Pauseless Java Virtual Machine Integrates with WebSphere

Java runtime maker Azul System has launched a new product that integrates IBM's WebSphere app server (WAS) with an enhanced version of its Zing Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The new Zing Platform Edition with Websphere (Zing PE) offers a software bundle that combines the widely deployed app server with the company's scalable JVM.

Zing is a 100 percent Java-compatible JVM based on Oracle's HotSpot Virtual Machine, which is a core component of Java SE. The company made its flagship offering available to open source developers last year for use in development, qualification, and testing. The Zing JVM is optimized for Linux and x86-based servers, and the company bills it as the most scalable JVM for enterprise Java workloads. Zing can support very high memory allocation rates, and the company also claims that it's the only JVM that supports application instances exceeding 512 gigabytes of memory with pauseless operation. 

Among other things, the combination of the Zing JVM and the WebSphere app server offers the promise of fewer of the pauses, glitches, and jitters that can appear in even a well-tuned Java-based system. Individual WebSphere app instances deployed on Zing PE automatically scale up and down (including memory and CPU resources) in response to real-time demands. The result, the company claims is the elimination of "the rigid and inefficient nature of current Java deployments." WebSphere app deployed on Zing PE can use a minimum footprint and share resources during off-peak periods, while maintaining the ability to scale dynamically to handle extreme loads.

The Zing PE bundled promises to allow WebSphere apps to scale to hundreds of GBs per instance without unpredictable pauses and performance penalties. More application memory improves real-time analytics, the company says, as well as search, caching and other uses "by keeping more information in-memory instead of needing access to slower external systems."

The bundled comes with Azul's monitoring tool (called Vision), which the company describes as a "true, zero-overhead, always-on production-time diagnostic and monitoring tool." Vision is designed to allow administrators to diagnose application problems seamlessly in production. The result: reduced tuning and debugging iterations and shorter development lifecycles.

When Azul released version 5.0 of its JVM last year, the Zing codebase had been re-architected for Linux, exploiting "the abundant physical resources of modern x86 servers running Linux," the company said. Zing 5.0 supports very high memory allocation rates; the company claims it is the only JVM that supports application instances exceeding 512 gigabytes of memory with pauseless operation. 

"Java is the most popular language in the enterprise," Sellers told ADTmag in an earlier interview, "and Linux is the most popular operating system. Instead of trying to create a JVM that does all things for all operating environments, as Oracle (and previously, Sun) has done, we decided to get laser focused on developing the best JVM for Linux."

Zing's ability to provide pauseless execution is a key capability, Sellers said. Azul has long targeted what he called the Achilles heel of Java: Garbage Collection (GC). Mitigating the impact of GC is a long-standing challenge for Java developers. Version 5.0 is designed to eliminate GC pauses, which limit scalability. This enables Java app instances to scale dynamically and reliably to dozens of CPU cores and hundreds of gigabytes of memory. Azul calls this "generational pauseless garbage collection" (GPGC).

The new Zing Platform Edition with WebSphere, which is available now, integrates WebSphere Application Server ND, versions 7.0, 8.0 and 8.5 and is supported on Linux-based servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5/6, CentOS 5/6, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1/SP2 and Ubuntu 10.04 and 12.04 LTS. More information is available online here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].