Oracle pits GraalVM against Google Go

Oracle touts the fast startup and small memory footprint of the polyglot VM, which will soon be upgraded to Java 11

Credit: Burst

Oracle is positioning GraalVM, the company’s open source, polyglot virtual machine, as a substitute or replacement for Google’s Go (golang). Described as a “universal VM,” GraalVM can run applications written in JavaScript, Python, Ruby, C, and C++, and JVM languages including Java, Kotlin, and Scala. 

The Oracle developers behind the project say that GraalVM, like Go, offers fast startup and a small memory footprint. But with GraalVM, developers can still leverage the Java ecosystem. Further, these languages can be interoperable in the shared runtime, supporting the ability to pass a JavaScript object to Python, for example. GraalVM also offers ahead-of-time compilation for Java code.

GraalVM is currently based on Java 8, which was released five-and-a-half years ago. However, GraalVM 19.3, due in October 2019, will be based on Java 11, which arrived in September 2018. By moving to Java 11, which is a long-term support release of Java, GraalVM will enable users to take advantage of the Java module system for applications (introduced in Java 9) and garbage collection optimizations (introduced in Java 11). Another improvement eyed for GraalVM is an ARM64 back-end, which will also depend on Java 11. 

GraalVM is used by organizations such as Twitter. It is available in an open source community edition and in a closed source enterprise edition, from Oracle.

Where to download GraalVM

You can download GraalVM from

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