Docking with Java 8

Azul brings Java 8 to Docker

Coman Hamilton
Java 8 is about to dock – Red dock image via Shutterstock. 

Azul’s CEO Scott Sellers speaks to JAXenter about the new Zulu Docker repository.

Azul recently announced the release of Zulu for Docker.  The offering is a build of OpenJDK and is aimed at companies who prefer a fully open source toolchain or who might have key applications running on Java. It is ideal for those who need cost-effective, high-quality ongoing support across multiple major releases of Java.

CEO of Azul, Scott Sellers took some time out of his busy schedule to tell us about Zulu and why Docker is one of the most hyped techologies at the moment.

JAXenter: This month you launched Docker support with Zulu, which brings Java 8 to Docker for the first time. Can you tell us a little bit about the implications of this?

Scott Sellers: Quick background – Zulu is Azul’s tested and certified build of OpenJDK. On September 23rd we announced full support for Docker with our distribution of OpenJDK for Java SE 8, SE 7, and SE 6 – all three major versions of OpenJDK are now available on Docker. What this means to the Docker community is the immediate availability of a proven, tested version of Java SE 8 (the first supported open source version of Java 8 backed by a commercial entity on Docker). Our OpenJDK distribution is available at the latest patch and security level, and is production-ready.

The Zulu Docker repository contains freely redistributable, fully tested, compatibility verified, and trusted binary distributions of OpenJDK 8, 7, and 6. To our knowledge, it is currently the only such source for all three Java SE JDK versions that can be smoothly and seamless used without raising redistribution questions or compatibility and testing concerns.

What about the Java containers that currently reside on Docker? Some are concerned about their legality and how trustworthy they are.

Great question – this is an issue of concern to many in the Docker and Java communities and it is one of the factors that prompted our Zulu deployment on Docker. We update Zulu regularly to keep it closely in sync with the latest OpenJDK, as well as providing long term support updates available in a timely manner.

For example, OpenJDK 8 was released for GA in March 2014, and has had 3 additional update releases since. Zulu closely followed each with a widely available binary distribution across a variety of supported platforms. To date (Sep. 21, 2014), Zulu distributions have included support for Java 8 version 8, 8u5, 8u11, and 8u20. To our knowledge, no other binary distributions of OpenJDK 8 have been made available from any other source or organization, representing a lag of over 6 months behind the GA of OpenJDK.


Docker seems to be one of the most-hyped technologies at this year’s OpenWorld – what is it that’s creating all this excitement?

Docker provides a level of flexibility, simplicity, and speed that are quite simply unavailable using more traditional virtualization or Linux container technologies. Docker makes deployment very simple, startup is blindingly fast when compared to the time required to boot up a traditional virtual OS image, and there is no “performance tax” to use it.

Docker is not just hype – we are seeing very large, Global 100 type of enterprisesthat are moving rapidly to embrace Docker as an alternative to legacy virtualization technologies.

How was JavaOne for you?

JavaOne is a great opportunity for us to engage with the best minds of the global Java community. Both formal and informal discussions are focused on the evolution of the Java language, its runtime, and emerging languages that also take advantage of the power and flexibility of the JVM.  We also are always fascinated to learn what developers are doing with Java and the JVM.

Can you comment on any other projects and areas that Azul is currently working on?

A very near-term initiative that will be the subject of one of our presentations is focusing on a new extension to Java that will provide C-level performance improvements for specific in-memory operations. The project is referred to as “object layout” and we believe it will be of great interest to the Java community.

At JavaOne we announced a new major release of Zing, our flagship JVM. The new release incorporates recent advances in persistent compiler optimizations, support for new Red Hat and Ubuntu major releases, and incorporates full Zing support for Java SE 8.

Coman Hamilton
Coman was Editor of at S&S Media Group. He has a master's degree in cultural studies and has written and edited content for numerous news, tech and culture websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies.

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