Home » Java » Enterprise Java » Most popular application servers

About Vladimir Sor

Vladimir Šor is a technical founder of Plumbr. “How to detect performance bottlenecks with minimal overhead? How to identify and trace down root causes with no direct access to source code?“ - these are the questions Vladimir has managed to solve and keeps solving for further Plumbr releases.

Most popular application servers

This is the second post in the series where we publish statistical data about the Java installations. The used dataset originates from free Plumbr installations out there totalling 1,024 different environments we have collected during the past six months.

First post in the series analyzed the foundation – on what OS the JVM is run, whether it is a 32 or 62-bit infrastructure and what JVM vendor and version were used. In this post we are going to focus on the application servers used. It proved to be a bit more challenging task than originally expected – the best shot we had towards the goal was to extract it from the bootstrap classpath. With queries similar to “grep -i tomcat classpath.log”. Which was easy. As opposed to discovering that:
Out of the 1024 samples 92 did not contain a reference to bootstrap classpath at all. Which was our first surprise. Whether they were really ran without any entries to bootstrap classpath or our statistics just do not record all the entries properly – failed to trace the reason. But nevertheless, this left us with 932 data points. Out of the remaining 932 we were unable to link 256 reports to any of the application servers known to mankind. Before jumping to the conclusion that approx. 27% of the JVMs out there are running client side programs, we tried to dig further

  • 57 seemed to be launched using Maven plugins, which hides the actual runtime from us. But I can bet the vast majority of those are definitely not Swing applications.
  • 11 environments were running on Play Framework, which is not using Java EE containers to run.
  • 6 environments were launched with Scala runtime attached, so I assume these were also actually web applications.
  • 54 had loaded either jgoodies or swing libraries which make them good candidates for being a desktop application
  • 6 were running on Android. Which we don’t even support. If you guys can shed some light on how you managed to launch Plumbr with Android, let us know.
  • And the remaining 122 – we just failed to categorize – they seemed to range from MQ solutions to batch processes to whatnot.

But 676 reports did contain reference to the Java EE container used. And results are visible from the following diagram:

Application Server Marketshare

The winner should not be a surprise to anyone – Apache Tomcat is being used in 43% of the installations. Other places on the podium are a bit more surprising – Jetty coming in second with 23% of the deployments and JBoss third with 16%. The expected result was exactly reversed, but apparently the gears have shifted during the last years.

Next group contains Glassfish, Geronimo and Weblogic with 7, 6 and 3% of the deployment base respectively. Which is also somewhat surprising – having just 20 Weblogic installations and Websphere nowhere in sight at all – the remaining five containers altogether represent less than 2% of the installations. I guess all the pragmatic-lean-KISS-… approach is finally starting to pay off and we are moving towards tools developers actually enjoy.

Reference: Most popular application servers from our JCG partner Vladimir Sor at the Plumbr Blog blog.

Do you want to know how to develop your skillset to become a Java Rockstar?

Subscribe to our newsletter to start Rocking right now!

To get you started we give you our best selling eBooks for FREE!


1. JPA Mini Book

2. JVM Troubleshooting Guide

3. JUnit Tutorial for Unit Testing

4. Java Annotations Tutorial

5. Java Interview Questions

6. Spring Interview Questions

7. Android UI Design


and many more ....


Receive Java & Developer job alerts in your Area

I have read and agree to the terms & conditions


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
9 years ago

interesting, even if most are servlet containers (not application servers)

Jim Willeke
Jim Willeke
9 years ago
Reply to  max_max

Of course they are application servers, servlets are applications, even if they are not J2EE servers.

Oğuzhan Acargil
9 years ago
Reply to  Jim Willeke

Servlets are applications:) but application server is not anything that runs application.

Bernard Ligny
Bernard Ligny
9 years ago

I agree with max_max. Tomcat and Jetty are not playing in the same league as “real” application servers like JBoss or GlassFish. Anyway, the interesting conclusion is that, although app servers did these last years an important effort (in terms of booting time, in terms of ease of use, etc…) people seem to still prefer lightweight and simple solutions (but with limited capabilities)…