Oracle has announced the formal end of life (EOL) of Java 6 coming up in February of 2013. Given that a significant portion of VMware vFabric Suite customers are still running applications that use Java 6, VMware has chosen to continue support for vFabric Suite running Java 6 applications. This includes a la carte support only contracts for Apache Tomcat and Apache HTTPD. Current versions will not expire their support for Java 6 with the EOL in February, 2013.
Additionally, VMware will continue testing and validating future versions of the vFabric Suite on Java 6 until further notice.
What this means for customers
vFabric customers that chose not to update their applications to Java 7 will still enjoy the same level of support from VMware for their vFabric middleware stack that powers their Java 6 applications, even past its end of life. It also means that Java 6 will continue to be a testing requirement for future versions of vFabric Suite. Customers not interested in updating their applications to Java 7, can continue to trust their vFabric upgrades from VMware.
For customers purchasing a la carte VMware support only for Apache Tomcat or combined support only for Apache Tomcat and HTTPD, they will not violate their support contract by continuing to run applications using Java 6.
This is not support for Java 6
While support will continue for vFabric Suite and Apache products, customers should not use VMware support as direct support for Java 6. Oracle is primarily responsible for the maintenance of this product, and according to their public statement, support ends in February of 2013. Java 6, released in December of 2006, is generally considered by the Java community and VMware Java experts to be stable and mature. However, if problems do occur with the Java platform, as they sometimes do, VMware will be unable to support or correct those issues.
Many companies have a significant investment in Java 6 applications that are stable, productive and important to the success of their business. For that reason, VMware will continue to support our customers as best we can. However, if the future of these applications are important to your business, it is recommended that customers start evaluating application modernization strategies including upgrading to Java 7 today.
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Support for Java 6 on vFabric and Apache products is not limited to existing customers
Customers concerned with the additional risk of running an unsupported version of Java may consider purchasing vFabric Suite or a la carte Apache support from VMware. This support offering will provide customers with the same support options that current customers enjoy.
Additionally, customers considering a la carte Apache Tomcat or Apache HTTPD support from VMware should consider vFabric Suite licenses as support for Apache products is interchangeable at will with licenses and support for vFabric tc Server and vFabric Web Server respectively. Designed to be drop-in replacements for Tomcat and HTTPD, these products may add additional stability to existing Java 6 applications. Licenses for vFabric Suite are intentionally designed to be interoperable, allowing customers to easily swap deployed products, and only charging based on an average 90 day usage of all products.