How to Migrate from PL/SQL to Java in 2022?
Have you ever had second thoughts if you were right to choose PL/SQL for your application? Nowadays, using PL/SQL may become an obstacle to reaching your business objectives. In this article, we’ve listed what kind of problems are facing technology leaders whose application is written using Pl/SQL technology. We also give you the idea of what to await if you decide to delegate migrating to Java to a 3rd party contractor. What will the stages of such a project look like? Which resources will be required for you to complete it successfully? Read the article to find out.
As a provider of custom software development services, at ENBISYS we have been performing projects on migration from PL/SQL to Java for Enterprise clients for the past 5 years. Based on our experience, the most common issues that Enterprises face using PL/SQL include:
- difficulties scaling their applications;
- the high cost of hiring PL/SQL developers;
- vendor lock-in.
If you experience at least one of the above-mentioned issues in your business, we suggest you consider the benefits of migrating to Java, but first, let’s look at each of the problems in more detail.
The first issue that enterprises might experience using PL/SQL is scaling their application. Why can it be hard to scale your PL/SQL application:
- as PL/SQL is a procedural language and not an object language, coding becomes a challenge;
- it is impossible to cover the code by automated tests;
- cost of scaling. As PL/SQL database and business logic are tightly coupled, it is difficult to scale both horizontally and vertically;
- monolith limits the freedom to create flexible architecture with effective resource usage, which can significantly increase your infrastructure costs.
As opposed to PL/SQL, Java is a language that can be easily scalable and maintainable, which is exactly what you need to extend the functionality and performance of your application and grow your business.
PL/SQL is proprietary to Oracle. This means that if you have to change the database vendors you would have to update all the existing Oracle PL/SQL code. This is quite an expensive option. With PL/SQL you are limited in the choice of databases, which is called “vendor lock-in”.
With Java, you are not dependent on the database vendor and can switch to any other technology of your choice. Another significant advantage of Java is its ability to move easily from one computer system to another. The ability to run the same program on many different systems is crucial to web software, and Java succeeds at this by being platform-independent at both the source and binary levels.
Because of Java's robustness, ease of use, cross-platform capabilities, and security features, it has become a language of choice for providing web solutions.
Hiring PL/SQL developers
Another reason why companies will be migrating to Java in 2022 is the lack of PL/SQL developers in the labor market and, as a result, the high cost of hiring.
According to stats, the number of Java developers in the U.S. is 16 times the number of PL/SQL developers. Therefore, companies whose systems are based on PL/SQL have to invest much more time and effort into hiring a PL/SQL engineer. Besides, if you do find such a specialist in the market, this will not guarantee that they will be delivering code of the required quality.
In the case of Java developers, you can save on the hiring process as the choice is much wider, while the level of their skills is more stable.
How to launch a project on migrating from PL/SQL to Java?
If you choose to partner with a 3rd party service provider to complete the migration of your application from PL/SQL to Java, make sure that this project follows certain steps.
First of all, your partner must understand how your business works and learn all about your product, strategic goals, competitors, and other specifics. Make sure that your future provider is on the same page with you in terms of the needs and priorities of your business. As a next step, you will be working together to:
- Formulate the project goal and scope
- Develop Java architecture and infrastructure design
- Work out the migration strategy
- Plan resources
- Arrange development process
- Develop Java competencies within your company.
Developing the overall system architecture design on the Java stack starts with exploring the functionality of the information system. Your custom software development provider will need to analyze such system components as application, context, and roles, as well as the system’s functional units and use cases.
Non-functional requirements analysis includes performance, scalability, reliability, failure robustness, and requirements to computational resources. In terms of infrastructure, your contractor will need to get access to deployment and administration schemes as well as dockerizing/virtualization.
At this stage, the expected deliverables will be:
- Description of the new system’s layers and components
- Choice of technologies/frameworks
- Security subsystem
- Scalability limits evaluation
- Resources requirements
- Database management system and data storage system design.
To form your strategy for migrating to Java, together with your provider, you will need to audit the existing program architecture and information system infrastructure. There should be an understanding of data structure (scheme) and data quantity metrics. You must also perform code analysis (complexity, layers, patterns), as well as units/packages and their cohesion and dependencies. And finally, you should analyze integration (external systems, hardware, protocols).
At the stage of risk assessment, it is required to perform a functional regression and analyze the performance and reliability of the system. The procedures must be defined for the final commissioning and QA at your side.
The result of this stage will be the refactoring sequence and method defined. The refactoring method could be partial or full, vertical or cluster.
Which resources are required for migrating from PL/SQL to Java?
At the stage of planning, you will need to share information with your technology partner about which roles and competencies you already have in your team. Besides, the desired project deadline has to be defined. After this step is completed, you will have:
- the structure of the project team on your side and your partner’s side
- pilot project team set up
- a roadmap for scaling your team and your migration process.
Organizing a joint development process
To get the project running, your technology partner will need to learn about the level of involvement and the availability of the Product Owner and SMEs. They would also need to take a close look at your approach to organizing the development process, i.e. which methodologies you use: Scrum, Kanban, Agile, as well as your tools and procedures: grooming, planning, sprints, demos, retros, work complexity evaluation, sprint control, etc. At the end of this stage, you should have your entire development process described.
As we discussed in this article, the benefits of Java include:
- No vendor lock
- Plenty of robust frameworks and components
- Enhanced security of data
- Easy scaling of your system
- Better maintainability for your product
Java migration allows Enterprises to achieve their business goals while being sure that their product is stable, scalable, and maintainable. If you decide to leverage all the advantages of Java listed, you should make sure you pick a skilled and reliable service provider