Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Compiling JGroups to native code with Quarkus/GraalVM

I'm happy to announce the availability of a JGroups extension for Quarkus!


Quarkus is a framework that (among other things) compiles Java code down to native code (using GraalVM [4]), removing code that's not needed at run time.

Quarkus analyzes the code in a build phase, and removes code that's not used at run time, in order to have a small executable that starts up quickly.

This means that reflection cannot be used at run time, as all classes that are not used are removed at build time. However, reflection can be used at build time.

The other limitations that affect JGroups are threads and the creation of sockets. Both cannot be done at build time, but have to be done at run time. (More limitations of JGroups under Quarkus are detailed in [5]).

So what's the point of a providing a JGroups extension for Quarkus?

While a JGroups application can be compiled directly to native code (using GraalVM's native-image), it is cumbersome, and the application has to be restructured (see [6] for an example) to accommodate the limitations of native compilation.

In contrast, the JGroups extension provides a JChannel that can be injected into the application. The channel has been created according to a configuration file and connected (= joined the cluster) by the extension. The extension takes care of doing the reflection, the socket creation and the starting of threads at the right time (build- or run-time), and the user doesn't need to worry about this.


So let's take a look at a sample application (available at [2]).

The POM includes the extension: groupId=org.jgroups.quarkus.extension and artifactId=quarkus-jgroups. This provides a JChannel that can be injected. The main class is ChatResource:

public class ChatResource extends ReceiverAdapter implements Publisher<String> {
    protected final Set<Subscriber<? super String>> subscribers=new HashSet<>();

    @Inject JChannel channel;

    protected void init(@Observes StartupEvent evt) throws Exception {
        System.out.printf("-- view: %s\n", channel.getView());

    protected void destroy(@Observes ShutdownEvent evt) {

    public String sendMessage(@PathParam("msg") String msg) throws Exception {
        channel.send(null, Objects.requireNonNull(msg).getBytes());
        return String.format("message \"%s\" was sent on channel \n", msg);

    public Publisher<String> greeting() {
        return this;

    public void receive(Message msg) {

    public void receive(MessageBatch batch) {
        for(Message msg: batch)

    public void viewAccepted(View view) {
        System.out.printf("-- new view: %s\n", view);

    public void subscribe(Subscriber<? super String> s) {
        if(s != null)

    protected void onNext(Message msg) {
        String s=new String(msg.getRawBuffer(), msg.getOffset(), msg.getLength());
        System.out.printf("-- from %s: %s\n", msg.src(), s);
        subscribers.forEach(sub -> sub.onNext(s));
It has a JChannel channel which is injected by Arc (the dependency mechanism used in Quarkus). This channel is fully created and connected when it is injected.

The receive(Message) and receive(MessageBatch) methods receive messages sent by itself or other members in the cluster. It in turn publishes them via the Publisher interface. All subscribers will therefore receive all messages sent in the cluster.

The sendMessage() method is invoked when a URL of the form http://localhost:8080/chat/send/mymessage is received. It takes the string parameter ("mymessage") and uses the injected channel to send it to all members of the cluster.

The URL http://localhost:8080/chat/subscribe (or http://localhost:8080/streaming.html in a web browser) can be used to subscribe to messages being received by the channel.


Let's now run a cluster of 2 instances: open 2 shells and type the following commands (output has been edited for brevity):

[belasmac] /Users/bela/quarkus-jgroups-chat$ mvn compile quarkus:dev
[INFO] --- quarkus-maven-plugin:0.18.0:dev (default-cli) @ quarkus-jgroups-chat ---
2019-07-03 14:12:05,025 DEBUG [org.jgr.qua.ext.JChannelTemplate] (main) creating channel based on config config=chat-tcp.xml, bind_addr=, initial_hosts=, cluster=quarkus-jgroups-chat

GMS: address=belasmac-19612, cluster=quarkus-jgroups-chat, physical address=
-- view: [belasmac-19612|0] (1) [belasmac-19612]

[belasmac] /Users/bela/quarkus-jgroups-chat$ mvn compile quarkus:dev -Dquarkus.http.port=8081
[INFO] --- quarkus-maven-plugin:0.18.0:dev (default-cli) @ quarkus-jgroups-chat ---
2019-07-03 14:15:02,463 DEBUG [org.jgr.qua.ext.JChannelTemplate] (main) creating channel based on config config=chat-tcp.xml, bind_addr=, initial_hosts=, cluster=quarkus-jgroups-chat

GMS: address=belasmac-25898, cluster=quarkus-jgroups-chat, physical address=
-- view: [belasmac-19612|1] (2) [belasmac-19612, belasmac-25898]

The system property quarkus.http.port=8081 is needed, or else there would be a port collision, as the default port of 8080 has already been taken by the first application (both apps are started on the same host).

The output shows that there's a cluster of 2 members.

We can now post a message by invoking curl http://localhost:8080/chat/send/hello%20world and curl http://localhost:8081/chat/send/message2.

Both shells show that they received both messages:
-- view: [belasmac-19612|1] (2) [belasmac-19612, belasmac-25898]
-- from belasmac-19612: hello world
-- from belasmac-25898: message2

Of course, we could also use a web browser to send the HTTP GET requests.

When subscribing to the stream of messages in a web browser (http://localhost:8081/streaming.html), this would look as follows:

Note that both channels bind to the loopback ( address. This can be changed by changing bind_addr and initial_hosts in



Uncomment the 2 properties and set them accordingly.

Alternatively, we can pass these as system properties, e.g.:

[belasmac] /Users/bela/quarkus-jgroups-chat$ mvn compile quarkus:dev -Dbind_addr= -Dinitial_hosts=[7800],[7801]
[INFO] --- quarkus-maven-plugin:0.18.0:dev (default-cli) @ quarkus-jgroups-chat ---
2019-07-03 14:38:28,258 DEBUG [org.jgr.qua.ext.JChannelTemplate] (main) creating channel based on config config=chat-tcp.xml, bind_addr=, initial_hosts=, cluster=quarkus-jgroups-chat

GMS: address=belasmac-10738, cluster=quarkus-jgroups-chat, physical address=
-- view: [belasmac-10738|0] (1) [belasmac-10738]

Native compilation

To compile the application to native code, the mvn package -Pnative command has to be executed:

[belasmac] /Users/bela/quarkus-jgroups-chat$ mvn package -Pnative
[INFO] Building jar: /Users/bela/quarkus-jgroups-chat/target/quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT.jar
[INFO] --- quarkus-maven-plugin:0.18.0:build (default) @ quarkus-jgroups-chat ---
[INFO] [io.quarkus.deployment.QuarkusAugmentor] Beginning quarkus augmentation
[INFO] [org.jboss.threads] JBoss Threads version 3.0.0.Beta4
[INFO] [io.quarkus.deployment.QuarkusAugmentor] Quarkus augmentation completed in 1343ms
[INFO] [io.quarkus.creator.phase.runnerjar.RunnerJarPhase] Building jar: /Users/bela/quarkus-jgroups-chat/target/quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner.jar
[INFO] --- quarkus-maven-plugin:0.18.0:native-image (default) @ quarkus-jgroups-chat ---
[INFO] [io.quarkus.creator.phase.nativeimage.NativeImagePhase] Running Quarkus native-image plugin on OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM
[INFO] [io.quarkus.creator.phase.nativeimage.NativeImagePhase] /Users/bela/graalvm/Contents/Home/bin/native-image -J-Djava.util.logging.manager=org.jboss.logmanager.LogManager --initialize-at-build-time=$BySpaceAndTime -jar quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner.jar -J-Djava.util.concurrent.ForkJoinPool.common.parallelism=1 -H:FallbackThreshold=0 -H:+ReportUnsupportedElementsAtRuntime -H:+ReportExceptionStackTraces -H:+PrintAnalysisCallTree -H:-AddAllCharsets -H:EnableURLProtocols=http -H:-SpawnIsolates -H:+JNI --no-server -H:-UseServiceLoaderFeature -H:+StackTrace
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]    classlist:   6,857.25 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]        (cap):   4,290.72 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]        setup:   6,430.30 ms
14:43:05,540 INFO  [org.jbo.threads] JBoss Threads version 3.0.0.Beta4
14:43:06,468 INFO  [org.xnio] XNIO version 3.7.2.Final
14:43:06,528 INFO  [org.xni.nio] XNIO NIO Implementation Version 3.7.2.Final
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]   (typeflow):  17,331.26 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]    (objects):  24,511.12 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]   (features):   1,194.16 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]     analysis:  44,204.65 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]     (clinit):     579.00 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]     universe:   1,715.40 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]      (parse):   3,315.80 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]     (inline):   4,563.11 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]    (compile):  24,906.58 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]      compile:  34,907.28 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]        image:   4,557.78 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]        write:   2,531.16 ms
[quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner:93574]      [total]: 109,858.54 ms
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Total time:  01:58 min
[INFO] Finished at: 2019-07-03T14:44:40+02:00

This uses GraalVM's native-image to generate a native executable. After a while, the resulting executable is in the ./target directory:

It's size is only 27MB and we can see that it is a MacOS native executable:
[belasmac] /Users/bela/quarkus-jgroups-chat/target$ ls -lh quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner
-rwxr-xr-x  1 bela  staff    27M Jul  3 14:44 quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner
[belasmac] /Users/bela/quarkus-jgroups-chat/target$ file quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner
quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner: Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64

To run it:

[belasmac] /Users/bela/quarkus-jgroups-chat/target$ ./quarkus-jgroups-chat-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner

GMS: address=belasmac-55106, cluster=quarkus-jgroups-chat, physical address=
-- view: [belasmac-55106|0] (1) [belasmac-55106]

When you run this yourself, you will notice that quick startup time of the second and subsequent members. Why not the first member? The first member has to wait for GMS.join_timeout millis (defined in chat-tcp.xml) to see if it discovers any other members, and so it always runs into this timeout.

To change bind_addr and initial_hosts, has to be changed before compiling to native code.


The quarkus-jgroups extension depends on JGroups-4.1.2-SNAPSHOT, which it may not find unless a snapshot repository has been added to the POM (or settings.xml). Alternatively, git clone ; cd JGroups ; mvn install will generate and install this artifact in your local maven repo.

Currently, only TCP is supported (chat-tcp.xml). UDP will be supported once MulticastSockets are properly supported by GraalVM (see [5] for details).

For some obscure reason,

had to be enabled in the POM, or else native compilation would fail. I hope to remove this once I understand why...


This was a relatively quick port of JGroups to native code. For feedback and questions please use the JGroups mailing list.

The following things are on my todo list for further development:
  • Provide more JGroups classes via extensions, e.g. RpcDispatcher (to make remote method calls)
  • Provide docker images with native executables
  • Implement support for UDP
  • Trim down the size of the executable even more