Azul Systems

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Azul Systems
Industry Computer Software and Hardware
Founded 2002
Headquarters Sunnyvale, California, United States
Key people

Scott Sellers, CEO, President, and Co-Founder
Anya Barski, Vice President of Engineering
Eric Graber, Vice President of Sales

Gil Tene, Vice President of Technology and CTO, Co-Founder
Products Computer software
Slogan Java Unbound

Azul Systems, Inc., a privately held company, develops runtime platforms for executing Java-based applications. Founded in March 2002, Azul Systems is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with offices in Slough, United Kingdom; Tokyo, Japan and Bangalore, India.[1]


Azul produces Zing, a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and runtime platform for Java applications that is designed to remove memory limitations and scale elastically. The company was formerly known for its Vega Java Compute Appliances (JCAs), specialized hardware designed to massively scale the usable compute resources available to Java applications. Zing utilizes and improves on the software technology developed for the Vega hardware.[2]

Zing became generally available October 19, 2010. The product includes a JVM, management tool and monitoring tool.[3] Zing is based on established technology from Azul that allows existing Java applications to scale to dozens of CPU cores and hundreds of gigabytes of memory 'elastically', meaning resources can also scale up and down based on real-time demands, and without garbage collection pauses present in other Java runtimes.[4]

Zing is compliant with the Java SE standard and is based on Oracle's HotSpot.[5] Where a typical Java Virtual Machine uses static heap sizes and reaches a practical size limitation due to garbage collection pauses, Zing implements Azul's C4 (Continuously Concurrent Compacting Collector) garbage collection software technology, allowing heap sizes of hundreds of GBs without pauses.[6] Zing also utilizes Azul's technology for elastic memory, which allows memory heaps for Java instances to grow and shrink based on load. This dynamic heap scaling removes the need for most JVM and GC tuning.

The Zing Vision tool provides low overhead production visibility of running Java applications using statistical information that is already available from processing occurring within the JRE.[7]

Zing is available for Linux, and requires x86-based hardware with Intel Nehalem or AMD Opteron processors.[8]

Azul ships a product bundle that combines Zing with IBM WebSphere Application Server that is designed to improve system performance.[9]

Azul's Java Compute Appliances (JCAs) were designed to massively scale up the usable compute resources available to Java applications. A proxy Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installed on the existing system will transparently redeploy Java applications to the Azul appliance, the latest version of which, the Vega 3, can contain up to 864 processor cores and 768 GB of memory.[10]

Open Source

Azul distributes and supports Zulu and Zulu Enterprise, a certified binary build of OpenJDK. The initial release in September 2013 supported Java 7 and 6 and ran on Windows 2008 R2 and 2012 on the Windows Azure Cloud.[11] On January 21, 2014, Azul announced Zulu support for multiple Linux versions as well as Zulu Enterprise, which has subscription support options.[12] Support for Java 8 was added in April 2014 and Mac OS X support was added in June 2014.[13] In September 2014, Zulu was extended to support Docker.[14]

Azul produces the jHiccup open source performance measurement tool for Java applications. It is designed to measure the stalls or "hiccups" caused by an application's underlying Java platform.[15]

Company history[edit]

Azul Systems was founded by Scott Sellers (now President & CEO), Shyam Pillalamarri (VP of Engineering), and Gil Tene (CTO). The first compute appliances, offered in April 2005, were the 960, 1920 and 3840, consisting of 96, 192 and 384 processor cores, respectively.[16]

Stephen DeWitt previously held the position of CEO.[17]

Legal issues[edit]

Azul Systems was approached in 2005 by Sun Microsystems, who offered a licensing deal for patents it claimed Azul had violated.[18] In March, 2006, Azul Systems sued Sun Microsystems, asking a U.S. District Court in northern California to rule on the issue of patent infringement. In May 2006, Sun Microsystems sued Azul Systems in federal court in San Jose, CA, claiming patent infringement and violation of a non-competitive agreement with former Azul CEO, Stephen DeWitt, also a former Sun employee. Both parties agreed to the terms of an undisclosed settlement in June 2007 prior to either suit going to trial.[19]


Based on public filings,[20] Azul has raised more than $200M in financing to date.

Date Type Amount
2003-01-22 Series A $7,000,000
2003-03-04 Series A $1,027,162
2003-05-29 Series B $13,572,021
2004-05-19 Series C $34,999,994
2005-02-16 Series D $29,473,400
2006-01-13 Series E $42,189,628
2007-05-31 Bridge $10,016,758
2007-08-30 Series F $40,552,043
2007-12-04 Series F $18,557,590
2008-11-26 Series 2 $9,408,124

Major investors include Accel Partners, Austin Ventures, Credit Suisse, Meritech Capital Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Velocity Interactive Group, and Worldview Technology Partners.[21] ComVentures and JVax Investment Group have also invested in Azul.[22]

Production systems[edit]

Azul Zulu 8.4 was released October 31, 2014. It added Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite support; DEB packaging, Apt-Get repository distribution and Docker for Debian Jessie and Wheezy (7.x) releases on Intel x86-64; and new Zulu Docker containers for Debian and CentOS.[23]

Azul Zing version 14.09 was released in September, 2014. This version added Java SE 8 support, support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0 and Ubuntu (operating system) 14.04 LTS, memory module AutoBuild for flexible Linux version support, and added the ability to save and reuse accumulated compiler optimizations between runs.[24][25]

Azul Zulu Dockerfiles Docker were made available on the Docker Hub in September 2014.[26]

Azul Zulu for Mac OS X was released in June, 2014.[27]

Azul Zulu version 8.0 with Java SE 8 support was released in April, 2014.[28]

Azul Zing version 5.9 was released in March, 2014. The major new feature was de-optimization control, called ReadyNow!.[29]

Azul Zulu for Java 6 and multiple Linux versions was released in January, 2014.[30]

Azul Zulu was released in September, 2013. Zulu is a supported build of OpenJDK. The initial release runs on Windows 2008 R2 and 2012 on the Microsoft Azure Cloud.[31]

Zing Platform Edition with WebSphere was released in May, 2013. The product integrates IBM WebSphere Application Server with Azul Zing.[32]

Zing 5.5 was released in October, 2012 with enhanced memory leak detection and support for Amazon EC2 and VMware-based instances.[33]

Zing 5.2 was announced in April, 2012 with support for Ubuntu Linux 10.04 LTS (Ubuntu Linux) and new management tools for controlling deployments with multiple Zing JVM instances.[34]

Zing 5.1 was released in February, 2012 with support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server).[35]

Zing 5.0 was released in November, 2011 and was announced as the company's first fully native JVM for Linux (Linux).[36]

Zing 4.1 was released in May, 2011, adding support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) 5.1 (JBoss Enterprise Application Platform). The company indicated this was their first 'bare-metal' implementation.[37]

Azul Systems released Zing 4.0 in October, 2010.[38]

Azul Systems released the Vega 2 7200 Series, in June 2007. The 7200 series contains up to 768 processing cores on 16 processor chips with 768 GB of memory. Azul designed the 48 core Vega 2 processor chip. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) fabricated the Vega 2 processor.[39] Notable companies utilizing the 7200 series include Credit Suisse, Wachovia, British Telecom, and TransUnion.

Azul Systems released the Vega 3 7300 Series in May 2008. The 7300 series contains up to 864 processing cores with 768 GB of memory.[40]


  1. ^ "Company Locations". Azul Systems. 
  2. ^ ( - Azul Puts the Zing in Java, InfoQ, December 30, 2010
  3. ^ ( Azul Readies x64-Based Java Virtual Appliance, IT Jungle, June 28, 2010
  4. ^ ( Azul Zings Its Java Hardware - Poof, It's Software, Java Developer's Journal, June 24, 2010.
  5. ^ ( Product page
  6. ^ ( Azul web site, page describing C4 garbage collection algorithm
  7. ^ ( Azul press release, October 19, 2010.
  8. ^ ( Azul's Pauseless Garbage Collector, artima developer, December 17, 2010
  9. ^ ( article on Zing PE May 17, 2013
  10. ^ ( Azul Compute Appliance - Azul Product Page
  11. ^ ( Microsoft, Azul to put open source Java on Azure cloud, July 24, 2013
  12. ^ Azul Systems press releases and
  13. ^ Azul Systems press releases and
  14. ^ InfoWorld, "Run anywhere again: Java hooks up with Docker"
  15. ^ ( Azul Releases Open Source jHiccup Tool to Provide Response Time Analysis of the Java Runtime
  16. ^ Azul takes wraps off Java compute appliance -, April 18, 2005.
  17. ^ DeWitt, Stephen (2003). "Commission of Corporations, State of California, Notice of Transaction Pursuant to Corporations Code 25102(f)" (PDF). San Francisco: California Department of Corporations. 
  18. ^ Update: Sun sues Azul for patent infringement – Infoworld, May 4, 2006
  19. ^ Sun Microsystems Settle Patent Disputes With Azul - InformationWeek, June 20, 2007
  20. ^ Cal-EASI Database
  21. ^ "Azul Systems Investors". Azul Systems. 
  22. ^ "Azul Financing Article". San Jose Biz Journal. 
  23. ^ ( post: Zulu 8.4 with Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite Support Now Available for Download
  24. ^ ( Times: Azul asserts JVM leadership with innovative new release of Zing runtime for Java, September 29, 2014
  25. ^ ( Systems Website: Zing Specifications Page
  26. ^ ( Development Trends: Azul's Zulu OpenJDK Now Available on Docker, September 23, 2014
  27. ^ ( Systems Press Release: Azul Systems Extends Zulu Runtime for Java to Support Mac OS X, June 11, 2014
  28. ^ ( Development Trends: Azul Releases Zulu OpenJDK for Java 8, April 9, 2014
  29. ^ ( Magazine: Azul Preps Java For Trading -- Avoid Practice Trades Leaking Into Markets, March 20, 2014
  30. ^ ( Press Release: Azul Systems Extends Zulu to Support Java 6 and Major Linux Distributions, January 21, 2014
  31. ^ ( Microsoft, Azul Bring OpenJDK to Windows Azure With 'Zulu', September 25, 2013
  32. ^ ( Dr. Dobb's Journal: Zing's Unstoppable Java for WebSphere, May 20, 2013
  33. ^ ( Systems announces general availability of Zing JVM release 5.5, Oct. 1, 2012
  34. ^ ( Azul Zing 5.2 JVM Released with Support for Ubuntu, May 1, 2012
  35. ^ ( Azul's Zing 5.0 JVM now qualified on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, February 28, 2012
  36. ^ ( New JVM specially designed for Linux, November 8, 2011
  37. ^ ( Azul press release, May 2, 2011
  38. ^ ( Azul starts peddling Zing virty Java Stack, October 19, 2010
  39. ^ Java-Crunching Monsters – The Chiplist, June 14, 2007
  40. ^ "Azul Compute Appliances". Azul Systems. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2008. 

External links[edit]