For years, Azul has made a name for itself by offering a custom-designed Java appliance that could bring a special microprocessor’s Java-centric design to bear on corporate workloads. In mid-October, the company announced that it is offering its custom Java virtual machine, along with a new execution platform dubbed Zing.

Zing is based on Azul’s scratch-built Java virtual machine. Scott Sellers, president, CEO and cofounder of Azul, said the company was originally founded in 2002 to help deploy and scale Java applications.

“At the time, what we saw was this emerging Java market opportunity, but some of the Java runtime needed improvement,” he said. “We started the company to offer a better Java runtime. We have delivered that better Java runtime in the form of a hardware compute appliance. Zing is a manifestation of that hardware appliance in software.”

Sellers said that Zing allows Java applications to scale as a single, large virtual machine rather than across numerous smaller ones. This, he said, helps developers who have complex Java applications that can’t be broken up and strewn across dozens of Tomcat servers.

“Individual Zing instances can scale to a terabyte without garbage-collection issues,” he said. “You can have a manageable number of JVM instances, with hundreds of megabytes to hundreds of gigabytes of RAM, scaling up and down based on demand. You’re not having to dynamically add instances. We cut the number of instances that need to be managed. Applications share resources as they grow and shrink.”

Sellers said that the future of Azul is heavily focused on Zing. “As the years unfold here, absolutely we will over time be focusing our forward-looking road map on pure software solutions,” he said. “We continue to sell the compute appliances. We’ve had tremendous success. But the software is so much broader in terms of the market applicability.”

The platform is targeted at cloud deployments, and automatically virtualizes Java workloads and deploys those images. Zing also includes monitoring and debugging tools to help developers troubleshoot deployed applications.