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Jason Feng, DigIO

If you haven’t read Part I, which includes a brief introduction to GraalVM and Spring Native, please have a read here

Introducing Quarkus

Quarkus, from Red Hat, is another popular option in the market when working on GraalVM native image. It’s a Kubernetes-native framework, optimised for a serverless environment. It’s designed to work with popular Java standards, frameworks and libraries, like Spring, MicroProfile, Vert.x, JAX-RS, Kafka and more. It offers fast startup time, low memory consumption, improved Java app performance and increased developer productivity.

Here is an example Quarkus application:

A Handler implements the AWS RequestHandler

A Service class
A Repository class to return dummy hardcoded airport info
Then we have a model class for the response
within the , we need to define where the handler is
To build a native image, please install the GraalVM and then run

then the executable should at /target/lightweight-java-quarkus-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT-runner

Next, let’s jump into the build and deployment with CDK.

There are a few things we need to do here:

Custom runtime. AWS Lambda, by default, provides different runtime for quite a few languages. However, for Java, GraalVM is not supported at the moment, it’s only amazon-corretto-8 and amazon-corretto-11 . With this what we need is the custom runtime provided.al2.

Build a native image with the custom runtime. In order to have the native executable able to run on the AWS custom runtime, the application must build within the same OS. This can be achieved by building the project in a docker image with Amazon Linux 2 as the OS and Graalvm(Gradle/Maven etc) installed. Here is the docker image.

Deployment package. As per AWS documentation, the deployment package requires both a bootstrap file that lambda runs and the executable. Here is a sample of bootstrap

Trigger of Lambda function. Here we have an API Gateway with a custom domain(optional) that trigger the lambda function.

Here is the full CDK code which and
To Deploy the lambda with CDK, first, we need to do a CDK bootstrap

And then deploy

To Deploy the lambda with CDK, first, we need to do a CDK bootstrap

The application will take a while to build and deploy to AWS. Grab a ☕️ , sit back and relax. Once the build and deployment are finished, you should be able to see the URL as the output. Let’s, again, perform a quick HTTP request to both the standard Java and Quarkus lambda. The difference, as expected, is gigantic. For lambda code start, it’s 1.65s vs 15.2s, lambda warmed up is 737ms vs 1.28s.


In this article, we’ve demonstrated a Quarkus application running in AWS Lambda with a super fast cold start-up time and swift response time. It’s based on Java standards, hence bringing Java to the Serverless world without learning anything new.

Quarkus has attracted a lot of attention lately and there are new features being added every day. To try it out, Quarkus provided several quickstart projects in its GitHub repo.

The full source code can be found here