Oracle Adds Free GraalVM to Java SE Subscription

The Enterprise Edition of the GraalVM, Oracle's "universal virtual machine," is now available, free of charge, with a Java SE subscription, Oracle announced today.

"The Java subscription model was launched a few years ago, and we continue to incorporate value-add components to it," Manish Gupta, VP of global marketing at Oracle, told AppTrends. "We received so much feedback from early adopters of the GraalVM who found it cumbersome to have it separate from Java SE that we are layering it in at no additional charge. This is a powerful addition of technology for our customers as they think about microservices and cloud data deployments, where performance is paramount."

The GraalVM, the first version of which was released in April 2018, is an extension of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) designed to run applications written in a range of languages, including JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and R; JVM-based languages, such as Java, Scala, and Kotlin; and Low Level Virtual Machine (LLVM)-based languages, such as C and C++. Graal is the Java-based Just-in-Time (JIT) compiler (JEP 317) that is the basis of the Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compiler introduced in JDK 9.

The most recent upgrade of the GraalVM (v 20.3) was released last year just before Thanksgiving.

The inclusion of GraalVM Enterprise as an "entitlement" was meant to make Java appealing for microservices and cloud-native deployments that demand near-instantaneous startup and low resource consumption, the company said in a statement. The Enterprise edition includes an optimizing compiler designed to accelerate Java application execution,

The announcement listed several innovative features of the GraalVM, including:

High-performance optimizing compiler: GraalVM Enterprise's just-in-time (JIT) compiler includes many new and innovative optimization techniques that can improve Java application performance with no code changes.

Native Image: GraalVM Enterprise includes the native image utility that compiles Java and JVM-based applications ahead-of-time (AOT) into self-contained native executables. AOT compilation includes only the classes and libraries needed to run the application, which reduces the size of the generated binary and minimizes the attack surface area which may improve security. The smaller size of native executables, their lower memory and CPU requirements, and their extremely fast start up makes them ideal for microservices and other kinds of containerized workloads that need to scale up and down rapidly.
Multi-language support: GraalVM Enterprise lets Java developers use libraries and frameworks written in other programming languages and run them on the JVM. Multiple languages and libraries written in other languages can be used in a single program and share data without a performance penalty.

"The challenge for the Java community has been this sort of move to cloud and microservices, and a lot of customers are going to be asking themselves, do I need to change technologies when I go to the cloud. said Shaun Smith, director of product management in Oracle's GraalVM group. "The core technology of the GraalVM is based on over a decade of compiler research and development in Oracle Labs on optimizing compilers for Java, specifically. And because The Graal compiler is written in Java, it's easier for our engineers to actually try these things out and build these new features."

The entitlement to GraalVM Enterprise is automatic and included for all Java SE Subscription customers.

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].