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Azul said Docker offers better Java performance in distributed computing envrionments

Azul said Docker offers better Java performance in distributed computing envrionments

Java specialist Azul Systems announced its OpenJDK-based Zulu offering is now available on Docker. Scott Sellers, chief executive officer of Azul told BCN the marriage of Java and Docker will improve how Java-based applications are deployed and run at scale on premise or in the cloud, which has traditionally been difficult due to virtualisation-induced performance issues.

Azul offers a commercially-hardened version of OpenJDK to enterprises, and the company said bringing its development kit to Docker corrects one of the key challenges involved with deploying higher performance applications written in Java – still one of the most widely used coding languages – in multiple environments.

“Java as a standalone has always been billed as ‘write once, deploy anywhere,’ but the ‘deploy anywhere’ bit often comes with so much time-consuming configuration, which is a pain,” Sellers said.

“With Docker, you only need to write once, configure once, and you can deploy it anywhere,” he added.

Sellers explained that this overcomes some of the key scalability ( vertical and horizontal) and performance consistency issues that typically crop up around running Java on virtualised infrastructure, either on premise or in the cloud. These pain points are particularly acute around latency-sensitive applications like high-frequency trading platforms and exchanges in the financial services sector, where Sellers said the company is seeing interest in Linux containers and Docker as an alternative to traditional virtualisation.

“Most of these platforms are deployed on premise, largely because of latency and performance issues, but it’s easy to see how containerisation, which offers the same if not better security than VMs and with much better performance, might open some traditionally conservative enterprises up to putting these applications in the cloud,” Sellers added.

Docker, an open source platform designed to enable the rapid development and deployment of distributed applications through Linux containers, has seemingly become an overnight sensation with over 23 million downloads in the past three months according to Docker CEO Solomon Hykes.

But at this point it’s clear much of Docker’s appeal has more to do with application portability than performance, per se. In the cloud Docker is most often deployed inside VMs, meaning the hypervisor tax is still present and vertical scalability still limited; users can still deploy Docker onto bare metal to reap all of the benefits, it’s just less common at this point.

Jay Lyman, senior analyst, enterprise software at 451 Research said the move will give Docker added enterprise credibility, which it needs in order to move beyond being the pet pilot project of DevOps.

“Docker and containerization are taking the enterprise IT world by storm as a better way to package, deploy and move applications, but there is still a lot of work required to make Docker enterprise-ready in terms of security, scale and management,” Lyman said.

“Support for Java SE 8 on Docker is a step in the right direction, giving enterprise Docker users some of the security, stability and compliance assurances they expect,” Lyman said.

Zulu on Docker, which supports Java SE 6,7, and 8 is free and can be found in the Docker Hub Registry.