Zing Upgrades Runtime for Java with JVM 'Warm Up' Fix, Support for AWS

Azul Systems this week released an update of its Zing runtime for Java (Zing 5.10) that extends production support for new server-grade Amazon Web Services (AWS) instances. This release is also certified for Big Data applications running Cloudera Enterprise 5, and offers a new set of compiler APIs and other upgrades aimed at Java developers and DevOps teams.

The company announced the release at the London edition of the QCon developer conference. Azul CEO Scott Sellers called Zing 5.1 "the most developer-empowering Zing release we've ever built."

"Our goal with this new Zing release is to give leading-edge Java DevOps teams the tools they need to monitor, control and tune the behavior of latency and throughput-sensitive Java applications," Sellers explained in a statement.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company's flagship product, Zing, is a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) based on Oracle's HotSpot JVM, a core component of Java SE. It's a "no-pause" JVM designed to eliminate Garbage Collection (GC) pauses, a long-standing challenge for Java developers. This pauselessness, which Azul calls "generational pauseless garbage collection" (GPGC), enables Java app instances to scale dynamically and reliably. Azul has long targeted GC, which Sellers has called the Achilles heel of Java.

One of the spotlight upgrades in this release is several enhancements of the company's ReadyNow! feature. Introduced in March of this year, ReadyNow! was created to fix the JVM "warm-up" problem. This problem manifests when a JVM, which is responsible for compiling the Java app code so it will run on a computer or server, hasn't compiled the code optimally when peak app performance is actually required. This problem has been an especially onerous one to financial services companies, which need consistent performance during critical trading periods. In a nutshell, the Zing feature simplifies operational processes to reduce "warm-up" issues.

This release extends the functionality and scope of Azul's ReadyNow! tech in several ways: It makes compilation policy controls available during live operation; it provides compiler APIs and allows for compiler configuration directives that make it possible for Java developers to specify a desired level of compilation and optimization polies applied to the individual class of method level; and improves "unreached" code handling, which reduces unexpected stalls and pauses during live operation.

Zing 5.10 also extends the JVMs ability to support cloud deployments on Amazon. Amazon Linux is now fully support on all Amazon instance types that use hardware virtual machine (HVM) virtualization. And the release adds to existing support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, CentOS, and Ubuntu.

Earlier this year, the company unveiled its own multiplatform "commercialized" build of the OpenJDK that runs on Windows Server, desktop Windows, and various Linux distributions. Called Zulu, the toolkit is integrated with MS Open Tech's Azure plug-in for Eclipse Java tooling.

"Like most developers building applications at scale, Java developers are always looking for better control over their runtime environment," said Stephen O'Grady, principal analyst at RedMonk. "Azul's focus on exposing latent JVM features and capabilities, therefore, is likely to be well-received by those building Java applications for the enterprise."

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].