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GigaSpaces 5.2 Promises Extreme Scalability for .NET

GigaSpaces' abstraction layer eliminates the complexity of writing to a parallelized environment.

Certain companies rise and fall on their ability to process oceans of stateful transactions as quickly as possible: financial services, stock trading, telecommunications, even online gaming and gambling interests. They also need the means to grow this capacity as conditions change.

GigaSpaces is an application server platform from Israel-based software company GigaSpaces Technologies Ltd. The company seeks to create a programming environment that enables high-throughput, low-latency applications capable of scaling over many machines to meet extreme demand.

Messaging, data transfer and parallel processing chores are handled by the GigaSpaces middleware. The services layer allows programmers to focus on developing core business logic, rather than plumbing or scalability.

"Our message to developers is, 'Write your application as if you were writing to a single box. Don't worry about the parallelization,'" says Geva Perry, chief marketing officer for GigaSpaces.

"This thing can scale," Perry asserts. "We've done systems with 2,000 CPUs, handling 2TB of information."

The Java-based product supports a range of common open APIs, and with version 5.2 is billed as having support for pure .NET environments.

Another aspect of the GigaSpaces platform involves improving application performance by partitioning data and storing it in virtual caches, closer to the applications. The company calls the approach an in-memory data grid. The idea is to eliminate the traditional bottlenecks that occur at the database. GigaSpaces competes in this space with the likes of Tangosol.

Gartner analyst Massimo Pezzini offered a measured nod to GigaSpaces in a May report.

"Users looking for technologies enabling 'extreme' scalability, performance and availability should look at GigaSpaces but be aware of risks associated with adopting a leading-edge, still-evolving technology from a small, albeit growing company," Pezzini wrote.

GigaSpaces
[click image for larger view]
GigaSpaces' abstraction layer eliminates the complexity of writing to a parallelized environment.

In an interview, Pezzini says he's heard mostly positive feedback about the product. "I spoke with a decent number of customers and they are pretty happy, I would say. One comment I heard is that the product ... is a bit complex to deploy," he says.

Forrester Research analyst John Rymer compared GigaSpaces' concept to IBM's WebSphere Extended Deployment. "I believe [GigaSpaces] has a richer feature set than IBM. That's where [the company's] at. ... IBM is going to pick up a lot of business just because it's IBM. [GigaSpaces] just has to out-perform [IBM]," Rymer explains.

GigaSpaces Enterprise Edition 5.2 costs $15,000 per CPU. GigaSpaces Caching Edition, which consists of the data-management portion of the software, is priced at $5,000 per CPU. Volume discounts apply.

About the Author

Chris Kanaracus is the news editor for Redmond Developer News.

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