Support For Java 7 Ending WAS 8.5 On IBM i
July 18, 2022 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops that are running the traditional version of WebSphere Application Server 8.5 atop a Java 7 codebase will need to upgrade to Java 8 or risk running out of support from IBM.
At the end of July, IBM will cease to support WAS Traditional 8.5 running on JDK 7.0/7.1. Customers will need to upgrade their WAS 8.5 environments to JDK 8.0 to maintain support with IBM. IBM currently provides full support for WAS 8.5 and WAS 9.0 running on JDK 8.0. You can read more about this on the Official Support Statement for the IBM WebSphere Application Server Product on the IBM i OS webpage.
IBM maintains both server-side and client-side support for various IBM i products. Server-side products, such as WAS, tend to be supported on older releases of Java, while client-side solutions, like Access Client Solutions (ACS), tend to support newer releases of Java and the Java Development Kit (JDK).
Support for Java 8 on WebSphere Liberty was removed back in September 2019. However, ava 8 remains the mainstream Java release for IBM i, even though the mainstream IT community has moved on to newer releases, including Java 11, Java 14, which was released in 2020, and Java 17, which was released in late 2021.
IBM has traditionally been conservative in its Java support on IBM i, as it chooses to support only the biggest long term releases (LTRs), which include Java 8, 11, 14, and 17. Concerns about application compatibility issues slowed the adoption of Java 11 on IBM i. IBM finally adopted Java 11 for IBM i 7.3 and 7.4 back in September 2021. However, it doesn’t look as though Java 11 is supported in WAS traditional environments. There’s no word on supporting Java 14 and 17.
While newer releases of Java are supported by IBM for client-side needs, Java 8 appears to be the go-to release for server-side needs, at least for the time being. “IBM recommends using JDK v8.0 as your default JDK version on your IBM i server,” the company states on its official Java support for IBM i webpage. For instructions on how to download and install the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Java development kits, click here.
IBM currently supports four “Java SR” releases on IBM i, including 7.0, 7.1, 8.0, and 11. According to its Java SR delivery schedule for IBM i, it has updates planned for 7.0, 7.1, and 8.0 during the third quarter of 2022. (An update for Java 11 is labeled “TBD.”) The newer releases of IBM i, including 7.4 and 7.5, are required to run the two newer releases of Java, 8.0 and 11.