Azul Systems: Next generation Java-based 768 core server released
Infoq first asked Castelein to describe how Azul's appliances work:
The capacity of the compute appliances is accessed using a new deployment model called network attached processing. An existing application is hosted on a traditional server, which can be Sun / Solaris, x86 / Linux, PA-RISC / HP-UX, or POWER / AIX. The conventional JVM on that system is replaced with the Azul JVM, a fully compliant JVM implementation. The Azul JVM is implemented in software and loaded on the conventional server. Upon application launch, the bytecode - including the VM bytecode and the application's Java bytecode - are ported over a standard Gigabit Ethernet network to execute on the compute appliance. The application's configuration, I/O, and files remain hosted on the conventional server. But the Java application and VM reside in the compute appliance's memory and are executed on the compute appliance.
The main benefits of this approach are the following:
- No changes required to the application. The application still behaves as though it was hosted on the conventional server, and it accesses the capacity of the compute appliance transparently. The only change required is to launch the application on the Azul JVM as opposed to the conventional JVM
- The application has access to a lot more capacity. Typically each JVM is able to achieve 10X or greater scalability once executing on the compute appliance
- The compute appliances are able to run multiple applications simultaneously. In that sense they constitute a large pool of virtual compute capacity. Each application remains isolated on its own dedicated server and OS instance but accesses shared capacity of the compute appliances over the network
InfoQ also asked about support for multiple versions of Java, and Castelein replied that the new appliances supported different versions of Java, and also different applications running on the appliance at the same time. InfoQ also inquired about Java-based libraries and APIs such as J2EE, and Castelein said that because all of the bytecode was transported over the network to the Azul appliances, nothing was needed to support these APIs and they functioned transparently.
However, technology-related releases are not the only thing Azul has been in the news for lately, however - they took Sun to court in March 2006, claiming that Sun had been threatening to sue them over infringement of Sun patents. Sun responded with a counter-suit claiming that Azul had infringed upon several Sun patents, and the two companies settled out of court last month after agreeing to undisclosed terms.