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SpringSource Turns Its Focus to Distributed Data Caching with GemStone Acquisition

by Scott Delap on May 06, 2010 |

 Today VMware announced the acquisition of GemStone Systems, Inc. Gemstone will operate under VMware's Springsource division. Among Gemstone's products is the distributed Java data caching GemFire. Up to this point, third party products such as Terracotta, Oracle Coherence, and the now acquired GemFire have filled this void in the Spring technology stack. From the press release:

...The acquisition will advance SpringSource and VMware’s vision of providing the infrastructure necessary for emerging cloud-centric applications, with built-in availability, scalability, security and performance guarantees. These modern applications require new approaches to data management, given they will be deployed across elastic, highly scalable, geographically distributed architectures. With the addition of GemStone’s data management solutions, customers will be able to make the right data available to the right applications at the right time within a distributed cloud environment.

“Data management technologies are fundamental to the creation of applications, and with the rise of virtualization and cloud computing, the manner in which applications need to access data is evolving,” said Rod Johnson, general manager of the SpringSource division of VMware. “Cloud computing is a distributed deployment model, and for that reason, caching and data accessibility are of far greater strategic importance than before. We are acquiring and will integrate into the SpringSource portfolio a well-regarded set of high-performing data management solutions with GemStone.”...

InfoQ sat down with SpringSource's Rod Johnson and GemStone's Richard Lamb to discuss their plans going forward.

InfoQ first asked for the reasoning for GemStone as VMware's pick to fill the Java caching piece of the Spring puzzle in comparison to other options. Johnson explained that careful consideration was made in exploring market options. "Data caching products take years to tune appropriately based on real world conditions and customer feedback. We are very impressed by the quality of Gemstone's products. This quality provides a solid foundation for SpringSource to add the types of developer tooling and ease of use features that are found in other SpringSource products." Johnson went on to note that SpringSource will look into putting caching abstractions into the Spring stack similar to other abstractions for core application building blocks. These caching abstractions will fit with Gemstone and may fit with other data grid products. Overall SpringSource sees the obvious value in being able to dynamically scale data access for both behind the firewall and cloud applications in a manner that is not directly tied to datastore scaling. "Java data caching breaks the lock and weakens the binding between app code and relational database"

InfoQ asked GemStone's Richard Lamb his perspective of being able to work with VMware and SpringSource. Lamb explained that GemStone has traditionally focused on core market segments where they can provide value. "At our core we have focused on solving difficult problems. As a part of SpringSource we hope to broaden our visibility into other markets that can gain from our solutions. We are also excited to introduce our capabilities to the Spring developer community." Lamb went on to mentioned that integration with SpringSource tooling will also provide many benefits.

InfoQ asked about the future for other Gemstone products such as MagLev, a Ruby implementation with a integrated distributed shared cache.  SpringSource will continue with the same licensing, development focus, and support offerings currently provided by Gemstone for its products.  The near term integration roadmap includes tc Server Integration and  GemStore integration with VMForce and VMware private cloud offerings.

Other coverage of the GemStone Acquisition:
eWeek
ReadWriteCloud
Rod Johnson Blog Post on the Acquisition

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