Research Report Confirms Shift to Apache Tomcat


The move from big legacy Java EE application servers such as IBM WebSphere and Oracle WebLogic to Apache Tomcat is accelerating, according to a recent Tomcat survey that MuleSoft drove in collaboration with Computerworld.

This shift is not that surprising if you think about the following benefits of moving to Apache Tomcat:

  • Dramatic reduction in capital and operational expenses
  • Increased productivity for IT staff as they are now managing a simpler, lightweight application server vs. a behemoth
  • Reduced friction between development and production as the target runtime remains the same between development and production
  • Fewer downtimes caused by untested technology in Java EE app servers that you may not even need
  • Reduced load on servers and resources, resulting in less space and power consumption in the data center.
  • Wider availability of IT talent to recruit that knows Apache Tomcat vs. a legacy Java EE app server
  • Reduce chance for development to use “resume building” technologies even when not needed
  • Faster start/stop/restart times
  • Strength in numbers – millions of users already using Tomcat
  • No vendor lock-in

According to the research report, 36% of WebLogic and WebSphere users are likely to move away from their legacy application servers. That’s a very high percentage when you consider how long application servers have been on the market.

Furthermore, of the people who are considering migrating away from WLS and WAS, almost half are frustrated with vendor lock-in, and over a third consider their app server to be too expensive for the value they are receiving.

Overwhelmingly, people using Apache Tomcat responded that they were looking for specific improvements in Tomcat:

  • Server administration (84%)
  • Performance monitoring and diagnostics (84%)
  • Application configuration automation (82%)
  • Better integration with development tools (78%)
  • Application deployment and release management (73%)
  • Professional support (73%)

R2 includes all of these features and is the ideal solution for people who want to move away from their legacy application server but are looking for enterprise support and features not currently available in “plain vanilla” Apache Tomcat. Download Tcat Server and take it for a test drive today!

If you are looking for tips on how to migrate off of your legacy Java EE app server to Tomcat, read this whitepaper.

Where do we go from here? With the increased adoption of virtualization in the data center, increased focus on energy consumption, and with the opportunities to further reduce costs by using cloud infrastructure, IT organizations are looking to reduce the weight and run time of their workloads. Therefore, it seems logical that this will lead to further adoption of Apache Tomcat in the data center.

Do you agree? What is your experience, and what direction are you taking?

We'd love to hear your opinion on this post

5 Responses to “Research Report Confirms Shift to Apache Tomcat”

  1. And this is surprising since Tomcat kind of sucks. Resin is free, open source and just better than tomcat.

  2. The direction I am taking is Glassfish v3 or JBoss 6 not Tomcat where I have to download (manually or automatically with Maven) all the .jar for ORM, JTA, JMS, WS, MVC …

  3. Your blog title is entirely misleading!

    The report doesn’t say anything about respondents moving specifically to Tomcat (or Tomcat derivatives), it merely says 36% of respondents would like to move app servers if they could..

    ..and the primary reasons for moving are for enterprise focused features which are not available from a vanilla Tomcat implementation…

    I think the most salient fact is that only 11% of respondents use Tomcat in a production environment!

  4. David, Thai and Rob, thank you for your comments.

    David, What exactly in Tomcat that you do not like?. would be interested to hear your detailed feedback.

    Thai, what I am seeing in the market is that 90% + of the web app developers do not use full stack of Java EE and they want something simpler. Looks like your applications have a need for full Java EE stack. If you want to evaluate how you can migrate away from Java EE app server to Tomcat and want to know what to look for in your applications, please read the white paper on migrating from WebLogic to Apache Tomcat here:

    Rob, the report shows 44% of the respondents use, this compares to 22% of JBoss and 11% of GlassFish. Tomcat is moving into production, and the indications are that this movement will accelerate over period of time. You are correct in that Tomcat is not the dominant app server in production today, which actually presents a great opportunity for IT to dramatically cut down their capital and operational expenses by moving away from expensive, legacy Java EE application servers to Apache Tomcat.

  5. I am with Thai Dang Vu here. Why use Tomcat when you can use GlassFish? It’s free. It’s fast. It has good IDE and admin support. It loads just the stuff you need, so you don’t pay for the EE features you don’t care about. But they are there when you need them, without going through JAR hell.