Bootstrapping Hibernate as a JPA provider can be done in a JPA-spec compliant manner or using a proprietary bootstrapping approach. The standardized approach has some limitations in certain environments. But aside from those limitations, it is highly recommended that you use JPA-standardized bootstrapping.

Under the covers, all of Hibernate’s JPA bootstrapping makes use of its core bootstrapping. Be sure to see the Native Bootstrapping guide as well.

JPA-compliant bootstrapping

In JPA we are ultimately interested in bootstrapping an javax.persistence.EntityManagerFactory instance. The JPA specification defines 2 primary standardized bootstrap approaches depending on how the application intends to access the javax.persistence.EntityManager instances from an EntityManagerFactory. It uses the terms "EE" and "SE" for these 2 approaches, but those terms are very misleading in this context. What the JPA spec calls EE bootstrapping is cases where a container (EE, OSGi, etc) will manage and inject the persistence context on behalf of the application. What it calls SE bootstrapping is everything else. We will use the terms container-bootstrapping and application-bootstrapping in this guide.

If you would like additional details on accessing and using EntityManager instances, sections 7.6 and 7.7 of the JPA 2.1 specification cover container-managed and application-managed EntityManagers, respectively.


The container will build an EntityManagerFactory for each persistent-unit defined in the deployment’s META-INF/persistence.xml and make that available to the application for injection via the javax.persistence.PersistenceUnit annotation or via JNDI lookup.

Example 1. Injecting a EntityManagerFactory
EntityManagerFactory emf;


Rather than something a container building the EntityManagerFactory for the application, the application can build the EntityManagerFactory using the javax.persistence.Persistence bootstrap class. The application creates an entity manager factory by calling the createEntityManagerFactory method:

Example 2. Application bootstrapped EntityManagerFactory
// Create an EMF for our CRM persistence-unit.
EntityManagerFactory emf = Persistence.createEntityManagerFactory("CRM");

Proprietary 2-phase bootstrapping

todo: document EntityManagerFactoryBuilder…​