Optimizing Java Performance on Amazon Linux 2023

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Welcome to this comprehensive guide on “Optimizing Java Performance on Amazon Linux 2023”. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of improving the efficiency of your Java applications on the Amazon Linux environment. As Java continues to dominate the realm of enterprise-level applications, and Amazon Linux finds favor in the cloud ecosystem due to its seamless integration with AWS services, the intersection of both becomes an area of significant interest and potential. Whether you’re a seasoned Java developer or an enthusiast just starting out in the AWS landscape, this guide will provide you with actionable insights and step-by-step techniques to make your Java applications run at their optimal best on Amazon Linux 2023.

Understanding Java and Amazon Linux

Before we venture into the specifics of optimization, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of our fundamental components – Java and Amazon Linux.


Java, developed by Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle), is an object-oriented programming language that emphasizes ‘Write Once, Run Anywhere’ (WORA). This means that compiled Java code (bytecode) can run on any platform supporting a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), without the need for recompilation. Its platform independence, robustness, and security make it an ideal choice for building complex enterprise-level applications. Furthermore, Java provides a rich ecosystem of tools and libraries, making it more versatile and adaptable to varying development needs.

Amazon Linux

Amazon Linux, on the other hand, is a Linux operating system provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is designed to provide a stable, secure, and high-performance execution environment for applications running on Amazon EC2. It also integrates tightly with AWS services, enhancing features such as launching and managing EC2 instances, security, storage, and load balancing. The 2023 version of Amazon Linux, which we’ll focus on in this blog, incorporates the latest Linux kernel updates and features tailored to improve performance and reduce overhead in AWS environments.

Having a grip on these core technologies will help us move forward with our central theme, i.e., the optimization of Java applications on Amazon Linux 2023. In the next sections, we will delve into the intersection of these technologies, setting up the Java environment, and concrete steps to achieve optimization. So, stay tuned!

The Intersection of Java and Amazon Linux

The relationship between Java and Amazon Linux forms a crucial part of the AWS cloud computing strategy. Given that Java is known for its platform independence and Amazon Linux is optimized for the cloud, the fusion of these technologies brings out some remarkable synergies.

Java’s philosophy of ‘Write Once, Run Anywhere’ plays in harmony with the flexibility and scalability offered by Amazon Linux on EC2 instances. This ensures that Java applications can efficiently scale and adapt to the varying workload requirements in the cloud environment.

Furthermore, AWS provides several developer tools and services like AWS CodeStar, AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeBuild, and more, which streamline the process of building, debugging, and deploying Java applications on Amazon Linux. Amazon Corretto, a no-cost, multiplatform, production-ready distribution of the Open Java Development Kit (OpenJDK) is another stellar example of this intersection, providing long-term support that includes performance enhancements and security fixes.

Setting Up Java Environment on Amazon Linux 2023

To start optimizing Java performance, first, we need to set up our Java environment on Amazon Linux 2023. Here is a step-by-step guide to get you started:

Step 1: Update Your System Before installing Java, ensure your system packages are up-to-date. You can do this by executing the following command:

sudo dnf update -y

Step 2: Install Java Install Amazon Corretto, a production-ready distribution of OpenJDK, using the following commands:

sudo dnf install java-17-amazon-corretto-devel

Step 3: Verify Java Installation Check your Java version to confirm that the installation process was successful:

java -version

Step 4: Install a Build Automation Tools Tools like Maven or Gradle are widely used for building and managing Java projects. You can install Maven with the following command:

sudo yum install -y maven

With these steps, your Java environment should be ready for development on Amazon Linux 2023. In the upcoming sections, we’ll focus on how to fine-tune this environment to achieve optimal Java performance.

Optimization Techniques Specific to Java

Java optimization is an art that requires an in-depth understanding of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and its working principles. Let’s discuss some key techniques that you can use to optimize your Java applications:

JVM Tuning: JVM tuning is one of the most effective ways to optimize Java performance. Key factors to consider include the choice of garbage collector, heap size, and the size of the young generation. Make sure to align these parameters with your application’s specific needs for optimal performance.

Garbage Collection Optimization: Garbage collection can greatly impact the performance of your Java application. Tuning garbage collection involves understanding how often and when garbage collection occurs. Tools like VisualVM and GCViewer can help in analyzing garbage collection logs and hence tune the JVM garbage collection for better performance.

Java Concurrency and Synchronization: Efficient use of threads and minimizing synchronization overhead can significantly improve the performance of Java applications. Consider using concurrent collections and utilities from the java.util.concurrent package, and try to reduce the scope of synchronized blocks to improve concurrency.

Optimization Techniques Specific to Amazon Linux 2023

Optimizing the underlying Linux system also plays a vital role in boosting Java application performance. Below are some useful Amazon Linux-specific optimization techniques:

System-Level Optimizations: This involves tuning system-level parameters, such as those related to the file system, network stack, and process limits. For instance, you can tweak Linux kernel parameters using the sysctl command to increase the maximum file descriptor count or adjust the TCP/IP stack for better network performance.

Network Stack Tuning: Network performance is critical for any application. For Linux, tools like netstat, nstat, and ss can help monitor network statistics and identify potential bottlenecks. Consider tuning parameters such as TCP receive window size (net.core.rmem_default and net.core.rmem_max) and send window size (net.core.wmem_default and net.core.wmem_max) for better network performance.

Filesystem and I/O Operations Optimization: Different file systems have different performance characteristics. If your application is I/O-intensive, choosing the right file system and optimizing related parameters can provide significant performance improvements. Also, consider using SSD-backed EBS volumes and enabling EBS-optimized instances for better I/O performance.

Now that we’ve got a grip on Java-specific and Amazon Linux-specific optimizations, let’s explore how we can combine these to enhance Java performance on Amazon Linux 2023.

Combining Both Worlds: Optimizing Java on Amazon Linux 2023

When it comes to optimizing Java performance on Amazon Linux 2023, we need to consider a blend of the optimization strategies discussed above. Here’s how to tie together the Java-specific and Amazon Linux-specific optimization techniques:

Leverage AWS Services: AWS provides a variety of tools that can assist in performance optimization. Amazon CloudWatch, for instance, can be used to monitor and log performance metrics of your Java applications running on EC2 instances. This allows you to identify bottlenecks and tune your application and system accordingly.

Tune JVM to Align with System: The JVM should be tuned to work in harmony with the underlying Amazon Linux system. For instance, if your EC2 instance has a high amount of memory, ensure your JVM heap size is configured appropriately to utilize this memory effectively.

Optimized EC2 Instances: AWS provides several types of EC2 instances that are optimized for different types of workloads. For compute-intensive Java applications, you may want to use compute-optimized instances. For memory-intensive applications, memory-optimized instances would be more suitable.

Performance Testing and Validation

After tuning your Java applications and Amazon Linux environment, it’s crucial to validate the changes using performance testing. Here’s how you can do this:

Set Up Performance Tests: You should have a suite of performance tests that simulate your application’s workload. Tools like Apache JMeter or Gatling can be used to set up these tests.

Run and Monitor Tests: Run the performance tests against your Java application running on the Amazon Linux 2023 environment. Monitor the application and system performance using tools like Amazon CloudWatch and AWS X-Ray.

Analyze Test Results: After the tests are done, analyze the results to determine if the tuning has had a positive impact. Look for improvements in areas that were bottlenecks previously.

Iterative Optimization: Remember that optimization is an iterative process. If you’re not satisfied with the results, revisit your optimization techniques and continue to tweak and test until you’re happy with the performance.

In the next section, we’ll share a case study of a real-world example where we successfully optimized a Java application on Amazon Linux 2023.

Case Study: Real-World Example

Let’s take a real-world example where we successfully optimized a Java application running on Amazon Linux 2023. Our application was a data-intensive, microservices-based web application that frequently suffered from high latency issues, resulting in a less-than-optimal user experience.

The Problem: On analyzing the application logs and system metrics, we noticed that the garbage collection pauses were frequently high and the application was running out of memory during peak loads. Additionally, the CPU utilization was high, despite using multi-threading in our application.

The Solution: We decided to optimize both our Java application and Amazon Linux environment. Here’s how we addressed the issues:

  1. JVM Tuning: We switched our garbage collector from the default to the G1 garbage collector, which is better suited for large heap sizes. We also increased the JVM heap size to better accommodate our application’s memory needs during peak loads.
  2. Concurrency Optimization: We refactored our application code to reduce the scope of synchronized blocks, and replaced some of the data structures with their concurrent counterparts from the java.util.concurrent package.
  3. EC2 Instance Optimization: We switched our EC2 instances to memory-optimized ones, which better catered to the memory-intensive nature of our application.
  4. System-Level Optimizations: We increased the maximum file descriptor count and made network stack adjustments for better performance.

The Results: After these changes, we ran our suite of performance tests and noticed significant improvements. The garbage collection pauses were much lower, memory-related issues were largely mitigated, and the CPU utilization was more efficient. As a result, the application’s latency dropped by about 30%, considerably improving the overall user experience.


Optimizing Java performance on Amazon Linux 2023 is a multifaceted task that demands a deep understanding of both Java and the underlying Linux system. By tuning the JVM, optimizing Java concurrency, and adjusting system-level parameters, we can significantly enhance the performance of our Java applications. Remember, the key to effective optimization lies in understanding your application’s characteristics, thorough testing, and an iterative approach to tuning.

In this guide, we have traversed the path from understanding the basics of Java and Amazon Linux, setting up the environment, and applying optimization techniques, to validating the performance improvements. By following these strategies, you can harness the true power of running Java applications on Amazon Linux 2023. The world of performance optimization is vast and continually evolving, so never stop exploring and learning. Happy optimizing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How can I choose the right garbage collector for my Java application on Amazon Linux?

Different garbage collectors in Java have different behaviors and are suited to different kinds of applications. The choice depends on the nature of your application and its specific needs. You may need to try different garbage collectors, monitor their performance using tools like VisualVM or GCViewer, and choose the one that performs the best for your use case.

Q2: How can I monitor the performance of my Java application on Amazon Linux?

AWS provides a variety of tools for monitoring applications, including Amazon CloudWatch, AWS X-Ray, and AWS CloudTrail. For JVM-specific monitoring, you can use tools like VisualVM, JConsole, or Java Mission Control.

Q3: My Java application performs well on my local machine but not on an Amazon EC2 instance. Why is that?

Performance can vary significantly between different environments due to various factors, such as available resources (CPU, memory, disk I/O, network), system load, underlying operating system and its configuration, and more. Make sure your EC2 instance type is well-suited to your application’s needs. You might need to tune both your Java application and the Amazon Linux system for optimal performance.

Q4: Which type of Amazon EC2 instance should I use for my Java application?

The choice of Amazon EC2 instance type should be based on the requirements of your Java application. If your application is CPU-intensive, a compute-optimized instances type like the C5 or C6g may be appropriate. For memory-intensive applications, consider using a memory-optimized instance type like R5 or R6g.

Q5: How can I deal with high network latency in my Java application running on Amazon Linux?

Network performance can be optimized at both the application and system levels. At the application level, consider using efficient serialization protocols and libraries for network communication. At the system level, you can tune various network parameters using the sysctl command. AWS also provides enhanced networking capabilities that you can enable for your EC2 instances for better network performance.

Q6: How can I validate the performance improvements after optimizing my Java application on Amazon Linux?

The best way to validate performance improvements is by using a suite of performance tests that simulate your application’s real-world usage. Run these tests before and after the optimization, and compare the results. Tools like JMeter or Gatling can be used for setting up these tests.

Atiqur Rahman

I am MD. Atiqur Rahman graduated from BUET and is an AWS-certified solutions architect. I have successfully achieved 6 certifications from AWS including Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, and Developer Associate. I have more than 8 years of working experience as a DevOps engineer designing complex SAAS applications.

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