Oracle Unveils GraalOS for Faster Cloud-Native Java Apps

Oracle's new GraalOS Speeds Up Cloud Native Java Apps

Oracle has announced the availability of a new Java-based application deployment technology that uses the Oracle GraalVM Native Image to run applications as native machine executables. The GraalOS was designed to take advantage of the latest features of both Arm and Intel processors available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

GraalOS gives cloud-native and Java developers access to new capabilities that will help them build highly responsive and efficient cloud native applications while reducing costs, the company says. Oracle is also building generative AI capabilities for application development to take advantage of cutting-edge large language models with the level of security and privacy that enterprises demand. The company made the announcements at the Oracle Cloud World  conference in Las Vegas.

The company unveiled GraalOS at its Oracle Cloud World 2023, Oracle announced GraalOS, an innovative new application deployment technology that will be first made available through Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Functions.

The GraalVM is a high performance JDK that speeds up Java and JVM-based applications and simplifies the building and running of Java cloud native services. The optimized compiler generates faster code and uses fewer compute resources, enabling microservices to start instantly.

Functions powered by the new GraalOS address the issue Java developers face of slow cold starts. By running functions as native executables, GraalOS provides sub-second startup times, the company says. A GraalOS application is a small native Linux executable that starts in 10s of milliseconds.

OCI Functions also leverage GraalVM Native Image to dramatically reduce memory usage—by up to 50 percent, according to the company—as well as out-of-the-box integrations, the company says. A GraalOS application requires significantly less memory, because of the GraalVM Native Image ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation capability.

Also, a GraalOS application is automatically suspended and resumed when called, with no idle cost, the company says. "Applications and functions that are not receiving requests are terminated on most serverless platforms after a timeout period has been exceeded," Shaun Smith, Senior Director at Oracle Labs, explained in a blog post. "An application that is subsequently invoked is subject to a cold start cost. GraalOS’s ability to suspend and rapidly resume your idle applications means no cold start."

And because GraalOS runs native Linux executables directly, it takes advantage of the latest advances in hardware-enforced application isolation, Smith said. "This approach removes the need to package your application into a container, which eliminates challenges such as selecting a secure container image and ensuring that the latest security patches are in place and updated regularly," he said.

"With support for stateful and stateless microservices and functions, GraalOS is ideal for cloud native applications," Smith said. "Both short-lived functions and long-running microservices will benefit from GraalOS features such as virtually no cold start, transparent suspend and resume, and no cost idle."

Not surprisingly, the first use of the new GraalOS technology is in OCI Functions. The company says it will add a new "Graal Function" type that will start much faster and require less memory than existing OCI functions. Thanks to the built-in OCI Functions triggers provided by OCI services such as Events, Connector Hub, Data Integration, API Gateway, and Notifications, all of these services will be able to take advantage of GraalOS-powered functions with no changes, the company 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].