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VMware vFabric SQLFire Is Both an SQL Distributed Cache and a Datastore

by Abel Avram on Jun 18, 2011 |

VMware vFabric SQLFire is an in-memory distributed SQL-based cache which can work with a traditional database to persist data to disk.

VMware vFabric SQLFire is a distributed in-memory shared-nothing fault-tolerant SQL data management system that was recently announced as part of vFabric 5. SQLFire offers a JDBC or ADO.NET interface for querying the datastore in a pure SQL manner, but the keys and indexes are stored in memory to provide high scalability, availability and better performance. In that respect it works as a distributed caching layer similarly to vFabric GemFire or Oracle Coherence, but it can also transparently store data to disk for persistence reasons, but the “storage architecture on disk is radically different than classic SQL databases - all changes geared towards high scale, HA and providing predictable low latencies irrespective of the load through horizontal scaling,” said Jags Ramnarayan, SQLFire Chief Architect. SQLFire can also use a RDBMS for persistence and it is going to support “all major databases including Oracle, MySQL, Sybase, DB2, SQLServer and postGres,” added Ramnarayan. Thus VMware’s solution lengthens the life of relational databases that now can be used in scenarios they are normally not fit for. Ramnarayan explains:

SQLFire is being positioned both as a possible distributed caching platform as well as a data store. Doesn't necessarily mean we are trying to replace the use of Oracle or MySQL, but, we think there are a number of use cases where the classic RDB is a misfit. Think session state management, conversational state, workflow metadata, online transaction data for high scaled situations (too many concurrent connections or highly distributed data access requirements) just to name a few cases.

SQLFire “leverages our time-tested, production GemFire technology but adds a SQL interface enabling a broad group of skilled database programmers access to it,” added Blake Connell, GemFire Product Marketing, VMware.

SQLFire is being offered as part of vFabric Advanced for $1,800 per VM, but it will also be offered as a standalone product, but the financial details are not known yet because “we’re still working through the licensing terms and pricing for the standalone offering,” said Connell.

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