Reliable web app pattern for Java – Apply the pattern

The reliable web app pattern provides essential implementation guidance for web apps moving to the cloud. It defines how you should update (re-platform) your web app to be successful in the cloud.

There are two articles on the reliable web app pattern for Java. This article provides code and architecture implementation guidance. The companion article provides planning guidance. There’s a reference implementation (sample web app) of the pattern that you can deploy.


The reliable web app pattern situates code changes within the pillars of the Azure Well-Architected Framework to reinforce the close relationship between code and architecture. This guidance uses the reference implementation architecture to illustrate the principles of the reliable web app pattern (see figure 1). The reliable web app pattern is a set of principles with implementation guidance. It’s not a specific architecture. It’s important that your web app adheres to the principles of the pattern, not this specific architecture. Diagram showing the architecture of the reference implementation. Figure 1. Target reference implementation architecture. Download a Visio file of this architecture. For the estimated cost of this architecture, see the production environment cost and nonproduction environment cost.

Principles and implementation

The following table lists the principles of the reliable web app pattern and how to implement those principles in your web app. For more information, see Reliable web app pattern overview.

Table 1. Pattern principles and how to implement them.

Reliable web app pattern principles How to implement the principles
Reliable web app pattern principles:
▪ Minimal code changes
▪ Reliability design patterns
▪ Managed services

Well Architected Framework principles:
▪ Cost optimized
▪ Observable
▪ Ingress secure
▪ Infrastructure as code
▪ Identity-centric security
▪ Retry pattern
▪ Circuit-breaker pattern
▪ Cache-aside pattern
▪ Rightsized resources
▪ Managed identities
▪ Private endpoints
▪ Secrets management
▪ Terraform deployment
▪ Telemetry, logging, monitoring


A reliable web application is one that’s both resilient and available. Resiliency is the ability of the system to recover from failures and continue to function. Availability measures whether your users can access your web application. The following reliability recommendations cover resiliency and availability at the code, infrastructure, and data levels.

Code reliability

Your code should implement reliability design patterns. Reliability design patterns improve the reliability of service-to-service communication your web app. You should add the Retry pattern and Circuit Breaker pattern to your web app.

Use the Retry pattern. The Retry pattern is a technique for handling temporary service interruptions. These temporary service interruptions are known as transient faults and typically resolve themselves in a few seconds. The leading causes of transient faults in the cloud are service throttling, dynamic load distribution, and network connectivity. The Retry pattern handles transient faults by resending failed requests to the Azure service.

You can configure the amount of time between retries and how many retries to attempt before throwing an exception. If your code already uses the Retry pattern, you should update your code to use the Retry mechanisms available for Azure services and client SDKs. If your application doesn’t have a Retry pattern, you should add one based on the following guidance. For more information, see Transient fault handling and Retry pattern.

You should use Resilience4j to implement the Retry pattern in Java. Resilience4j is a lightweight, fault-tolerance library. It provides higher-order functions (decorators) to enhance functional interfaces, lambda expressions, and method references with a Circuit Breaker, Rate Limiter, Retry, or Bulkhead design pattern.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation adds the Retry pattern by decorating a lambda expression with the Retry annotations. The code retries the call to get the media file from disk. The following code demonstrates how to use Resilience4j to retry a call to Azure Files to get the last modified time.

private MediaFile checkLastModified(MediaFile mediaFile, MusicFolder folder, boolean minimizeDiskAccess) {
    Retry retry = retryRegistry.retry("media");
    CheckedFunction0<MediaFile> supplier = () -> doCheckLastModified(mediaFile, folder, minimizeDiskAccess);
    CheckedFunction0<MediaFile> retryableSupplier = Retry.decorateCheckedSupplier(retry, supplier);
    Try<MediaFile> result = Try.of(retryableSupplier).recover((IOException) -> mediaFile);
    return result.get();

The code uses the retry registry to get a Retry object. It also uses Try from the Vavr library. Try performs error handling and recovery in Java applications. In this code, Try recovers from an exception and invokes another lambda expression as a fallback. The code returns the original MediaFile when the number of retries reaches the set maximum number. The reference implementation configures the retry properties in the For more information, see Spring Retry and the Resilience4j documentation.

Simulate the Retry pattern: You can simulate the Retry pattern in the reference implementation. For instructions, see Simulate the Retry pattern.

Use the Circuit Breaker pattern. You should pair the Retry pattern with the Circuit Breaker pattern. The Retry pattern handles transient fault. The Circuit Breaker pattern handles faults that aren’t transient. The Circuit Breaker pattern prevents an application from repeatedly invoking a service that is down. The Circuit Breaker pattern releases the application from a repeatedly failed request. It helps avoid wasted CPU cycles and improves application performance. For more information, see Circuit Breaker pattern, Spring Circuit Breaker, and Resilience4j documentation.

Simulate the Circuit Breaker pattern: You can simulate the Circuit Breaker pattern in the reference implementation. For instructions, see Simulate the Circuit Breaker pattern.

Infrastructure reliability

Infrastructure refers to the physical components supporting your web app. The way you architect these components affects the reliability of your web app. Architecture refers to the arrangement, distribution, and connections among the web app components. The architecture is the foundation for reaching the service level objective you set for your web app.

Determine infrastructure redundancy. The number of regions a web app should use is a key design decision. You should use the service level objective for the web app as a starting point. A single region might not allow you to reach your service level objective. You need to deploy your app to multiple regions if a single region isn’t sufficient. Web apps should use availability zones to increase infrastructure redundancy.

Determine region configuration (if applicable): Multi-region web apps can have an active-active configuration or active-passive configuration. An active-active configuration uses both regions in normal operations. An active-passive configuration has a primary region (active region) and secondary region (passive region). You only use the secondary region in a failover scenario.

In general, you should use an active-active configuration if your web app requires minimal to no downtime. You should use an active-passive configuration if you can tolerate up to two hours of downtime per failover event. For more information, see App Service disaster recovery strategies and Storage redundancy.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation uses two regions in an active-passive configuration. Proseware had a 99.9% SLO and needed to use two regions to meet the SLO. The active-passive configuration aligns with Proseware’s goal of minimal code changes for this phase in the cloud journey. The active-passive configuration provides a simple data strategy. It avoids needing to set up event-based data synchronization, data shards, or some other data management strategy. All inbound traffic heads to the active region. If a failure occurs in the active region, Proseware manually initiates its failover plan and routes all traffic to the passive region.

Data reliability

Data reliability relies on synchronizing data across multiple locations. Regions and availability zones are the primary location types in Azure. In general, the more isolated these locations are from each other the higher your data reliability.

Define the recovery point objective. A recovery point objective (RPO) is the maximum amount of data you’re okay losing during an outage. For example, an RPO of one hour means you lose up to an hour of the most recent data changes. Define an RPO for each web app.

Configure data replication. Your architecture and RPO determine how you should replicate your data. Most Azure data services offer synchronous data replication between availability zones in a region. You should use multiple availability zones for an easy boost to data reliability.

Multi-region web apps with an active-passive configuration need to replicate data to the passive region for disaster recovery. The web app RPO determines the frequency of the data replication. The replication needs to happen more frequently than your RPO. An RPO of one hour means you need to replicate data at least once every hour. A multi-region in an active-active configuration needs to synchronize data across regions in near real-time. Data synchronization across regions often requires code changes.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation has two main data stores: Azure Files and PostgreSQL database. The reference implementation uses geo-zone-redundnant storage (GZRS) with Azure Files. GZRS asynchronously creates a copy of Azure Files data in the passive region. Check the last sync time property to get an estimated RPO for the synchronization. For the Azure Database for PostgreSQL, the reference implementation uses zone redundant high availability with standby servers in two availability zones. The database also asynchronously replicates to the read replica in the passive region. Azure Files GZRS and the Azure Database for PostgreSQL read replica are central to Proseware’s failover plan.

Create a failover plan

A failover plan (disaster recovery plan) outlines how you’ll respond to an outage. Your failover plan should define what an outage means for your web app. You can define outage in terms of downtime or loss of functionality. For more information, see App Service disaster recovery.

Determine the recovery time objective. The recovery time objective (RTO) is the maximum, acceptable downtime for a web app. For example, an RTO of four hours means the web app should be operational within four hours of a disruption. You can have multiple RTOs relating to different features in a web app. Each RTO should tie back to your SLO.

Define failover duration. The failover process needs to take less time than your RTO. An RTO of four hours means you need to fail over and be operational within four hours.

Determine failover mechanism. You can automate the failover process or use a manual process. Automating the failover makes the results of the failover more consistent, but it creates the potential that someone could initiate a failover accidentally. Consider a manual initiation of the failover. You can automate aspects of the failover to help ensure consistent results.

Outline the return process. The failover plan needs to define the steps to return to normal operations. Most failover plans revert to the state before the failover.

Test the failover plan. You need to test the failover plan regularly. You should use a test environment to avoid production issues. The test environment should resemble the production environment as closely as possible.


Security is a critical component of architectural design. The goal is to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your data and systems. The following guidance outlines the key security concepts that you need to implement.

Enforce least privileges

The principle of least privilege means you should only grant users (user identities) and Azure services (workload identities) the permissions they need.

Assign permissions to user identities. You need to map users to roles and give the appropriate permissions to those roles. The number and type of roles you use depends on the needs of your application.

Assign permissions to workload identities. You should enforce the principle of least privilege for workload identities across all Azure services. Workload identity permissions are persistent. You can’t provide just-in-time or short-term permissions to workload identities. You should assign only the necessary permissions to the workload identity. The underlying Azure service should only be able to perform its required functions within the workload. For example, workload identities often need to create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) operations in a database and read secrets.

There are two ways to manage access for workload identities. (1) You can control access by using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) role-based access control (RBAC). (2) You can also control access at the Azure-service level with access policies. You should prioritize Azure RBAC to manage permissions over Azure-service level access controls. Azure RBAC ensures consistent, granular, and auditable access control with Azure AD that simplifies access management. For example, you need to create an identity for your web app in Azure AD. You should use Azure RBAC to grant the least number of permissions the web app needs to function to the web app identity. For more information, see:

Configure user authentication and authorization

Authentication and authorization are critical aspects of web application security. Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user. Authorization specifies the actions a user is allowed to perform within the application. The goal is to implement authentication and authorization without weakening your security posture. To meet this goal, you need to use the features of the Azure application platform (Azure App Service) and identity provider (Azure AD).

Configure user authentication. Your web app needs to prioritize the authentication of users to help ensure the security and integrity of the application. To configure user authentication, you should use the capabilities of the web application platform. App Service enables authentication with identity providers, including Azure AD. You should use this feature to reduce the responsibility of your code to handle user authentication. For more information, see Authentication in App Service.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation uses Azure AD as the identity platform. Using Azure AD as the identity platform requires an application registration in the primary tenant. The application registration ensures the users that get access to the web app have identities in the primary tenant. The following Terraform code explicitly enables authentication and requires authentication to access the web app.

data "azuread_client_config" "current" {}

resource "azuread_application" "app_registration" {
  display_name     = "${azurecaf_name.app_service.result}-app"
  owners           = [data.azuread_client_config.current.object_id]
  sign_in_audience = "AzureADMyOrg"  # single tenant

The following code configures Azure Active Directory as the authentication provider. It uses a client secret stored in an Azure Key Vault.${airsonic-application-client-secret}

Integrate with the identity provider. You need to integrate the web application with the identity provider (Azure AD) in the code to help ensure secure and seamless authentication and authorization.

The Spring Boot Starter for Azure AD is an excellent option for integrating with Azure AD. This starter provides a simple and efficient way to implement enhanced-security authentication at the code level. It uses the Spring Security and Spring Boot frameworks. The Spring Boot Starter for Azure AD provides several benefits. It supports various authentication flows, automatic token management, and customizable authorization policies. It enables integration with other Spring Cloud components such as Spring Cloud Config and Spring Cloud Gateway. By using the Spring Boot Starter for Azure AD, you can integrate Azure AD and OAuth 2.0 authentication and authorization into the Spring Boot application without manually configuring the required libraries and settings. For more information, see Spring Boot Starter for Azure AD.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation uses the Microsoft identity platform (Azure AD) as the identity provider for the web app. It uses the OAuth 2.0 authorization code grant to sign in a user with an Azure AD account. The following XML snippet defines the two required dependencies of the OAuth 2.0 authorization code grant flow. The dependency spring-cloud-azure-starter-active-directory enables Azure AD authentication and authorization in a Spring Boot application. The dependency org.springframework.boot: spring-boot-starter-oauth2-client supports OAuth 2.0 authentication and authorization in a Spring Boot application.


For more information, see Spring Cloud Azure support for Spring Security.

Implement authentication and authorization business rules. Implementing authentication and authorization business rules involves defining the access control policies and permissions for various application functionalities and resources. You need to configure Spring Security to use Spring Boot Starter for Azure AD. This library allows integration with Azure AD and helps you ensure that users are authenticated securely. Configuring and enabling the Microsoft Authentication Library (MSAL) provides access to more security features. These features include token caching and automatic token refreshing.

Reference implementation The reference implementation creates two app roles (User and Creator). Roles translate into permissions during authorization. The Creator role has permissions to configure the application settings, upload videos, and create playlists. The User role can view the videos.

To integrate with Azure AD, the reference implementation had to refactor the has the class-level annotation @EnableWebSecurity. @EnableWebSecurity enables Spring Security to locate the class and allows the class to have custom Spring Security configuration defined in any WebSecurityConfigurer. WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter is the implementation class of the WebSecurityConfigurer interface. Extending the WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter class enables endpoint authorization.

For Azure AD, the AadWebSecurityConfigurerAdapter class protects the routes in a Spring application, and it extends WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter. To configure the specific requirements for the reference implementation, the WebSecurityConfiguration class in the following code extends ADWebSecurityConfigurationAdapter.

The antMatchers method enforces authorization to the specified routes. For example, users making a request to /deletePlaylist* must have the role APPROLE_Creator. The code doesn’t allow users without APPROLE_Creator to make the request.

public class WebSecurityConfiguration extends AadWebSecurityConfigurerAdapter {

  protected void configure(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {
      // Use required configuration from AadWebSecurityAdapter.configure:
      // Add custom configuration:

          .antMatchers("/recover*", "/accessDenied*", "/style/**", "/icons/**", "/flash/**", "/script/**", "/error")
          .antMatchers("/deletePlaylist*", "/savePlaylist*")
          .hasAnyAuthority("APPROLE_User", "APPROLE_Creator")
          .addFilterBefore(aadAddAuthorizedUsersFilter UsernamePasswordAuthenticationFilter.class)
          .logout(logout -> logout
              .deleteCookies("JSESSIONID", "XSRF-TOKEN")

Express your application needs in Azure AD. Most apps use application roles. Application roles are custom roles for assigning permissions to users or applications. The application code defines the application roles, and it interprets the application roles as permissions during authorization. You can define application roles as Azure AD roles that the MSAL configuration can use. The Azure AD roles provide the backing for the access that the application roles receive. Azure AD authorizes users by using the application roles.

The appRoles attribute in Azure AD defines the roles that an app can declare in the application manifest. The appRoles attribute allows applications to define their own roles. When a user signs in to the application, Azure AD generates an ID token that contains various claims. This token includes a roles claim that lists the roles assigned to the user.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation uses an app registration to assign Azure AD users an app role (User or Creator). The app roles allow users to sign in to the application. The following JSON shows what the User and Creator appRoles look like in Terraform.

data "azuread_client_config" "current" {}

resource "azuread_application" "app_registration" {
  display_name     = "${azurecaf_name.app_service.result}-app"
  owners           = [data.azuread_client_config.current.object_id]
  sign_in_audience = "AzureADMyOrg"  # single tenant

  app_role {
    allowed_member_types = ["User"]
    description          = "ReadOnly roles have limited query access"
    display_name         = "ReadOnly"
    enabled              = true
    id                   = random_uuid.user_role_id.result
    value                = "User"

  app_role {
    allowed_member_types = ["User"]
    description          = "Creator roles allows users to create content"
    display_name         = "Creator"
    enabled              = true
    id                   = random_uuid.creator_role_id.result
    value                = "Creator"

For more information, see:

Configure service authentication and authorization

You need to configure user authentication and authorization so users can access the web app. You also need to configure service authentication and authorization so the services in your environment have the permissions to perform necessary functions.

Use managed identities. Managed identities create an identity in Azure AD that eliminates the need for developers to manage credentials. The web app receives a workload identity (service principal) in Azure AD. Azure manages the access tokens behind the scenes. Managed identities provide benefits for authentication, authorization, and accounting. For example, you can use a managed identity to grant the web app access to other Azure resources such as Azure Key Vault and Azure databases. You can also use a managed identity to enable a CI/CD pipeline that deploys a web app to App Service.

However, keeping your on-premises authentication and authorization configuration can improve your migration experience in some cases. For example, hybrid deployments, legacy systems, and robust on-premises identity solutions could be reasons to delay the adoption of managed identities. You should keep the on-premises setup and modernize your identity solution later. For more information, see:

Reference implementation. The reference implementation keeps the on-premises authentication mechanism for the database (username and password). As a result, the reference implementation stores the database secret in Key Vault. The web app uses a managed identity (system assigned) to retrieve secrets from Key Vault.

Use a central secrets store (Key Vault)

The term secret refers to anything that you don’t want exposed in plain text (passwords, keys, certificates). After you migrate your app to the cloud, you might have secrets that you need to manage. You should store all these secrets in Key Vault.

Many on-premises environments don’t have a central secrets store. As a result, key rotation is uncommon and auditing access to a secret is difficult. In Azure, the central secrets store is Key Vault. You can use Key Vault to store keys and to manage, audit, and monitor access to secrets.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation stores the following secrets in Key Vault: (1) PostgreSQL database username and password, (2) Redis Cache password, and (3) the client secret for Azure AD associated with the MSAL implementation.

Don’t put Key Vault in the HTTP-request flow. Key Vault has service limitations to safeguard resources and ensure optimal service quality for its clients. The original intent of Key Vault was to store and retrieve sensitive information during deployment. Organizations sometimes use Key Vault for runtime secret management, and many applications and services treat it like a database. However, the Key Vault limitations don’t support high throughput rates and might affect performance if Key Vault is in the HTTP-request flow. When a key vault reaches a service threshold, it limits any further requests from the client and returns HTTP status code 429. The web app should load values from Key Vault at application start time. For more information, see Key Vault transaction limits.

Use one method to access secrets in Key Vault. There are two methods to configure a web app to access secrets in Key Vault. (1) You can use an app setting in App Service and inject the secret as an environment variable. (2) You can reference the secret in your application code. Add a reference to the app properties file so the app can communicate with Key Vault. You should pick one of these two methods and use it consistently. You should also avoid using both methods because it creates unneeded complexity.

To integrate Key Vault with a Spring application, you need to (1) add the Azure Spring Boot Starter For Azure Key Vault Secrets in the pom.xml file and (2) configure a Key Vault endpoint in either the file or as an environment variable.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation uses the following code to add the Azure Spring Boot Starter For Azure Key Vault Secrets in the pom.xml:


The reference implementation uses an environment variable in the App Service Terraform file to configure the Key Vault endpoint. The following code shows the environment variable.


The reference implementation sets the property to true in the file. This property allows Spring Cloud Azure to inject secrets from Azure Key Vault. The ${database-app-user-password} is an example of Spring Cloud Azure injecting a secret into the web application.


Avoid using access keys for temporary access where possible. Granting permanent access to a storage account is a security risk. If attackers obtain the access keys, they have permanent access to your data. It’s a best practice to use temporary permissions to grant access to resources. Temporary permissions reduce the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.

For temporary account access, you should use a shared access signature (SAS). There’s a user delegation SAS, a service SAS, and an account SAS. You should use a user delegation SAS when possible. It’s the only SAS that uses Azure AD credentials and doesn’t require a storage account key.

Reference implementation. Sometimes access keys are unavoidable. The reference implementation needs to use a Storage account access key to mount a directory with Azure Files to App Service. The web app uses the Azure Files integration in App Service to mount an NFS share to the Tomcat app server. The mount allows the web app to access the file share as if it were a local directory. This setup enables the web app to read and write files to the shared file system in the cloud.

Use private endpoints

Private endpoints provide private connections between resources in an Azure virtual network and Azure services. By default, communication to most Azure services crosses the public internet. You should use private endpoints in all production environments for all supported Azure services. Private endpoints don’t require any code changes, app configurations, or connection strings. For more information, see How to create a private endpoint and Best practices for endpoint security.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation uses private endpoints for Key Vault, Azure Cache for Redis, and Azure Database for PostgreSQL. The reference implementation doesn’t use a private endpoint for Azure Files for deployment purposes. The web app needs to load the user interface with playlists and videos from the local client IP address. A private endpoint would block this deployment step. So we opted for a service firewall. Azure Files only accepts traffic from the virtual network and the local client IP of the user executing the deployment. Since you don’t need to populate data like this in production, you should use a private endpoint.

Use a web application firewall

You should protect web applications with a web application firewall. The web application firewall provides a level protection against common security attacks and botnets. To take full advantage of the web application firewall, you must prevent traffic from bypassing it.

You should restrict access on the application platform (App Service) to accept only inbound communication from your gateway instance, Azure Front Door in this architecture. You can (1) use Azure Front Door private endpoint, or (2) you can filter requests by the X-Azure-FDID header value. The App Service platform and Java Spring can filter by header value. You should use App Service as the first option. Filtering at the platform level prevents unwanted requests from reaching your code. You need to configure what traffic you want to pass through your WAF. You can filter based on the host name, client IP, and other values. For more information, see Preserve the original HTTP host name

Reference implementation. The reference implementation filters requests to ensure they pass through the WAF. It uses a native network control in App Service that looks for a specific X-Azure-FDID value.

resource "azurerm_linux_web_app" "application" {

    site_config {

        ip_restriction {
           service_tag               = "AzureFrontDoor.Backend"
          ip_address                = null
          virtual_network_subnet_id = null
          action                    = "Allow"
          priority                  = 100
          headers {
            x_azure_fdid      = [var.frontdoor_profile_uuid]
            x_fd_health_probe = []
            x_forwarded_for   = []
            x_forwarded_host  = []
          name = "Allow traffic from Front Door"

Configure database security

Administrator-level access to the database grants permissions to perform privileged operations. Privileged operations include creating and deleting databases, modifying table schemas, or changing user permissions. Developers often need administrator-level access to maintain the database or troubleshoot issues.

Avoid permanent elevated permissions. You should only grant the developers just-in-time access to perform privileged operations. With just-in-time access, users receive temporary permissions to perform privileged tasks

Don’t give application elevated permissions. You shouldn’t grant administrator-level access to the application identity. You should configure least-privileged access for the application to the database. It limits the blast radius of bugs and security breaches. You have two primary methods to access the Azure PostgreSQL database. You can use Azure AD authentication or PostgreSQL authentication. For more information, see JDBC with Azure PostgreSQL.

Cost optimization

Cost optimization principles balance business goals with budget justification to create a cost-effective web application. They help reduce unnecessary expenses and improving operational efficiencies. This section describes cost-optimization recommendations to apply while re-platforming a web app.

Reference implementation. The app uses Azure Files integrated with App Service to save training videos that users upload. Refactoring this integration to use Azure Storage blobs would reduce hosting costs and should be evaluated as a possible future modernization.

Rightsize resources for each environment

Production environments need SKUs that meet the service level agreements (SLAs), features, and scale needed for production. But nonproduction environments don’t normally need the same capabilities. You can optimize costs in nonproduction environments by using cheaper SKUs that have lower capacity and SLAs. You should consider Azure Dev/Test pricing and Azure Reservations. How and whether you use these cost-saving methods depends on your environment.

Consider Azure Dev/Test pricing. Azure Dev/Test pricing gives you access to select Azure services for nonproduction environments at discounted pricing under the Microsoft Customer Agreement. The plan reduces the costs of running and managing applications in development and testing environments, across a range of Microsoft products. For more information, see Dev/Test pricing options.

Reference implementation. This architecture doesn’t apply Azure Dev/Test pricing. Azure Dev/Test pricing didn’t cover any of the components.

Consider using cheaper SKUs in non-production environments. You can use different SKUs across environments to save cost. If you use different SKUs or components for development, you might not encounter specific application issues until you deploy to production. It’s essential to account for these differences and incorporate them into your testing cycles. For instance, if you only use Web Application Firewall (WAF) and Azure Front Door in production, you might not discover potential WAF false positives (valid requests that WAF blocks), routing problems, and host-header issues until you deploy the application to production.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation has an optional parameter that deploys different SKUs. An environment parameter instructs the Terraform template to select development SKUs. The following code shows this environment parameter.

azd env set APP_ENVIRONMENT prod

Proseware uses the same infrastructure-as-code (IaC) templates for development and production deployments. The only difference is a few SKU differences to optimize cost in the development environment. Proseware chose to use cheaper SKUs in the development environment for Azure Cache for Redis, App Service, and Azure Database for PostgreSQL Flexible Server. The following table shows the services and the SKUs Proseware chose for each environment. You should choose SKUs that meet the needs of each environment.

Table 2. Reference implementation SKU differences between the development and production environments.

Service Development environment SKU Production environment SKU
Azure Cache for Redis Basic Standard
App Service P1v3 P2v3
Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Flexible Server Burstable B1ms (B_Standard_B1ms) General Purpose D4s_v3 (GP_Standard_D4s_v3)

Consider Azure Reservations or an Azure savings plan. You can combine an Azure savings plan with Azure Reservations to optimize compute cost and flexibility. Azure Reservations helps you save by committing to one-year or three-year plans for multiple products. The Azure savings plan for compute is the most flexible savings plan. It generates savings on pay-as-you-go prices. Pick a one-year or three-year commitment for compute services, regardless of region, instance size, or operating system. Eligible compute services include virtual machines, dedicated hosts, container instances, Azure Functions Premium, and App Service.

Plan your commitments around your team’s architecture roadmap. For example, if you plan on being using the same database engine for a year or more, that would make a good candidate for a reserved instance. For more information, see Azure Reservations and Azure savings plans for compute.

Reference implementation. Azure Database for PostgreSQL is a prime candidate for a reserved instance based on the plan to stick with this database engine for at least a year after this initial convergence on the cloud phase.

Automate scaling the environment

You should use autoscale to automate horizontal scaling for production environments. Autoscaling adapts to user demand to save you money. Horizontal scaling automatically increases compute capacity to meet user demand and decreases compute capacity when demand drops. Don’t increase the size of your application platform (vertical scaling) to meet frequent changes in demand. It’s less cost efficient. For more information, see Scale up an app in Azure App Service and Overview of autoscale in Microsoft Azure.

Delete nonproduction environments

To optimize cost, it’s recommended that you delete nonproduction environments during periods of low activity such as business hours or holidays. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that any unused environments are deleted in a controlled and repeatable process. For example, you can build a deployment pipeline with automated steps for deleting environments.

Operational excellence

The reliable web app pattern has several recommendations for improving operations in the cloud. You should use infrastructure as code (IaC) to deploy application infrastructure, configure services, and set up application telemetry. Monitoring operational health requires telemetry to measure security, cost, reliability, and performance gains. The cloud offers built-in features to configure and capture infrastructure and application telemetry. You should use these features improve performance and reduce costs. By analyzing performance metrics, you can identify inefficiencies in the application and make adjustments to optimize performance and reduce the resources needed to run the application. These factors are key to operational excellence.

Enable logging and application telemetry

For tracing and debugging, you should enable logging to diagnose when any request fails. The telemetry you gather from your application should cater to its operational needs. At a minimum, you must collect telemetry on baseline metrics. You should gather information on user behavior that can help you apply targeted improvements.

Monitor baseline metrics. The workload should monitor baseline metrics. Important metrics to measure include request throughput, average request duration, errors, and monitoring dependencies. We recommend that you use Application Insights to gather this telemetry.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation demonstrates how to programmatically enable Application Insights. To enable Application Insights, you need to add the following Maven dependency to the pom.xml file.


This dependency adds the necessary Application Insights components to your application build. It allows you to visualize metrics in Azure Application Insights. Spring Boot registers several core metrics in Application Insights such as Java virtual machine (JVM), CPU, Tomcat, and others. Application Insights automatically collects from logging frameworks such as Log4j and Logback. For more information, see:

Create custom telemetry and metrics as needed. In addition to the baseline metrics in Application Insights, you should create custom telemetry to better understand your users and their interactions with your application. Application Insights allows you to gather custom telemetry, and you can also collect custom metrics through Micrometer. The goal is to gain deeper insights into your application’s performance and user behavior, so you can make more informed decisions and improvements.

Gather log-based metrics. You should track log-based metrics to gain more visibility into essential application health and metrics. You can use Kusto Query Language (KQL) queries in Application Insights to find and organize data. You can run these queries in the portal. Under Monitoring, select Logs to run your queries. For more information, see Azure Application Insights log-based metrics and Log-based and preaggregated metrics in Application Insights.

Enable platform diagnostics

A diagnostic setting in Azure allows you to specify the platform logs and metrics you want to collect and where to store them. Platform logs are built-in logs that provide diagnostic and auditing information. You can enable platform diagnostics for most Azure services, but each service defines its own log categories. Different Azure services have log categories to choose.

Enable diagnostics for all supported services. Azure services create platform logs automatically, but the service doesn’t store them automatically. You must enable the diagnostic setting for each service, and you should enable it for every Azure service that supports diagnostics.

Send diagnostics to same destination as the application logs. When you enable diagnostics, you pick the logs you want to collect and where to send them. You should send the platform logs to the same destination as the application logs so you can correlate the two datasets.

Reference implementation. The reference implementation uses Terraform to enable Azure diagnostics on all supported services. The following Terraform code configures the diagnostic settings for the PostgreSQL database.

# Configure Diagnostic Settings for PostgreSQL
resource "azurerm_monitor_diagnostic_setting" "postgresql_diagnostic" {
  name                           = "postgresql-diagnostic-settings"
  target_resource_id             =
  log_analytics_workspace_id     = var.log_analytics_workspace_id

  enabled_log {
    category_group = "allLogs"

    retention_policy {
      days    = 0
      enabled = false

Use a CI/CD pipeline

You should use a CI/CD pipeline to automate deployments from source control to your App Service environments (test, staging, production). If you use Azure DevOps, build your pipeline with Azure Pipelines. If you use GitHub, use GitHub actions. Your pipeline should follow standard best practices.

Use unit (JUnit) tests. Your pipeline should execute and pass all unit (JUnit) tests before deploying the changes to the App Service. We recommend using code quality and code coverage tools in your pipeline to ensure you test enough of your code. It includes tools such as SonarQube, JaCoCo, and others.

Use a Java mocking framework. You should use a mocking framework (Mockito, Easy Mock, or other Java implementations) to simulate tests on external endpoints. With mocking frameworks, you don’t need to hard-code tests to specific external endpoints. Instead, you use simulated (mock) endpoints. By simulating the endpoints, you don’t need to set up and configure actual external endpoints for testing. The result is a consistent testing experience across different environments.

Scan code for security vulnerabilities. The build pipeline should conduct security checks. You should use static code analysis testing (SAST) to identity security vulnerability and coding errors in the application source code. You need to do a software composition analysis (SCA) to scan third-party libraries and components for security vulnerabilities. Both GitHub and Azure DevOps provide native support for these security tools and make them easy to integrate into your pipeline.

Govern production deployments. You need to establish guidelines for deploying code to production and create an approval process for all production deployments.

Performance efficiency

Performance efficiency is the ability of a workload to scale and meet the demands placed on it by users in an efficient manner. In cloud environments, a workload should adapt to increases and decreases in demand. Autoscaling is the key configuration to meet this demand, and it helps optimize performance and cost. You should enable autoscaling in your App Service plan to scale out (increase the number of instances) and in (decrease the number of instances) to meet fluctuations in user demand. The Cache-Aside pattern is a performance design pattern that you should use to improve performance and optimize costs when managing application data.

Use the Cache-Aside pattern

The Cache-Aside pattern is used to manage in-memory data caching. In this pattern, the application is responsible for managing data requests and data consistency between the cache and a persistent data store, like a database. When a data request reaches the application, the application first checks the cache to see if the cache has the data in memory. If it doesn’t, the application queries the database, replies to the requester, and stores that data in the cache. For more information, see Cache-aside pattern overview.

The Cache-Aside pattern introduces a few benefits to the web application. It reduces request response time and can lead to increased response throughput. This efficiency reduces the number of horizontal scaling events, making the app more capable of handling traffic bursts. It also improves service availability by reducing the load on the primary data store and decreasing the likelihood of service outages.

Enable caching. To enable caching, you must add the spring-boot-starter-cache package as a dependency in your pom.xml file. The spring-boot-starter-cache package configures the Redis cache with default values. You should update those values in file or the environment variables to meet the needs of your web app. For example, the spring.cache.redis.time-to-live (represented in milliseconds) determines the amount of time that data remains in the cache before eviction. You need to provide a value that meets the needs of your web app. Finally, you need to cache the required data in your code by using the @Cacheable annotation.

Cache high-need data. Most applications have pages that get more views than other pages. You should cache data that supports the most-viewed pages of your application to improve responsiveness for the end user and reduce demand on the database. You should use Azure Monitor to track the CPU, memory, and storage of the database. You can use these metrics to determine whether you can use a smaller database SKU.

Keep cache data fresh. You should periodically refresh the data in the cache to keep it relevant. The process involves getting the latest version of the data from the database to ensure that the cache has the most requested data and the most current information. The goal is to ensure that users get current data fast. The frequency of the refreshes depends on the application.

Ensure data consistency. To ensure data consistency, you should update the cached data whenever a user makes changes. You can implement an event-driven system for these updates, or you can access cached data through the repository class responsible for managing the create and edit events.

Reference implementation: The following code adds the spring-boot-starter-cache package as a dependency to the pom.xml file to enable caching.


The reference implementation provides explicit values for the Redis properties in the file to override the default settings from the starter cache package.


The following code defines a method called getUserSettings. The method retrieves the user settings associated with a given username. The @Cacheable(cacheNames = "userSettingsCache") annotates the getUserSettings method and tells the web app to cache the user settings in a cache called userSettingsCache.

@Cacheable(cacheNames = "userSettingsCache")
public UserSettings getUserSettings(String username) {
    UserSettings settings = userDao.getUserSettings(username);
    return settings == null ? createDefaultUserSettings(username) : settings;

Database performance

Database performance can affect the performance and scalability of an application. It’s important to test the performance of your database to ensure it’s optimized. Some key considerations include choosing the right cloud region, connection pooling, cache-aside pattern, and optimizing queries.

Test network hops. Moving an application to the cloud can introduce extra network hops and latency to your database. You should test for extra hops that the new cloud environment introduces.

Establish a performance baseline. You should use on-premises performance metrics as the initial baseline to compare application performance in the cloud.

Use Application Insights. Application Insights provides detailed metrics on database queries and any JDBC interfaces. You should use it to ensure a ported database is meeting its SLAs or to find queries that need tuning. You should never use Dynamic SQL because it creates security and performance issues.

Use connection pools. You should use JDBC connection pools and fine-tune them based on the transactions per second (TPS) metrics and SLAs. You should use database performance monitoring tools to test and evaluate database performance under load.

Mounted storage performance

When you use a mounted storage solution for your web applications, such as Azure Files, it’s important to choose a storage tier that meets the input/output operations per second (IOPS) requirements of your application. Azure Files offers different performance tiers with varying IOPS capabilities and costs. Make sure to select the appropriate tier to ensure the best performance and cost-optimization for your web application.

Next steps

You can deploy the reference implementation by following the instructions in the Reliable web app pattern for Java repository. You should use the deployment guide to set up a local development environment and deploy the solution to Azure. The following resources provide cloud best practices and migration guidance.

Cloud best practices. For Azure adoption and architectural guidance, see:

For applications that require a higher service level objective (SLO), see mission-critical workloads.

Migration guidance. The following tools and resources can help you migrate on-premises resources to Azure:

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