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Yemelyan Pavlov
Yemelyan Pavlov

WebSphere Liberty: How to Migrate Your Apps from Open Liberty or Other Application Servers


IBM Liberty is a next-generation application runtime that accelerates the delivery of cloud-native applications, allowing your team to rapidly deliver differentiating innovation. Whether you're running microservices in a serverless environment or a traditional always-on application, Liberty requires less infrastructure, saving costs, and providing the flexibility your organization needs to deploy on any cloud in a trusted, secure and open environment.

Liberty is built upon an open source foundation, called Open Liberty, which reflects the IBM belief in the value of open standards and open community innovation and testing. Open Liberty supports the latest MicroProfile, Jakarta EE and Java EE standards, enabling you to avoid vendor lock-in and leverage the best practices of the industry.

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In this article, you will learn more about the features, benefits, installation, and configuration of IBM Liberty. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how IBM Liberty can help you drive innovation and productivity with your cloud-native applications.


IBM Liberty offers a range of features that make it a powerful and flexible application runtime for cloud-native applications. Some of the main features are:

  • Liberty Tools: These are developer tools that provide a first-class cloud-native developer experience in leading Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), such as Eclipse and Visual Studio Code. With Liberty Tools, you can work on your code and configuration and see the results immediately without rebuilding, redeploying or restarting your application. You can also use Dev Mode to run your application in containers, giving you production parity. Additionally, you can use Liberty InstantOn (which we will see later) to achieve rapid startup times for your application.

  • Liberty Features: These are the units of functionality that you can use to control the pieces of the runtime environment that are loaded into a particular server. You can choose from a variety of features that support different technologies and standards, such as MicroProfile, Jakarta EE, Java EE, Web Profile, GraphQL, Telemetry and more. You can also use the featureUtility command to install additional features from the Liberty Repository.

  • Liberty InstantOn: This is a new capability that enables your application to start up 10 times faster than without InstantOn. InstantOn uses a combination of techniques such as class data sharing, ahead-of-time compilation and dynamic class loading to optimize your application startup time. InstantOn is especially useful for developing serverless applications that need to respond quickly to requests.

  • Semeru Cloud Optimizer: This is another new capability that helps you optimize your memory usage and reduce your cloud costs by up to 40%. Semeru Cloud Optimizer is based on OpenJ9 technology that provides advanced memory management features such as class unloading, heap compaction and container awareness. Semeru Cloud Optimizer also uses machine learning to monitor your application behavior and adjust your memory settings accordingly.


IBM Liberty provides many benefits for your organization and your development team. Some of the benefits are:

  • Increase productivity: With Liberty Tools, you can increase your productivity by up to 50%, as you can focus on writing code instead of waiting for builds, redeploys or restarts. You can also use vendor-neutral cloud-native APIs that enable you to leverage the best practices of the industry and avoid integration problems.

  • Reduce costs: With Liberty InstantOn and Semeru Cloud Optimizer, you can reduce your infrastructure and license costs by up to 40%, as you can use less resources and pay only for what you use. You can also use open source technology that reduces your vendor dependency and licensing fees.

  • Improve quality: With Liberty Features, you can improve the quality of your application by using only the features that you need, reducing the complexity and risk of errors. You can also use the latest standards and technologies that are tested and certified by the open community.

  • Enhance security: With Liberty, you can enhance the security of your application by using built-in security features such as authentication, authorization, encryption, single sign-on, and more. You can also use the Secure Service Container technology that provides a tamper-proof and encrypted environment for your application and data.

  • Boost performance: With Liberty, you can boost the performance of your application by using a lightweight and modular runtime that consumes less memory and CPU than traditional application servers. You can also use advanced performance features such as dynamic routing, caching, load balancing, and more.


There are different ways to install IBM Liberty on your system. You can choose the method that suits your needs and preferences. Some of the common methods are:

  • Download from IBM website: You can download IBM Liberty from the IBM website by selecting the edition and platform that you want. You can choose from different editions such as Liberty Core, Liberty Base, Liberty ND, Liberty z/OS, and more. You can also download a trial version for free. After downloading the zip file, you can extract it to a directory of your choice and start using Liberty.

  • Use Docker images: You can use Docker images to run IBM Liberty in containers. You can pull the official IBM Liberty images from Docker Hub or build your own images using Dockerfiles. You can also use OpenShift or Kubernetes to orchestrate your containers. Using Docker images allows you to achieve production parity and portability for your application.

  • Use Maven or Gradle plugins: You can use Maven or Gradle plugins to install IBM Liberty as part of your build process. You can specify the version and features of Liberty that you want to use in your pom.xml or build.gradle file. You can also use the plugins to run tests, deploy applications, and manage servers. Using Maven or Gradle plugins allows you to automate your development workflow and integrate with other tools.

  • Use Eclipse Marketplace: You can use Eclipse Marketplace to install IBM Liberty Tools for Eclipse. This will allow you to create, run, debug, and deploy Liberty applications from within Eclipse. You can also use the WebSphere Developer Tools (WDT) to access additional features such as server configuration editor, feature manager, and more. Using Eclipse Marketplace allows you to leverage the power and convenience of Eclipse for your development.


There are different tools that you can use to configure IBM Liberty according to your needs and preferences. Some of the common tools are:

  • Server.xml file: This is the main configuration file for your Liberty server. It contains information such as server name, features, applications, variables, logging, security, and more. You can edit this file manually using a text editor or programmatically using APIs. You can also use variables to externalize configuration values from this file.

  • Liberty Admin Center: This is a web-based user interface that allows you to manage and configure your Liberty servers. You can access it by adding the adminCenter-1.0 feature to your server.xml file and opening the URL https://localhost:9443/adminCenter/ in your browser (assuming that 9443 is your default HTTPS port). You can use this tool to perform tasks such as adding or removing features, deploying or undeploying applications, editing server configuration, viewing logs, monitoring performance, and more.

  • Liberty Command Line Interface (CLI): This is a command-line tool that allows you to perform various operations on your Liberty servers. You can access it by running the bin/server script in your Liberty installation directory with different arguments. You can use this tool to perform tasks such as creating or deleting servers, starting or stopping servers, installing or uninstalling features, packaging or dumping servers, viewing logs, and more.

  • Liberty Collective Controller: This is a special type of Liberty server that allows you to manage multiple Liberty servers as a collective. You can create a collective controller by adding the collectiveController-1.0 feature to your server.xml file and registering other Liberty servers as collective members. You can use this tool to perform tasks such as deploying applications, updating configuration, applying fixes, and monitoring health across the collective.


IBM Liberty is a next-generation application runtime that accelerates the delivery of cloud-native applications. It offers a range of features and benefits that make it a powerful and flexible choice for your organization and your development team. You can install and configure IBM Liberty using different methods and tools that suit your needs and preferences. You can also use IBM Liberty to run applications that support the latest standards and technologies, such as MicroProfile, Jakarta EE, Java EE, and more.

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If you want to learn more about IBM Liberty, you can visit the official website, the documentation, the blog, or the community. You can also try IBM Liberty for free by downloading the trial version or using the IBM Cloud.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and informative. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. Happy coding!


Here are some frequently asked questions about IBM Liberty:

  • Q: What is the difference between IBM Liberty and Open Liberty?

  • A: Open Liberty is the open source foundation of IBM Liberty. It provides the core features and functions of Liberty, such as the runtime environment, the feature manager, the server configuration, and more. IBM Liberty is the commercial version of Open Liberty that provides additional features and capabilities, such as security, performance, management, support, and more. You can switch between Open Liberty and IBM Liberty without changing your code or configuration.

  • Q: How can I migrate my existing applications to IBM Liberty?

  • A: You can migrate your existing applications to IBM Liberty using different tools and guides that are available on the IBM website. You can use the Migration Toolkit for Application Binaries to analyze your application binaries and identify any potential migration issues or configuration changes. You can also use the Migration Toolkit for Eclipse to migrate your application projects from other application servers to IBM Liberty. Additionally, you can use the Migration Guides to follow step-by-step instructions on how to migrate your applications from different sources to IBM Liberty.

  • Q: How can I develop microservices with IBM Liberty?

  • A: You can develop microservices with IBM Liberty using different technologies and frameworks that are supported by Liberty, such as MicroProfile, Jakarta EE, Spring Boot, Node.js, Python, Ruby, and more. You can use Liberty Tools to create, run, debug, and deploy your microservices from within your IDE. You can also use Dev Mode to run your microservices in containers and see the changes instantly without rebuilding or restarting. Furthermore, you can use Liberty Features to enable different functionalities for your microservices, such as fault tolerance, health check, metrics, tracing, and more.

  • Q: How can I monitor and troubleshoot my IBM Liberty applications?

  • A: You can monitor and troubleshoot your IBM Liberty applications using different tools and techniques that are available on the IBM website. You can use Liberty Admin Center to view logs, metrics, health reports, thread dumps, heap dumps, and more. You can also use Logstash Collector to collect logs from multiple Liberty servers and send them to a centralized location. Additionally, you can use Java Flight Recorder (JFR) to record detailed information about your application performance and behavior.

  • Q: How can I secure my IBM Liberty applications?

  • A: You can secure your IBM Liberty applications using different features and mechanisms that are provided by Liberty, such as authentication, authorization, encryption, single sign-on, and more. You can also use Secure Service Container to run your applications in a tamper-proof and encrypted environment. Additionally, you can use Liberty Security Features to enable different security standards and protocols for your applications, such as OAuth, OpenID Connect, JWT, SAML, and more.


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