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News: BEA Acquires Appeal Virtual Machines, Makers of JRockit

  1. BEA today announced the stock acquisition of Appeal Virtual Machines AB, makers of the JRockit Virtual Machine. JRockit is VM designed an optimized for server side applications, and was used by BEA in its recent Weblogic ECperf results. BEA plans to use JRockit to run and optimize Weblogic on on multiple platforms, including Intel 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.

    Press Release
    ---------------------
    BEA Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS), the world's leading application infrastructure software company, today announced the stock acquisition of Appeal Virtual Machines AB, a leading Java Virtual Machine (JVM) software firm. Terms of the deal, a stock purchase transaction, were not disclosed.

    A Java Virtual Machine (JVM) is a program that translates Java code into the machine code for a specific hardware platform. JVMs are what make Java portable — a Java application should be able to run on any JVM, though each JVM is written specifically for a single platform.

    "With the increasing platform heterogeneity in the enterprise, the acquisition of Appeal's JVM is an important move for BEA," said Michele Rosen, research manager, IDC. "This is further acknowledgment that BEA is committed to providing customers with high performance technology on any platform."

    Appeal's product, JRockit, is designed for large-scale, enterprise server side execution of Java applications and includes innovative technology around I/O, memory management and multi-threading, which results in industry leading scalability, manageability and performance. BEA will work to optimize this industry-leading JVM to run on multiple platforms, including Intel 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.

    "BEA's acquisition of Appeal's Java Virtual Machines is important to extending our ability to operate on any hardware platform," said Alfred Chuang, founder, president and chief executive officer of BEA Systems. "JRockit is an extremely high performance, industry-leading Java Virtual Machine optimized for every type of platform. In particular, with JRockit, we are able to offer very high performance Java-based technologies to our customers who are on Intel-based servers. Every major analyst firm already recognizes BEA as the market leader in the application server space. Now that we can provide BEA technology with our own high-performance JVM, we are making it easier for our customers to deploy BEA WebLogic software in an even wider range of environments."

    About BEA
    BEA Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS) is the world's leading application infrastructure software company, with nearly 12,500 customers around the world, including the majority of the Fortune Global 500. BEA and its WebLogic® brand are among the most trusted names in business. Businesses built on the award-winning BEA WebLogic Enterprise PlatformÔ are reliable, highly scalable, and poised to bring new services to market quickly. BEA's platform is the de facto standard for more than 2,100 systems integrators, independent software vendors (ISVs) and application service providers (ASPs) to provide complete solutions that fast-track and future-proof businesses for high growth and profitability. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., BEA has 93 offices in 34 countries and is on the Web at www.bea.com.

    About Appeal Virtual Machines
    Appeal Virtual Machines has offices in Stockholm, Sweden, Stuttgart, Germany, and San Mateo, Calif. The JRockit product line is a family of superior virtual machines for Java, providing customers and partners with manageable, high performance Java operating environments. JRockit is available for Linux and Windows NT/2000/XP operating systems on Intel platforms. The company was founded in 1998. Please visit http://www.jrockit.com for more information, benchmarks and a free trial license.

    Threaded Messages (22)

  2. This is a smart move for BEA. Now it doesn't need to rely on the availability of Sun's or any others VM's on different platforms when deciding what to offer support on.

    Given BEA's success with JRockit on ECperf, I wonder if they will allow other J2EE vendors to also license JRockit for use in their own ECperf testing. :)

    Floyd
  3. Beautiful!
  4. Is this as 'Beautiful' as it looks at first sight? A devil's advocate would argue that this is another step closer to the splintering of Java into different flavours, just like what happened years ago with Unix. You would expect IBM to try and 'control' the VM by building one of their own (after all, they 'own' so many clients and so many varied HW platforms/OSes), but why would BEA want to control the stack this deeply? Is this the prelude to BEA being bought by Intel? How can the UNIFIED Java platform survive with an increasing number of (all slightly different) VMs?
  5. Isn't this where a standards body comes in? As long as all JVM's relate to a given version of the spec, then its good that multiple vendors improve on the Sun VM. We need faster and faster VMs!
  6. I agree - faster VMs is a gooooood thing. I look at this as more along the lines of all the different compilers that come out for a given language - C or C++ was what I cut my teeth on - and it was great when a faster compiler came out from one of the vendors. It still compiled my C code regardless.
  7. Sun requires that Java VM's comply with their definition of Java. Remember the legal fight between Sun and Microsoft? I don't see the advent of additional sources of JVM's as any kind of splintering. Instead I see it as an improved landscape of offerings from which I may choose.

    Today we have JVM's made by Sun, IBM, Compaq, HP, Apple, JRockit (BEA), Tower Technology, Oracle and many others. All of these implement Java and all of these come with little enhancements that provide some platform specific benefits or simply have add-ons that they like. None of these should be found in java or javax packages and none of these should prevent any 100% pure Java application dependent on the correct revision of the language and extension libraries from running on their platform.

    I for one want more JVM, Application Server, and tools choices, not fewer.

    As for BEA's 'true motives', who knows? I'd hate to see them drop support for non-JRockit JVM's on the platforms JRockit supports, and I doubt they would. If they want to deliver JRockit with their product I'm all for it - they currently deliver Sun's JVM's, at least on some platforms.

    I'd also hate to see them lag too far behind the JCP standards process - I'd like to see Java 1.4 supported in JRockit, IBM, HP and Apple JVM's ASAP. BEA has the resources to allow them to devote more manpower to JRockit, perhaps they will keep up with J2SE as closely as they are trying to do in J2EE.

    Any vendor that tries to pervert the standard will suffer the consequences from Sun and the Java community.
  8. C'mon![ Go to top ]

    As long as run "standard" bytecode I don't see the pro. Even if this JVM is *only* optimized for server side performance and is a dogslow for other uses ( like swing ) is a very good thing. *sigh* how I love having free of choice, that's the magic of MS-free tecnology ( hey!, peace MS trollers )

    ::tyler
  9. Surprised[ Go to top ]

    I am so surprised to see so many comments about how "good" it is to have a specialized VM for the server side. Not more than three years ago when I was using GemStone 1.x did everyone tell me how much of an IDIOT I was for using a VM that wasn't a Sun implementation.

    I am very happy to see the change of attitude on a VM tweaked for the server side!!!

    Let us not forget who started it all back in 1997/98. Tweaked out server side VMs have existed for a while... This is not new to the industry and the other products offer more features than just a speed increase. ;)

    I think it is time that Server Side sponsored an evaluation into these types of VMs and get a good white paper together. Something about what these VMs offer and the impact on server side architecture and performance. :)

    Greg
  10. I would imagine that they are not going to license JRockit. The smart business move is to keep it to yourself, and leave the other java application servers to find their own faster VM.

  11.   What about Solaris platform? JRockit is only for Intel with Windows or Linux.

      Will they try to move JRockit to Solaris?
     
      
  12. Jose: "What about Solaris platform? JRockit is only for Intel with Windows or Linux. Will they try to move JRockit to Solaris?"

    That question came up too. jRockit was also built for Solaris on Sparc but is currently not published or supported on that platform. BEA extended an offer to Sun to discuss the future of jRockit on Solaris. It's pretty obvious it's in both of their interests to have it available, but BEA is not (yet?) committing to jRockit on Solaris.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    http://www.tangosol.com/
  13. This is what I found on their whitepaper
    (http://www.jrockit.com/downloads/jrockit-whitepaper30.pdf)
    "(Page 8)

    JRockit is now available for three different platforms: Windows JRockit – The Faster Server JVM
    NT/2000, Linux/Intel, Solaris 7-8/Sparc. Furthermore, in JRockit 2 we have been working on
    multiprocessor scalability including more fine-level granularity locking within the JVM, better load
    balancing for the thin-thread system and multiprocessor garbage collection."
  14. Mark: "I would imagine that they are not going to license JRockit. The smart business move is to keep it to yourself, and leave the other java application servers to find their own faster VM."

    You aren't the only one concerned about that possibility. The question came up yesterday here at BEA eWorld, and the answer was that it was still going to be available just as before.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    http://www.tangosol.com/
  15. I'd be a bit worried -- when BEA purchased jFlow, they promptly pulled it from general availability. Existing license holders could continue to use it, but I'm not sure whether they had any access to new code, or whether they were stuck with maintenance-only.
  16. Very smart move.

    bye
    -stephan
  17. It's a good move... Funny, though. Gemstone did this back in 1998 to allow java objects to be transactionally perstient, they shipped their own VM. It was even Hotspot enabled in less than 3+ months after the Hotspot release... yet people screamed bloody murder that it wasn't Sun's "one true" VM, probably out of a combination of technical ignorance and misunderstanding that "a spec is a spec".

    IBM has also been long creating great Java-compatible VM's that are very competitive with Hotspot. Look at how fast the Eclipse IDE runs under the IBM VM, for example.

    Anyway, BEA did a good thing.. they noticed their server runs faster on a custom VM, and they bought it up so others can't exploit it. The only deleterious effect this may have is if other companies start developing their own VM's that are buggy... we'll be back to the Netscape 2.0/3.0 browser days. :)
  18. I had a look at the benchmark figures on the JRockit site but can't understand their results (on http://www.jrockit.com/about/benchmarks.html):

    System Processor JVM Result
    Dell PowerEdge 8450 Pentium III Xeon 900MHz JRockit 3.1 47039
    Sun-Fire 6800 UltraSPARC-III 750MHz HotSpot Server VM on Solaris/SPARC, version 1.3.1 43353
    Netfinity 8500 R Pentium III Xeon 700MHz J2RE 1.3.0 IBM build cndev-20000503 35314
    Netfinity 8500 R Pentium III Xeon 700MHz JDK 1.1.8 IBM build n118p-19990728 28167

    In what sense is this is a fair comparison? JRockit comes out at the top but it's running on the fastest processor!

    Does anyone know of any results which compare like for like?


    Robbie

  19. RE: JRockit benchmarks[ Go to top ]

    Good point regarding the differing machines in their benchmarks. With that said however, for most applications I would expect the UltraSPARC-III 750MHz to toast the 900mhz Xeon, especially in an eight way configuration.
  20. RE: JRockit benchmarks[ Go to top ]

    Jonathan: "Good point regarding the differing machines in their benchmarks. With that said however, for most applications I would expect the UltraSPARC-III 750MHz to toast the 900mhz Xeon, especially in an eight way configuration."

    Au contraire. Sparc processors are relatively slow, even the latest and greatest. They are typically part of a much better balanced system though, and help to make up a much more manageable and reliable server environment (in general) than commodity desktop chips like the Xeon.

    People who buy Sparc aren't buying it for price/perf ;-). They'd be better of with a dual Athlon or something like that.

    You've got to realize that some companies will spend _way_ more for some level of assurance that (a) the company isn't going out of business (b) the solution is very reliable (c) other companies in their space use the same solution and (d) the right set of tools and apps are available to work with that solution. It just doesn't make sense for a typical large business to have some Joe in the shed putting together Linux machines or something, because even though "the right Joe" could end up putting together the best and most reliable and most manageable and fastest and least expensive server farm, what's the chance that you actually have "the right Joe" in the first place and what happens when Joe leaves. Even more important, what happens when "go live" day comes and Joe's solution doesn't work ... the opportunity costs are huge. Same thing goes for software: "No one ever got fired for buying BEA Weblogic" ;-)

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    http://www.tangosol.com/
  21. RE: JRockit benchmarks[ Go to top ]

    Cameron!

    Great post. I think your point about purchasing assurance is excellent. Especially the Linux comments. Too many people in IT departments are singing the praises of Linux without really understanding the business implications.

    But let us not forget it is not BEA who ensures my project is a success. It is only a tool. Sure a critical one but, just a tool. There is no silver bullet technology.

    Like Don Cherry says: "Sixteen guys suck and the coach gets fired."

    Greg
  22. RE: JRockit benchmarks[ Go to top ]

    Greg,

    The decision of whether or not to use linux in the corporate server environment is certainly a non trivial one. With that said however, I would not be most worried about the ability to find qualified personnel familiar with linux.
     
    From my experience in hiring technical personnel, it is easier (and more cost effective) to find people with experience using and managing linux than it is to find people with experience using and managing a more traditional, commercial unix. This becomes especially true when you are considering a system other than Solaris.

    Of course I have tended to work for young, tech oriented companies and first used linux back when redhat was considered cool so my worldview may be skewed.

  23. RE: JRockit benchmarks[ Go to top ]

    8 way Xeon has a SPECint_rate2000 of 30.0 http://www.spec.org/osg/cpu2000/results/res2001q3/cpu2000-20010614-00684.html

    8 way UltraSparc III has a SPECint_rate2000 of 36.2 http://www.spec.org/osg/cpu2000/results/res2001q4/cpu2000-20011119-01132.html

    I couldn't find a spec fp rate for the 8 way xeon but the 700 comes in with a 9.21
    http://www.spec.org/osg/cpu2000/results/res2001q2/cpu2000-20010424-00591.html

    8 way UltraSparc III does 31.2
    http://www.spec.org/osg/cpu2000/results/res2001q4/cpu2000-20011119-01131.html
    Note the staggering performance on 179.art, a compiler optimization and all data fits in the massive L2 caches.

    Bang for buck in the low end (1-4 proc), intel dominates and in the higher end (if you can cluster) they are still strong but with that said the Sparc is hardly slow and an 8 way UltraSparc III will toast an 8 way Xeon. For the high end, non clusterable applications, Xeon isn't even in the race.

    I'm having trouble envisioning a scenario in which a dual athlon and a dual (or any) UltraSparc III are the two main options.

    As for not being fired for choosing weblogic, I know people who have come close. Something to do with 10k / cpu licenses when a freely / cheaply available products would have worked for a company struggling for cash. CEO's get really pissed off about those decisions. That's not a dig at weblogic, as it happens I like weblogic, especially running on a big sun box.