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Most popular Java application servers: 2017 edition

May 23, 2017 by Nikita Salnikov-Tarnovski Filed under: Java

This is now the 5th year when we publish statistics about the Java landscape. Every year, during springtime, we dig into the data that we have gathered from the JVMs Plumbr Java Agents have monitored. The outcome of this has been published to you to see understand which Java versions are currently the most adopted, which JVM vendor rules the market and what is the distribution of the market for different Java application servers.

Few weeks ago we exposed the data about Java versions and vendors. This week we are exposing the state in the application server market.

The following conclusions are based on 1,633 different deployments that Plumbr monitored for performance during February and March 2017. The data has been gathered from within the JVMs monitored by our Java Agent in SaaS installations of Plumbr.

Which Java application server is the most widely used in 2017?

From the deployments we gathered the data from, we were able to identify the application server and its vendor in just slightly under 60% of the environments. This ratio has been dropping over the years and provides insights on its own. Apparently more and more Java deployments do not really bother with wrapping themselves inside an application server and pick a more lightweight option.

These container vendors distributed as follows:

java ee container popularity

Tomcat share in the Java application server installation base has grown even more. The 63.9% share of the pie left no question about the winner. In addition to Tomcat, next four vendors having significant deployment base are:

  • JBoss/WildFly installations, having 13.8% of the market share
  • Jetty, with 9% of the market
  • GlassFish, having another 5.6% of the pie
  • Oracle WebLogic deployments with 4.5% of the installations

The “Other” category represented less than 3.4% of the installations. This consisted of Resin, Orion, OC4J and IBM WebSphere deployments, all detected in less than five deployments.

Java application servers in use 2013 – 2017

Presenting the same data over the period from 2013 to 2017 where we have analyzed the same data, we see the following:

java ee container usage stats 2013 - 2017

Just in case you are not into stacked bar charts, here is the raw data in tabular format as well:

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Tomcat 45.2% 40.5% 58.7% 58.2% 63.8%
JBoss/WildFly 17.4% 18.0% 15.7% 20.2% 13.8%
Weblogic 3.3% 5.5% 9.9% 2.9% 4.5%
Jetty 24.7% 31.0% 8.8% 10.7% 9.0%
GlassFish 7.4% 4.0% 5.1% 5.6% 5.6%
Other 2.0% 1.0% 1.8% 2.4% 3.4%

There is only one major conclusion that can be drawn from the trends: Tomcat remains the clear #1 preference, extending its footprint slowly but steadily year over year.

Other trends or changes should be interpreted carefully. For example the reason why Jetty dropped to just third of its former glory on 2015 is likely caused by Plumbr transformation from a development tool to a monitoring solution. Instead of the developer-friendly Jetty the production deployments with other Java application servers took its share of the deployments.

If you found the data interesting, you are likely to enjoy our regular posts on Java & performance monitoring. To stay tuned, subscribe either to our Twitter or RSS feed.




No Websphere (WAS traditional, WAS liberty, Open Liberty [Opensource] ) ? Not possible, It generates for IBM more than a Billion dollars a year in licensing.


Payara Server is originally derived from GlassFish and is much more regularly updated. Has enterprise support available as well.

Jadon Ortlepp

Tomcat and Jetty are Servlet Containers and not Application Servers. This article does not do a fair comparison- A Java based “Web” application, that is hosted on “Tomcat” cannot and must not be compared with Application Servers such as WildFly, TOMEE, GlassFish and of course Weblogic.

Satinder SINGH

I agree, Jetty is NOT an Application Server, it’s a servlet container with HTTP server. Jetty is NOT JEE complaint.


Very good static data


So, why are web servers Tomcat and Jetty being used in an app server comparison? Wouldn’t TomEE be a more likely candidate?


I think its because many of them use tomcat in the back end and then try to charge for it


still don’t get it. is tomcat (and the rest of them) individual services? they all run on java?


Very good observations

Vitaly grinnerg