In a move intended to improve the lives of the companies' customers, GemStone Systems and Rogue Wave Software last week announced a partnership that will look to leverage the symbiotic nature of their respective software solutions, GemFire Enterprise Data Fabric (EDF) and Hydra Suite.
One of the key components of Rogue Wave's Hydra Suite is HydraSCA, a service grid architecture that maximizes performance and throughput for highly concurrent applications or services. When combined with GemFire EDF's capabilities in distributed, in-memory data caching, these services will have instant access to data pooled from all parts of the distributed infrastructure.
Although the partnership is still in its initial stages in terms of a tight technological integration, GemStone chief architect Jags Ramnarayan believes it will have a big impact on joint customers, especially those in the financial services field, where he says both vendors have relatively strong footholds. “A lot of these investment banks are looking at SOA architectures. … Right from the get-go, they're really driven by low latency,” said Ramnarayan. “They still want the loose coupling that service-oriented architecture offers, but how do you achieve that extreme throughput?”
GemStone's EDF solution is, of course, designed to work with pretty much any grid engine dedicated to the compute/business logic part of the equation, hence a deeper basis for the strategic partnership with Rogue Wave. According to Ramnarayan, it really comes down to similar engineering cultures and past cooperation between the companies, as well as a mutual interest in helping one another succeed. “Give the nature of some of the joint customers we're going after,” explained Ramnarayan, “we want to be fairly nimble so that we can make sure both companies have equal interest and equal stakes in making sure these deployments succeed.”
In a press release announcing the partnership, Rogue Wave president Cory Isaacson offered the following insights into the partnership: “Rogue Wave Software chose to partner with GemStone Systems in response to customer requests for high-performance data management solutions in their Rogue Wave Hydra implementations. As more firms turn to distributed environments such as grid and SOA, they are realizing the importance of incorporating distributed data caching and data management capabilities along with concurrent computing and other performance initiatives. The combined force of GemFire and the Rogue Wave Hydra Suite will deliver a comprehensive, scalable solution that will address both data and transaction execution challenges.”
Looking a little deeper, though, it seems like this partnership might do more than simply combine two complementary technologies: It could provide a unified front for both GemStone and Rogue Wave as the distributed data caching, SOA and grid-based application platform markets continue to gain momentum. There is “a lot of evidence,” said Ramnarayan, the relational database approach is essentially gone for a variety of applications — those that are highly clustered and/or highly collaborative in nature, or with highly unpredictable demand characteristics — and has been replaced by a need for on-the-fly scalability. Of course, for those following the Grid 2.0 marketplace, this is no novel idea.
The past year has brought noticeable gains in mindshare for companies like GigaSpaces, Tangosol and Appistry, as well as GemStone Systems, which feature in-memory data caching as a key feature of their respective solutions. The announcement in March that database giant Oracle would be acquiring Tangosol served only to solidify this momentum and prove that this technology is for real. If GemStone and Rogue Wave — two vendors that each tackle the next-generation, distributed datacenter market from different angles — can indeed partner successfully, they could present strong competition for others in the space, who might individually offer more complete solutions.
Its partnership with Rogue Wave aside, though, Ramnarayan believes GemStone is poised for success just as long as businesses continue to scale by adding commodity hardware. He's also a fan of the increasingly popular notion of event-driven architectures. Said Ramnarayan: “The more we see event-driven architectures — where it's no longer someone typing something on the screen or hitting an 'okay' button that causes an interaction with the database — and the more we see that if one application is generating events, those events automatically drive other applications in the logical business flow, the more there is relevance for a technology like ours.”