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Azul Offering Commercialised Versions of OpenJDK 6 and 7 for Windows and Linux

by Charles Humble on Jan 21, 2014 |

Azul Systems has announced that Zulu, its freely-available version of OpenJDK, now supports both Java 6 and Java 7 on Linux and Windows-based deployments. It is supported via the Zulu Community Support forums. In addition the firm is introducing Zulu Enterprise, which is a commercially supported version of OpenJDK.

Zulu is supported on a range of Linux and Windows versions - Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu Desktop and Server, and CentOS - with support for additional distributions planned in the future depending on community feedback. Azul previously announced the support of Zulu on Windows Azure, and today is announcing additional support for on-premises Windows deployments. The full list of currently supported operating systems and platforms is:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 or later and 6.0 or later
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 sp1, sp2 and spa
  • CentOS 5.2 or later and 6.0 or later
  • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and 12.04 LTS
  • Windows Server: 2008, 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2
  • Windows Desktop: 7, 8, and 8.1
  • Hypervisors: VMware, Hyper-V, KVM
  • Cloud: Amazon AWS, Windows Azure, Rackspace
  • JDK Version: Java SE 6, 7.

They will be offering support for OpenJDK 8 "very, very soon after its GA" Howard Green, VP of Marketing at Azul, told us. They won't be offering support for earlier versions (such as Java 5) since there wasn't an OpenJDK pre Java 6.

Zulu is separate from Azul's Zing product, and is entirely based on the OpenJDK code base. Gil Tene, CTO of Azul systems, told us

We will be actively working on customer problems and fixing bugs, but those will go straight up stream and into OpenJDK for everything, because we are going to work hard not to diverge and modify the code from what is OpenJDK.

Alongside the community supported builds Azul is introducing Zulu Enterprise, a commercialised, fully-supported version of OpenJDK. Major versions of Java are supported for ten years from initial General Availability (for example in the case of Java 6, Zulu Enterprise support contracts will be available until 2024).

Three tiered subscription-based support options are offered (Gold, Platinum, and Elite). The Elite option includes "Application Guard". This allows customers to specify a number of exact operating systems, JVM versions and configuration information which is then incorporated into Azul's Quality Assurance processes. The Zulu JDK/JVM is thereby tested against the exact OS and JVM combination in use by an enterprise customer.

Dedicated technical account managers are also available for Zulu Enterprise customers. This option provides a customer with a dedicated technical support engineer, ensuring continuity of knowledge of the use of Zulu within an enterprise, and hands-on management of cases.

Tene told us that commercial support for OpenJDK, as well as Zing, is something Azul's customers have been asking for for some time. He believes that the market for paid Java support will expand given that Oracle has made it increasingly clear that the free version of Java is entirely unsupported.

Java is a product. Oracle offers a free download with absolutely no support, and if you want commercial support for it you can buy it. That includes commercial support for End of Life versions like Java 6 and Java 5; but it also includes commercial support for currently shipping versions that are not supported unless you pay. So you can download the latest update 51 that came out 3 days ago for free, which is great, but that's their good will - if you have a problem you'd better not call them for help.

Until now Azul's Zing product was the cheapest commercially supported VM available.  Zulu is "in the same ball-park but cheaper than Zing," Howard Green, VP, Marketing at Azul Systems told us.

Pricing is available on request, but starts at $400 per server per year for Gold support, with volume discounts and higher levels of support available.

Both Oracle and IBM also offer paid support options for Java enterprise customers. Oracle's starts at $250/processor with a minimum order of 40 processors ($10,000). More information can be found here.

Article updated 22nd January 2014 to add additional pricing information.

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