June 15, 2010, 11:40 AM — An effort to improve performance of managed runtime applications, based on technologies like Java and .Net, is being launched Tuesday by Azul Systems.
The company's Managed Runtime Initiative is billed as a software development and integration initiative intended to improve execution of managed runtimes by enhancing interfaces and functionality across components of a systems stack. These components include the managed runtime, OS kernel, hypervisor, and hardware layer. The initiative covers multiple projects, some based on open source software.
[ Keep up with app dev issues and trends with InfoWorld's Fatal Exception blog. ]
"The central problems that we address have to do with things like consistency of performance, being able to effectively scale instances of these managed runtime applications like Java," in order to take advantage of the physical memory of systems available today, said Scott Sellers, president and CEO of Azul.
Managed runtime environments have limits in terms of effectively taking advantage of the many CPU cores available now on commodity hardware, Sellers said. There also is an issue with scaling applications to take advantage of large memory configurations, he said.
"The fundamental limitation is actually deep down inside the virtual machine," of the software platform, Sellers said.
The Managed Runtime Initiative takes a holistic approach to addressing scalability, according to Sellers. To start out the initiative, an initial contribution and reference implementation from Azul features an enhanced Java runtime, to serve as an enhanced version of OpenJDK 6 (Java Development Kit), and a set of loadable Linux kernel modules. These technologies are offered under the GNU General Public License 2. Azul will seek acceptance of these improvements by the Java and Linux communities; Java and Linux are not necessarily the only targets of the initiative, but are starting points.
"Instead of a couple of gigabytes of 'processible' memory, the reference implementation shows now how Java instances can scale to hundreds of gigabytes of memory," said Sellers.
In its press statement, Azul cited an endorsement from Java founder James Gosling.