Azul Systems Upgrades Java Appliances
June 18, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Java co-processor appliance maker Azul Systems has made good on its promise to roll out more scalable Java appliances this year based on its “Vega 2” 48-core processor for hosting Java Virtual Machines.
Last December, Azul launched the Vega 2 chip, which had twice as many cores per chip as its predecessor, the Vega 1, and therefore can do about twice as much Java work. The two Compute Appliance machines launched back in December had two or four Vega 2 chips, which supported either 96 cores (the model 3210) or 192 cores (the model 3220). At the time, Azul said that it would put out beefier versions of the Compute Appliance, and this week they came to market. The model 7240 announced this week packs a 384-core punch (that’s eight Vega 2 chips) and the model 7280 has 768 cores, twice the upper limit of the prior Vega 1 versions of the Compute Appliance Java co-processors. The machines have 1 GB of main memory per core to support the JVMs. Azul says that depending on the circumstances, a Compute Appliance can deliver anywhere from five to 50 times the Java performance of a general-purpose server and operating system supporting JVMs.
Compute Appliances can interoperate with Linux, AIX, HP-UX, and Solaris operating systems and with WebLogic, JBoss, Oracle Application Server, WebSphere, Apache Tomcat and Geronimo, and Caucho Resin Java application servers. Any kind of network link–Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, InfiniBand, whatever–can be used to link Compute Appliances to the general purpose servers that are running the application layer. So far, only BEA Systems‘ WebLogic and Red Hat‘s JBoss application servers have been certified among the commercial app servers on the Azul appliances. IBM‘s WebSphere has still not got the Big Blue blessing working in conjunction with Compute Appliances, and for obvious reasons: IBM wants to sell servers running WebSphere, not have WebSphere workloads offloaded to a very efficient and much more cost-effective appliance that it does not itself make.
The new Compute Appliances are available immediately in the Americas, with availability in Europe slated for September. Prices were not announced.