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Java In-Memory Grid Hazelcast gets VC Funding from Bain Capital

by Srini Penchikala on Sep 18, 2013 |

Open source in-memory data grid company Hazelcast received funding from Bain Capital Ventures. Joining the board of the company are Rod Johnson (founder of SpringSource), Salil Deshpande (a prominent venture capitalist who focuses on open source and software infrastructure) and Ali Kutay (former CEO of WebLogic).

The in-memory computing market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43% and is currently served by commercial products such as Oracle's Coherence, GigaSpaces, and VMware's GemFire. This is one of the few areas of the application server stack that hasn’t been disrupted by open source.

With 70,000 downloads per month and 50+ paying customers, Hazelcast is becoming a good choice for distributed caching requirements.

There are some noteworthy human-interest aspects about this investment. Salil Deshpande, a well-known open source and middleware investor, joined Bain Capital Ventures in 2013. At his prior firm he had invested in several successful ventures like SpringSource, MuleSoft, Engine Yard (Ruby on Rails), Groovy and Grails, Maven, Datastax (the company behind the open source Cassandra NoSQL database), ZeroTurnaround and Dynatrace (application performance management tool). In 2013, Forbes named him to The Midas List, the list of the 100 best-performing venture capitalists in the world.

Rod Johnson will co-invest with Bain and take a board seat on Hazelcast. Also co-investing and joining the board is Ali Kutay. Interestingly, this is a reunification for Rod Johnson and Salil Deshpande, as Salil backed Rod in the early days at SpringSource.

"Hazelcast is a game-changer for mission-critical terascale in-memory problems," said Rod Johnson. "Linearly scaling transactional data in-memory is becoming key across many industries, not just early adopters like financial services, large scale ecommerce, telco, multiplayer gaming and mobile cloud. This is a tough problem, and Hazelcast has an elegant and disruptive open source solution. I’m particularly excited by what I hear from developers about Hazelcast: It’s no wonder Hazelcast already has a large community."

According to Talip Ozturk, the founder of Hazelcast, there was interest from a huge number of investors but he chose Bain Capital Ventures and Salil because Salil has been an early stage open source investor and his technical knowledge and track record spoke for itself.

InfoQ spoke with Salil about this new investment in the caching framework and what this means for future road map of the product.

InfoQ: Hi Salil, can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what you are working on lately?

Salil: Bain Capital Ventures is the ventures group of Bain Capital. I focus on open source, software infrastructure, middleware and other such nerdy things. So that includes things like app servers, databases, caching, logging, developer tools and frameworks, application performance management, testing, continuous integration, deployment and release automation… you get the idea. This fund we’re investing out of is a $660M stage-agnostic fund, raised in 2012. We raise a new fund every three years. We are nine Managing Directors, myself and one other in Palo Alto, six in Boston, and one in New York.

InfoQ: What made you interested in caching and data grids, and what impressed you about Hazelcast?

Salil: Big picture, there’s more data now than ever before, and applications are drowning in this data. Yet they need to perform and scale. Thus one application may need to run on hundreds of nodes – where sharing, caching, replicating data between nodes, managing this data properly and efficiently in-memory, moving data efficiently between memory and database, allowing publish-subscribe of in-memory state across nodes, and most importantly, doing it with minimal impact to your application code, becomes critical.

Hazelcast does this. It’s one small jar file (less than one megabyte) that you drop into the classpath of your server application. You get distributed implementations of the Java collection classes, a distributed implementation of the Java ExecutorService, distributed version of Java concurrency locks, publish-subscribe, transaction support and Java EE container integration via JCA, distributed listeners and events, dynamic clustering, including dynamic HTTP session clustering, and many other things.

So, the technology just rocks. There are probably 2000+ organizations using the open source version and not paying for support. But there were 50 or so paying customers and we talked to a dozen or so. And they just loved and raved about the product. The product is deployed in probably several hundred mission-critical production environments.

 

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Hasn't been disrupted? by Manik Surtani

Open source distributed caches have existed for a while now. See Red Hat's Infinispan ( infinispan.org ) for example.

About commercial offerings by Peter Dotchev

You forgot to mention SAP HANA. It is one of the first hits, if you search for "in-memory computing".

Re: About commercial offerings by miko matsumura

SAP HANA is an in-memory database, Hazelcast is an in-memory data grid. These are two very different product categories, although in some use cases you can use Hazelcast where you would deploy SAP HANA.

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