Oracle has announced changes to the licensing policy and release cadence of Java software - how are Remedy products affected?
Please check the available documentation for ARS v.19.02 and Java 11 and OpenJDK
Statement of direction: Support for Java 11
Oracle has announced a major change to their licensing policy and release cadence for Java SE (Standard Edition including both JDK and JRE).
Traditionally Oracle Java SE technologies (commonly referred as Java 6, Java 7, Java 8 etc) were available for production deployments without need for any licensing or support arrangements with Oracle (BCL licensing). Also, public updates to Java ensured that periodically Customers would be able to upgrade Java to a secured and updated version.
Oracle has moved Java SE to a Long-Term-Support (LTS) release model beginning with Java 11 ("18.9 LTS"). This Oracle JDK 11 (and higher versions in future) will be available to Oracle Customers under commercial support contracts (Long-Term-Support) for production deployments. Enterprises that prefer stability, so that they can run multiple large applications on a single shared Java release, can use the current long-term support release. Commercial support (Long-Term-Support) will be available for 5 years (+ 3 years extended support) after an LTS release and include periodic updates which may include security and performance fixes. Also Enterprises can plan ahead to migrate from one long-term support release to the next, every three years.
To minimize impact of this Oracle licensing change to Remedy Customers, Remedy application now include support for open-source builds of the Java Development Kit, an implementation of the Java SE Platform under the GNU General Public License – commonly referred as OpenJDK builds.
This support for OpenJDK in Remedy application is effective with the Remedy 19.02 release.
OpenJDK is open source and production ready alternative (11.0.1 onwards) for Oracle JDK. Similar to getting Oracle Java SE binaries for free in the past, Customers can simply continue doing so with OpenJDK builds available at http://jdk.java.net/
This open source distribution OpenJDK has releases scheduled every 6 months. Customers must upgrade OpenJDK to the latest release every 6 months since OpenJDK will no longer provide public updates for prior OpenJDK releases (including security vulnerability updates).
What Remedy application changes do I need to be aware of before using either Oracle JDK or OpenJDK with Remedy 19.02?
Java software is a runtime prerequisite for Remedy software. For a number of years now, BMC has relied on customers providing the Java software for their Remedy environment. During installation of the Remedy AR System platform software, administrators point to the compatible Java software environment to be used. This gives customers control over which Java software in their IT environment and how they install it.
This approach does not change with the recently announced changes around Oracle’s licensing policy and release cadence of Java software. In addition, starting with the Remedy 19.02 release, BMC also plans to require that customers provide a Java software environment for running the Remedy installers, so that there is a consistent approach how to handle Java software dependencies.
In order to give customers the choice to use either a Long-Term Support (LTS) Java version like Java 8 (as needed, with commercial support from Oracle) or an OpenJDK Java version, BMC plans to declare compatibility for multiple Java versions with each Remedy version in the future. For the upcoming Remedy 19.02 release, BMC plans to list both Java 8 as well as the latest Java version (Java 11 - Oracle JDK and OpenJDK both) as compatible.
Assuming Oracle doesn’t break backwards compatibility of new Java versions, BMC plans to certify new OpenJDK release (e.g. Java 12) with existing Remedy releases (e.g. Remedy 19.02) shortly after availability, so that customers can regularly update their Java environment and not require commercial support from Oracle. Please note that this certification of new Java versions with older Remedy versions will be limited.
BMC plans to follow a similar model for future releases of Remedy and declare compatibility to multiple Java versions, including the latest available Java versions. BMC will eventually drop support for Java versions when the End of Public Updates date is reached for OpenJDK builds, or when End of Premier Support date is reached for LTS versions. Details about compatible Java versions are available in BMC’s SOLUTION AND PRODUCT AVAILABILITY AND COMPATIBILITY tool and in the Remedy AR System compatibility document in the Remedy IT Service Management Suite online documentation space of the respective product version.
BMC Helix Remedy customers don’t need to worry about Oracle’s changes in the licensing policy and release cadence of Java software, because BMC provides Remedy as a service and thus is responsible for managing the entire software deployment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Traditionally OpenJDK lacked some features present in Oracle JDK. Will lack of these features/capability impact my Remedy application?
Answer: Along with change in licensing and releases, Oracle also committed to make OpenJDK and Oracle JDK ‘Functionally identical and interchangeable’ starting Java 11 (Reference - https://blogs.oracle.com/java-platform-group/oracle-jdk-releases-for-java-11-and-later). Same reference page also list small number of differences in these JDK builds that are continued even with Java 11.
Based on this assurance from Oracle and our lab test results, we have not seen any functional or performance impact when using OpenJDK 11 for Remedy deployment.
Question: There is no reference to support for Java 9 or Java 10 here? Can you clarify if these are supported for Remedy deployments?
Answer: Java 9 or Java 10 are not supported for any version of Remedy. These versions followed 6 month release cadence and are now superseded by Java 11.
Question: Can I continue to use Java 8 when using Remedy 19.02? Why should I upgrade to a new Java version?
Answer: Remedy 19.02 will allow backward compatibility for applications running on Java 8. However also note that Oracle has announced end of public updates for Java SE 8 beginning January 2019 for Commercial Users. Only customers with Premier Support from Oracle will get updates to Java SE 8 from Oracle. For others, continued use of Java 8 beyond January 2019 may leave your system open for security vulnerabilities or performance issues among other things. More details here - https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/java-se-support-roadmap.html
Question: How will the change in Oracle Java license will affect our operations?
Answer: There should be no change to the way you use Remedy applications. Due to the change in Oracle Java licensing, you have the choice to stay on the latest version of Java 8, and receive no Java updates, OR, if you have Long-Term-Support (LTS), you can get updates. If you are using Remedy 19.02, you can use OpenJDK.
Question: Will there be any security risk or performance issues?
Answer: There should be no security or performance risk. However, if you choose to remain on a version of Java without any updates, security risks identified in future may be relevant to your environment. As at the time of release of 19.02, there were no known security risks with using the latest version of Java 8.
Question: If we change to Open JDK instead of Oracle JDK, is Remedy ARS 9.1.x support Open JDK?
Answer: No, OpenJDK is only supported from Remedy version 19.02. It is not supported for any 9.1 version. This may change in future, but as at February 2019, only 19.02 support OpenJDK