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Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma

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Why are Companies stuck with Java 8?

Java 8, which was released in 2014, is considered quite old now, having been around for almost 9 years. However, many projects and companies are still on Java 8/JDK 8.

According to survey data, 46% of projects are still using JDK 8 as of 2022.

Chart of JDK Usage

Is Java 8 the best Java release to date? Why don't the projects upgrade the JDK?
Let me attempt to list the key improvements that Java 8 introduces before we attempt to respond to this. The Streams API, Lambda Expressions, functional interfaces, the new date-time API, and default methods were all presented as essential features.
In this blog, I want to go over the challenges faced in migrating to newer versions and, with that, what benefits a team can get if they keep the latest long-term supported version of JDK.
It is important to understand why teams are reluctant to upgrade the JDK project, I tried to summarize a few points based on my experience:

  • Stability and Compatibility: JDK 8 has established itself as a reliable and stable Java version. This version, which has undergone thorough testing and debugging, has been the foundation around which many businesses have built their systems and applications. Companies may be cautious about moving since upgrading to newer versions could cause compatibility problems with already-existing codebases, libraries, and frameworks.
  • Limited Resources and Time Constraints: Java version upgrades can be time-consuming processes that demand a lot of skill and resources. Companies frequently have a backlog of tasks and objectives, which makes it difficult to conduct the extensive testing and compatibility tests required for a seamless transfer. Moreover, limited financial resources and understaffing further impede improvement efforts.
  • **Dependence on Older Libraries: **Some businesses depend on third-party libraries that haven't been upgraded to work with more recent Java versions. These dependencies present a problem since, before upgrading, businesses must confirm that all system components are compatible. Companies may be discouraged from switching since it can be difficult to upgrade existing libraries or locate substitutes.
  • Compatibility Concerns with Legacy Systems: Upgrading Java versions presents special difficulties for businesses with extensive legacy systems. These systems might be bound to JDK 8 by extensive dependencies, dated components, or unique configurations. The process of upgrading these systems to more recent versions of Java is hard and risky because it calls for thorough planning, intensive testing, and potential refactoring.
  • Risk Mitigation: For some companies, the perceived risks of upgrading outweigh the benefits. Newer versions may introduce unidentified bugs or behavioral changes, whereas JDK 8 is an established, mature version with a solid track record. Organizations that are risk-averse can choose to continue with the secure and comfortable environment that JDK 8 offers rather than take a chance on interruption or unforeseen behavior.

But let’s assume you managed to overcome these challenges and decided to upgrade the JDK versions. What benefits can you can expect with JDK Upgrade:

  • Performance improvements: Each JDK version includes performance upgrades that may lead to decreased memory usage and increased execution speed. Cost savings may result from this, particularly in big setups with several JVMs. Bug fixes and security patches: Upgrading to newer JDK versions ensures access to security updates, bug fixes, and patches that address vulnerabilities and improve overall stability and dependability.
  • Access to new features: New features and functionalities are added to the JDK with each new release, which can improve development productivity, allow for better code optimization, and provide users access to modern language capabilities. Attractiveness to developers: Using recent JDK versions can be enticing to developers that favor cutting-edge technology. It can support keeping up with competition in the job market and luring top personnel.

Path to upgrade

  • Recommended upgrade path: It is generally advised to follow a step-by-step upgrade path, such as moving from JDK 8 to 11, then to 16, and finally to 17. This ensures a smoother transition and allows for compatibility testing and adjustments along the way. Encapsulation changes: With JDK 11, stronger encapsulation of JDK internals was introduced. Therefore, migration from JDK 11 to 16 may reveal different issues compared to migration from JDK 11 to 17. Workarounds may be required when a drop-in replacement is not feasible.


Overall, while upgrading JDK brings benefits, such as improved performance, bug fixes, and access to new features, teams may encounter challenges related to library compatibility, ecosystem adoption, and codebase adjustments. Careful planning, testing, and collaboration between development and operations teams can help mitigate these challenges and ensure a successful JDK upgrade.

Top comments (3)

donalfonsnisnoni profile image
Don Alfons Nisnoni

Well explained! Thank you πŸ‘πŸΌ

saven profile image


ashusharmatech profile image
Ashutosh Sharma

If on Java 6, you should upgrade 😁