Azul Releases World's First Commercially Supported Builds of OpenJDK with CRaC Functionality
Azul, the only company 100% focused on Java, today announced the general availability of and commercial support for Azul Zulu Builds of OpenJDK for Java 17 including CRaC functionality. One of the most highly anticipated features recently in the Java community, Coordinated Restore at Checkpoint (CRaC) represents a major milestone toward improving Java startup and warmup times. It is ideal for serverless functions, containers, microservices and other use cases.
New Approach for Dramatically Improving Java Application Startup and Warmup Times
Slow startup and warmup times negatively impact Java application development and deployment. Traditional workarounds to this problem include containerization and caching, as well as load balancing, pre-loading, pre-optimizing, and pre-initializing application code. However, these approaches involve significant additional complexity and infrastructure overhead, increasing cost and driving down developer and operational efficiency. Alternative approaches such as ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation attempt to address similar problems, however they suffer from lack of full compatibility with the Java specification and decreased runtime performance.
Initiated in September 2021 as an OpenJDK project by one of the many Azul Java Champions as part of the company’s ongoing contribution to the Java community, CRaC allows a running application to pause, snapshot its state, and then restart later, even on a different machine. When performing a checkpoint, the full context of the application process is saved as an image, including its state and memory; upon restore, the entire application and its state is rapidly reloaded and continues from the same point where the checkpoint was created. This approach reduces Java application startup and warmup times by several orders of magnitude, i.e. milliseconds instead of seconds or even minutes.
“Improving startup and warmup times is a perennial concern for Java developers, and CRaC provides a powerful new approach for solving this challenge,” said Simon Ritter, Deputy CTO and Java Champion, Azul. “This produces a host of benefits. When serverless functions start faster, you pay less at scale. If your container takes less time to warm up, you need fewer instances to handle the same load from the beginning. When servers restart faster, you can perform more frequent updates to your application code and infrastructure. Taken together this means more efficient development and deployment of Java applications.”
“CRaC has generated immense interest among the Java developer community and provides a compelling, resource-efficient approach for improving startup and warmup times,” Sergio del Amo, Micronaut Product Development Lead. “Azul is well known for originating this project, so it came as no surprise that they would also deliver the world’s first production-ready builds of OpenJDK with commercial CRaC support.”
“Project CRaC’s checkpoint restore approach is very promising for the immediate startup of Spring applications on the JVM,” said Juergen Hoeller, Project Lead and Co-Founder of the Spring Framework project. “Our collaboration with Azul delivered some great initial results already.”
Latest Azul Innovation Designed to Solve Java Runtime Limitations
Azul has a 20-year heritage of Java leadership and is the largest independent Java vendor, supporting more versions of Java than any other vendor, including Oracle. Today’s announcement marks Azul’s latest contribution to moving Java forward and systematically addressing the platform’s most significant runtime limitations. Prior Azul innovations include the world’s first pauseless garbage collector (C4), the world’s fastest JIT Compiler (Falcon), and the world’s only Cloud Native Compiler. Together, these innovations remove performance bottlenecks across the entire application runtime lifecycle – startup, warmup, steady state and peak performance.
With the April 2023 quarterly update release, Azul made commercially supported Azul Zulu Builds of OpenJDK featuring CRaC generally available for Java 17 on Linux x64 platforms. Azul Zulu with CRaC is now available for development, prototyping and production and can be freely downloaded from the Azul download page. Azul will be adding CRaC capabilities for additional Java versions in both Azul Zulu Builds of OpenJDK and Azul Platform Prime throughout 2023.