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May 2, 2017

Azul Systems seizes Java runtime performance lead with Falcon, a new Just-in-Time compiler based on LLVM


  • Azul’s new “Falcon” Just-in-Time (JIT) compiler is a new, highly optimized runtime compiler for Azul’s Zing runtime for Java (JVM)
  • Falcon is based on LLVM, the compiler infrastructure project backed by dozens of companies and hundreds of contributors advancing the latest capabilities in modern compiler technology
  • Falcon delivers substantial performance gains over Java’s legacy “C2” JIT compiler
  • Zing with Falcon achieves better application service level metrics, reduces operating costs, and results in an improved customer experience

SUNNYVALE, CA – May 2, 2017Azul Systems (Azul), the award-winning leader in Java runtime solutions, today announced the immediate availability of Zing 17.03, including its new “Falcon” Just-in-Time (JIT) compiler. The Falcon compiler is a high-performance optimizing JIT compiler for Cloud and server-based applications, and is designed to replace the legacy “C2” JIT compiler used in prior versions of Zing as well as in Oracle HotSpot.  Azul hosted a webinar on May 4, 2017 with further details of Falcon and its unique benefits.

LLVM – Falcon’s Foundation

The Falcon JIT compiler is based on technology from LLVM, the popular compiler infrastructure project with active involvement from leading universities and dozens of corporate contributors including Adobe, Apple, Google, NVIDIA, and Intel. Today LLVM is used in a variety of programming languages and frameworks, including newer platforms like Swift and Rust as well as many others including C/C++, Objective-C, Swift, Clang, OpenCL, CUDA and many more. LLVM is considered the state-of-the-art in compiler technology, and the LLVM community is continually incorporating new optimization techniques and support for new processor instruction sets and hardware platforms.

Azul is the first to leverage LLVM in a production-grade managed (garbage collected) runtime. Azul has incorporated LLVM-based Falcon into its Zing runtime for Java, and has made contributions to the LLVM project that help Java and other managed runtimes more readily integrate the unique and modern compiler capabilities of LLVM.

By incorporating the LLVM technology into its Falcon JIT compiler in Zing, Azul is able to leverage the continual performance optimizations and enhancements developed by the global LLVM community, helping Zing’s performance advantages evolve at an extremely rapid pace in the future.  Furthermore, by using the LLVM toolchain, Azul’s engineers developing Zing are able to develop optimizations targeting specific Java workloads in a highly productive and time-efficient manner, resulting in not only a higher performance but also a more robust and reliable JVM.

Falcon – Business Benefits

The performance advantages for Java workloads when running with Zing’s new Falcon JIT compiler have significant business benefits:

  • Better application service level metrics: reduced latency, reduced timeouts, better consistency
  • Better customer experience: reliably achieve customer expectations even under unpredictable load, improved customer satisfaction
  • Lower operating costs: reduced memory footprint requirements, improved load carrying capacities on similarly sized instances in Cloud/AWS deployments
  • Lower development costs: fewer engineering hours required to achieve desired performance, consistency and scale

Perspectives on the new Falcon JIT compiler  

“In our business speed is critical, but speed means nothing if you fail to meet service level requirements”, said Garry Turkington, CTO of Improve Digital. “Using the latest versions of Zing with the new Falcon JIT compiler we were able to reliably maintain our service level standards at dramatically higher speeds than we were able to previously do with the Oracle HotSpot JVM.”

“The Lightbend Reactive Platform with all its technologies and languages takes full advantage of modern JVMs,” said Brad Murdoch, Vice President of Corporate and Business Development for Lightbend. “Streaming architectures and microservices require deep levels of runtime optimization with minimal service startup times, and can’t afford pauses and jitter. Azul’s latest version of Zing with its Falcon JIT compiler helps Java-based applications and services perform at their best, from faster warm-up through continuous operation.”

“Neeve’s X-Platform is a Java-based, memory-oriented computing platform that is built for very low-latency operation”, said Girish Mutreja, CEO of Neeve Research. “Performance is paramount for our ultra-low latency customers, and we’re excited about Azul’s new Falcon JIT compiler providing us with another important tool to deliver better, more responsive performance for our customers.”

“By adopting LLVM for its next-generation JIT compiler, Azul is leveraging an innovative and dynamic global community that is continually upgrading performance across multiple languages and technologies,” said John Abbott, Founder and Research Vice President of 451 Research. “Bringing LLVM to the Java runtime will help enterprises drive additional value from their ongoing investments in Java-based applications and infrastructure.”

“With Zing 17.03 and Falcon, Azul has now solved three key challenges with running Java-based applications and services” said Scott Sellers, Azul Systems president and CEO. “We solved Java’s GC problems with Zing’s novel C4 garbage collector, solved Java’s warm-up problems with Zing’s unique ReadyNow technology, and now with the Falcon JIT compiler, Zing delivers the absolute best Java runtime performance.”

On May 4, 2017, Azul CTO Gil Tene presented further technical details of the Falcon JIT compiler during a webinar entitled “The technology inside Azul’s new Zing release”. Watch the replay here.

Pricing and Availability

Zing 17.03 incorporating the new Falcon JIT compiler is available immediately. 30-day free trials are available on the Azul website. The single-license annual subscription price for Zing is $3500 USD per server, with significantly lower prices for higher volumes and longer-term subscriptions. Prospective users should contact Azul directly to learn about the special pricing available for start-ups and companies with $25 million or less in annual revenue, and for ISVs and manufacturers looking to embed or integrate Zing with their products.

For additional information about the LLVM compiler project visit