Payara Micro vs. Payara Server: When to Use What?

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The Payara Platform is a comprehensive ecosystem designed to meet the diverse needs of today's enterprise Java developers like you, offering robust solutions for Jakarta EE applications. The Platform is split into two main products, namely Payara Server and Payara Micro.

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Payara Server is a fully-fledged application runtime, renowned for its enterprise-grade reliability and certified compatibility with Jakarta EE and MicroProfile. It's an ideal choice for developers seeking a robust environment for large-scale applications, offering full support for Jakarta EE and MicroProfile.

On the flip side, Payara Micro is a lighter, nimbler counterpart, specifically tailored for microservices architectures and containerized environments. It's the perfect fit when looking to create scalable, cloud-native applications with ease and agility.

The objective of this blog is to shed light on the specific use cases and environments where each of these Payara offerings excels. Whether you’re deciding on the best approach for a new project or considering migrating an existing application, understanding the strengths and capabilities of Payara Server and Payara Micro will guide you in making an informed choice. Let’s delve into the nuances and discover when to opt for the comprehensive power of Payara Server and when to leverage the agility of Payara Micro.

Payara Micro: Agile and Lightweight

Payara Micro is a lightweight middleware platform, best suited for microservices architectures. It’s a fantastic choice when you need a simple yet powerful server to run Jakarta EE applications.

Ideal Use Cases for Payara Micro

Microservices Deployment

If you’re developing a microservices-based application, Payara Micro is an excellent choice due to its small footprint and ease of deployment. It allows each microservice to be deployed in its own instance, facilitating independent scaling and management.

Containerized Environments

Payara Micro fits seamlessly into containerized setups like Docker. Its small size and efficient startup times make it a perfect candidate for cloud-native applications.

Rapid Development Cycles

For developers looking for quick turnaround times, Payara Micro’s straightforward deployment process of a single executable JAR is highly advantageous.

Payara Server: Robust and Full-Featured

On the other hand, Payara Server is a more robust solution, offering a full application server designed for enterprise applications that require a full Jakarta EE and MicroProfile stack.

Ideal Use Cases for Payara Server

Enterprise Applications

Payara Server is the go-to for large-scale enterprise applications, especially those requiring the full spectrum of Jakarta EE and MicroProfile capabilities.

Highly Scalable Systems 

For applications demanding high scalability and sophisticated clustering capabilities, Payara Server’s advanced clustering and management features make it a superior choice.

Legacy Application Support

If you're migrating legacy Java EE applications or need support for older Jakarta EE versions, Payara Server provides an environment that is both supportive and familiar.

Comprehensive Runtime and Application Health Monitoring

Payara Server offers in-depth health checks for both its runtime environment and deployed applications, utilising standard constructs such as JMX beans. This feature is particularly beneficial when your project demands meticulous monitoring and data gathering of both the application and its underlying runtime. In scenarios where detailed health insights are crucial, Payara Server stands as an ideal choice.

Key Considerations for Decision Making

When deciding between Payara Micro and Payara Server, consider factors like application size, architecture, deployment environment, and performance requirements. Payara Micro excels in scenarios where simplicity, agility, and microservices are key, whereas Payara Server is more suited for comprehensive, enterprise-level applications that demand robustness and full Jakarta EE support.

Enterprise vs. Community


Both Payara Micro and Payara Server offer unique strengths tailored to different development needs. By understanding the specific requirements and goals of your project, you can choose the most suitable Payara solution. Whether you’re building a nimble microservice or a complex enterprise system, Payara provides a reliable and effective platform to bring your Jakarta EE and MicroProfile applications to life.

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