Terracotta increases BigMemory footprint

Terracotta BigMemory 3.7 also includes improvements in search and security

To better deal with the expanding abilities of servers, Terracotta's in-memory Java caching software, BigMemory, can now officially work with four times the amount of memory supported by the last release.

BigMemory Version 3.7, released Tuesday, can support up to 4TB per JVM (Java Virtual Machine) per server. The previous edition , Version 3.6, released in October, could only officially support up to 1TB per JVM per machine.

"The state-of-the-art commodity server last year had a terabyte [of memory]. Now it is 2 or 4 terabytes," said Gary Nakamura, general manager of Terracotta. As a result, "we increased the upper bound from a certification perspective."

Terracotta's customers have been gravitating toward larger deployments, so the certification for new server configurations is timely, Nakamura explained. The company has customers running data stores that are 100TB and 150TB -- users can expand the footprint of BigMemory by using multiple servers.

Nothing was stopping users from deploying BigMemory on the larger servers since the software has no theoretical upper limit, but Terracotta has tested and now officially recognizes the software's use on these new machines, Nakamura said.

BigMemory 3.7 includes a number of other new features as well. For the first time, the software can compress data, allowing a terabyte of data to be placed in 500GB of space. There is "very little" additional latency for compressing and decompressing data, since most servers have idle multicore CPUs that can handle the additional workload, Nakamura explained.

BigMemory has also improved its built-in search engine. Based on Apache Lucene, the BigMemory search engine lowers the time it takes to search across terabytes of in-memory data. It also allows users to refine their search by grouping results by one category.

BigMemory 3.7 offers a few new security features as well. It can restrict access to designated users and it now bases access permissions on the organization's LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) setup. The software can now encrypt inbound and outbound communication using SSL (Secure Socket Layer).

BigMemory is an in-memory cache for programs running on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It is based on the Ehcache, an open-source software for Java caching. By placing working data into RAM, systems can access data more quickly, and thereby speed transactions.

More than 500,000 organizations use BigMemory and associated software, according to Terracotta. Banks use the software to cut time in fraud detection, and airlines use the technology to better support customer call centers. Notable customers include J.P. Morgan, Sabre, Comcast and Omnifone.

In addition to its usual customer base of large, transaction-heavy users, Terracotta is marketing BigMemory for business analysis uses, noting many large-scale data warehouses and Hadoop setups can't provide results quickly enough.

BigMemory is priced on a per-usage model, starting at about US$1,000 per GB. Software AG purchased Terracotta in 2011.

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

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