Red Hat cache move sparks standards spat

Red Hat's nomination for a Java EE distributed data cache sparks a standards war

By introducing a Java specification for its own Infinispan data grid technology, open-source software provider Red Hat has generated a lively debate within the ranks of the JCP (Java Community Process) over the best way to add distributed caching to enterprise Java.

If implemented in the next version of JEE (Java Enterprise Edition), Red Hat's specification could reduce the need for separate Java distributed caches, such as Oracle's Coherence, VMware's GemStone or Terracotta's open-source Ehcache, argued Craig Muzilla, vice president and general manager of Red Hat's middleware business.

"What we're proposing here is similar [to those products], but it will be a standard, and integrated with Java EE," he said.

But while many in the Java enterprise community agree that a distributed in-memory cache is needed, not everyone thinks that Red Hat's approach is the best solution.

"While trying to appear beneficial to the community, Red Hat is actually pulling a very self-beneficial move--get their product out in front of the community," said Amit Pandey, CEO of Terracotta. "They are trying to pull a fast one."

On Thursday, Red Hat submitted to the JCP (Java Community Process) an as-of-yet-unnumbered JSR (Java Specification Request) that describes the data cache, in hopes the body will include the technology in Java Enterprise Edition 7, due next year.

The work is based off of the company's still-experimental open-source Infinispan data grid distributed cache software.

Like other distributed data caches, Infinispan solves the problem of "input/output bottlenecks going to and from the database," Muzilla explained. With Infinispan, "you can load up the entire database in memory, and relate to that data through an object-relational format. The application does not need to continually go back to the database."

The need for such caches has been growing, especially in the burgeoning field of cloud computing, Muzilla explained. And the enterprise Java community has indicated as much.

"We have been using cache for a decade in all the layers of our architecture. We know how to make caches, so why not specify them[?]" Antonio Goncalves, a developer who is part of the JCP's Java EE 6 expert group, wrote in a much-discussed online "wish-list" of features that he felt should be included in Java EE 7.

Red Hat, however, was not the only organization to have responded to Goncalves. Another group, consisting of engineers from Terracotta, Oracle and even Red Hat, has been working to update JSR-107, an older, once-dormant draft standard for a Java cache.

Despite it never being fully adopted in Java EE, JSR-107 has influenced the design of Java cache products from companies like Terracotta and Oracle. Now that work on that specification has started again, Terracotta is working on an implementation of JSR-107 for its flagship Ehcache software.

"So much work has already gone into JS-107. It seems unusual for someone to come in with a completely untested and unadopted product and try to make that the standard," Terracotta's Pandey said.

Red Hat personnel have shown an impatience for JS-107, however. "It's been inactive for way too long, it is out of date, and the community is pretty jaded about it," Red Hat engineer Manik Surtani wrote in a blog post.

Pandey criticized Infinispan for being difficult to deploy. "Data grids are fairly complex, used by a small niche of folks in high-end applications. The mainstream found it too difficult to use," he said.

Infinispan is "only one architecture for doing a distributed system. What we're focusing on with JSR-107 is simply doing the interfaces," added Ari Zilka, Terracotta founder and chief technology officer, who is involved in the JSR-107 effort.

"The thing that is surprising is not that Red Hat wants to create a standard spec for data grids, but they are trying to replace JSR-107, when they well know the efforts that are currently under way," Zilka said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags application developmentLanguages and standardsdevelopment platformsmiddlewaresoftwareRed Hatcloud computinginternetVMware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?