The move meshes Terracotta's distributed Java caching system with popular stand-alone open source caching product, Ehcache.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

October 6, 2009

3 Min Read

Terracotta has acquired the assets of the open source project, Ehcache, and has merged its code into the Terracotta caching system for clustered Java applications. No amount was disclosed in the deal, which occurred two months ago.

Ehcache was a small open source project that produced a set of caching interfaces that are now widely used by Java programmers. Terracotta bought the rights to the code and its documentation, hired its developers and made project leader Greg Luck its CTO of Ehcache inside the company.

On Tuesday, Terracotta announced that Ehcache is available as part of the Terracotta caching system, which handles distributed caching issues across large clusters, in a new product called Terracotta for Caching. Both it and the original Ehcache are still available as open source code and is often used in single server applications. Terracotta for Caching also comes in three supported enterprise versions priced at $5,000-$8,000 per cluster node.

Ehcache has been linked into Terracotta's open source cache management system. The combination, called Terracotta for Caching, can be used by a Java application that would have formerly used stand-alone Ehcache. With the combination, the application gets caching services for operation on a single server or an ability to throw a switch to work across multiple servers in a cluster.

It's the caching system that allows a travel site to make the seats on a plane flight available to buyers, and know at the time of an individual purchase that the seat sought hasn't already been sold to someone else. In effect, many buyers may view the seat at the same time, but the first one to put down the money closes out the prospect for other buyers. A decision on one server changes the data, and a caching system informs the other servers of the change.

In Terracotta's case, caching extends the ability to manage data to running Java applications. Application cache management uses various methods of bringing Java application data out of the database into the server's memory, or in Terracotta's case, a cluster of server memories, where application functions are constructed as modules of code, then shared.

Accessing application parts in servers' random access memories as software objects is much faster than retrieving raw data repeatedly from the database. Terracotta can track where the objects are in a pool of server memories and synchronize use of them across Java Virtual Machines.

"In the past, your application would have had to be configured to talk to Terracotta. Now you don't. You do it through the Ehcache (caching API)," said Pandey. What used to be a way to link a Java application to a simple cache service has become a door that can open to Teracotta as well.

Oracle supplies a high end cache management product, Coherence. Amit Pandy, CEO of Teracotta, said the combination of Ehcache plus Terracotta represents two open source code products teaming up to provide a similar, high end caching system.

It took only a few lines of code to integrate the operation of the two, Pandey said. Ehcache also will continue to exist as stand-alone, open source code. Greg Luck, lead developer of Ehcache and a consultant on its operation, has joined Terracotta as CTO of Terracotta's Ehcache.

Terracotta for Caching is available as open source code under a Terracotta License, modeled on Mozilla, or as a high performance, enterprise product with technical support from Terracotta for $5,000-$8,000 per node.

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About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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