system vendors have learned in the past 40 years. The concepts of processes, virtual memory management, and different protection modes for kernel and user code can be found in all modern operating systems. They focus on the question of isolation and therefore robustness: an application with errors cannot affect the other applications running in the system.

In contrast, Java follows the all-in-one-VM paradigm: everything is processed inside one virtual machine running in one operating system process. Inside the VM, parallelism is implemented using threads with no separation regarding memory or other resources. In this respect Java has not changed since its invention in the early nineties. The fact that Java was originally invented as a programming language for embedded devices may explain this approach.

There Is No Isolation in Java

Why and what can be done read more here


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