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New Azul Java Platform Addresses Challenges of the Enterprise Cloud

Open-source Java development tools and runtimes provider Azul has announced plans to unite its commercial products into a single "Java platform for the modern cloud enterprise." Called the Azul Platform, it bundles the company's Zulu builds of OpenJDK and its Zing Java Virtual Machine (JVM), under a new set of services called the Azul Intelligence Cloud.

Users of the company's products will be able to develop, deliver, optimize, and manage their Java applications via this new platform, the company says.

"What we're doing with the platform is providing a more holistic vision of Java and the enormously popular OpenJDK," Azul CEO Scott Sellers told me. "There's a lot more to Java these days, with cloud and hybrid cloud deployments taking it to a whole new level. Java was architected more than 25 years ago for a different day and age and a different set of metrics. The higher-level capabilities we're providing we think are critical for Java's continued success. And we're providing them in a very developer-friendly, open-source manner consistent with ongoing community efforts around OpenJDK."

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Azul bills itself as the only vendor focused exclusively on Java and the JVM. It's Zulu builds of OpenJDK are tested and certified open-source Java Development Kits (JDKs) that are free to download and use without restrictions, with optional support available via subscription plans. Its Zing "no pause" JVM is based on Oracle's HotSpot, a core component of Java Standard Edition.

Clearly, there's a lot of rebranding going on with this announcement. In the context of the new platform, "Zulu Enterprise" and "Zulu Embedded" are now "Azul Platform Core." And "Zing" is now "Azul Platform Prime." And the company has a new logo. But it's also true that Azul is uniting it's sturdy product catalog into a platform with additional features and capabilities enabled by the changes—not to mention a new solution that will pull it all together: The Intelligence Cloud.

This latter, pending addition to the product lineup is the most intriguing part of the announcement, because, among other things, Zulu and Zing are well known products, and the Intelligence Cloud won't actually be available until the second half of 2021.

The new Azul Intelligence Cloud comprises three components:

  • The Azul Analytics Suite, an analytics platform designed to provide "actionable operational intelligence" around artifact  inventory management, security, and anomaly detection.
  • The Azul Optimizer Suite, made up of "optimization" modules for Azul’s builds of OpenJDK that enable "increased levels of performance and throughput completely transparent to the application code."
  • Connected Runtime Services (CRS), which connect Azul runtimes to facilitate communication with the analytics platform and optimization engines.

By uniting Zing and Zulu under the Intelligence Cloud, the company is aiming to provide a new level of "visibility, management, security, stability, efficiency, optimization and operational intelligence across entire Java estates."

"This broader platform offering is what we think it takes to as serious enterprises look to evolve their Java strategies," Sellers said. "Sun, and now Oracle, have done right by them for a long time, and we believe we're evolving into a more interesting and exciting future. But that future requires a broader vision, and we're providing that with the new platform."

The company promises delivery of the new platform later this year.

Posted by John K. Waters on May 12, 2021