Zulu Embedded Adds Support for 32- and 64-bit Processors

Azul Systems is expanding the range of microprocessors supported by Zulu Embedded, its open source build of the OpenJDK aimed at Java developers in the embedded systems and Internet of Things (IoT) space, to include multiple 32- and 64-bit embedded processors, the company announced.

A fully supported build of Zulu Embedded for 32-bit ARM processors is available now; the company plans to deliver a build supporting 32-bit PowerPC processors in Q3 of this year, a version for 64-bit ARM processors in Q1 2017, and support for 64-bit versions of the MIPS processor architecture sometime in the future.

"Java is a key enabling technology for the Internet of Things," said 451 Research analyst Christian Renaud in a statement. "Many IoT applications demand real-time performance, and Zulu Embedded's new support of 32-bit ARM architecture enables a number of opportunities and new applications in smart grid, healthcare, transportation and many other applications."

Zulu Embedded has supported both 32- and 64-bit x86 Intel processors since its launch in 2015. In November of that year, Azul partnered with Microsoft to provide a version of the platform for Java developers building IoT apps for Windows 10.

Azul actually created Zulu in collaboration with the Microsoft Open Technologies group (MS Open Tech). The two companies joined forces in 2013 to develop a commercial version of the OpenJDK specification for Windows Server and Windows Azure. Support was added later for a number of Linux distros, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu Desktop and Server, and CentOS Linux.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company bills itself as the only vendor focused exclusively on the Java runtime. Azul's flagship Zing JVM is 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. Scott Sellers, CEO and president of Azul Systems, has called GC "the Achilles heel of Java."

The embedded and IoT markets are "exploding with new products and devices," Sellers said in a statement, and Zulu Embedded the only open source, standards-based solution for Java developers building software for these markets. "By offering a wide range of processor and operating system support, and delivering customized builds to meet specific embedded requirements, Zulu Embedded is quickly become the de facto standard for developing and commercializing Java-based solutions in the embedded, maker and IoT markets," he said.

The Eclipse Foundation's Internet of Things Working Group comprises a number of Java-based projects, which the Foundation's executive director, Mike Milinkovich, said would benefit from the expanded support of Zulu Embedded for 32-bit ARM processors. "Zulu Embedded will be an important open source option for Java developers building IoT solutions," he said.

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].