Terracotta and Software AG’s Vision for the Cloud
Backed by Software AG, Terracotta will accelerate its existing product development plans.
Greg founded Ehcache in 2003. Upon Terracotta’s acquisition of Ehcache in 2009, he assumed the role as the project’s CTO and has been instrumental in building the technology into an enterprise-class caching solution. Greg is also deeply committed to fostering Ehcache’s loyal open source community and regularly speaks at international conferences and seminars. Greg holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Queensland and a Masters in mInformation Technology from the Queensland University of Technology.
Last month, it was revealed that the distributed caching and in-memory computing company, Terracotta, had been acquired by Software AG. In a press release, Software AG stated that Terracotta will be used to provide the “cornerstone technology” for the company’s cloud strategy. In this interview, JAXenter speaks to Terracotta’s Greg Luck on the two companies’ plans for the cloud, and what the future holds for Terracotta’s existing open source products.
JAXenter: What impact will the recent acquisition by Software AG, have on Terracotta’s existing open source products – Ehcache, Quartz and the Terracotta platform?
Greg Luck: First, if you are a community member, and have faithfully been using or just contemplating using any of our technology – from Ehcache, to Quartz, to Terracotta Server Arrays – rest assured, it gets better from here. We intend to continue our strategic investments in open source technology, focused on improving performance and scale for your applications. We will continue to host the same web sites, services, and domains you are used to, and in fact will soon be increasing our efforts to make the community sites easier to use. Everything will continue as planned – or faster – on the open source front.
JAXenter: How will Terracotta’s snap-in performance and scale be integrated into Software AG’s solutions?
Greg: There will be some initial integration into Software AG’s products this year followed by further work in next year’s releases. In general, Terracotta will be used to help boost the performance and enhance the scalability of Software AG’s products. The first phase of product integration (planned for later this year) is expected to deliver enhancements to WebMethods Integration Server, including public caching services, as well as improvements to other products such as CentraSite.
JAXenter: What is Terracotta and Software AG’s vision for the cloud?
Greg: Terracotta works in, and is widely deployed in, the cloud. Our software is used by adding jars such as Ehcache to your application and then running up a Terracotta Server Array on a number of servers. Our vision going forward is that the Terracotta Server Array will be used as a Caching Utility in the cloud. Achieving that vision will:
1. Continue to expand cloud features such as automatic elasticity, multi-tenancy and fine-grained security so that the software matches the expectations clouds have for Caching Utilities.
2. Integrate with popular cloud environments and provisioning technologies.
Terracotta has a vision for extremely high density in-memory storage using its BigMemory technology. Outside the cloud, this vision is achieved with deployments on servers with hundreds of GB of RAM. Inside the cloud the focus on sharing machine resources has so far restricted availability of very large virtual machines. Our vision is for the cloud to support the same high density in-memory computing. We are pleased that cloud providers like Amazon are answering this call with so far, VMs with 68GB of RAM, but we would encourage them to do more. Because they are restricted by the physical hardware of commodity servers. We also encourage hardware vendors to make large amounts of memory available at lower cost.
Software AG’s webMethods is a heavy user of databases for storage of internal results across its components. But database performance has been a weak area for cloud providers so far. webMethods will overcome this limitation by leveraging Terracotta to achieve in-memory storage. Customers today have large enterprise deployments. The vision is to enable these customers to use the cloud how they like. So, enabling bursting of capacity to private clouds connected to these infrastructures first, and then supporting completely cloud-based deployments.
Finally there are markets of new users who will want to access Software AG’s products in new ways. Various PaaS and SaaS options are being considered.
JAXenter: What are the plans for Terracotta’s commercial products?
Greg: Firstly, backed by Software AG, Terracotta will accelerate its existing product development plans. Secondly, Software AG’s products need very much the same capabilities as our existing customers so not much will change here. Finally, the focus for development over the next few years will be on adding more enterprise features, adding more cloud features and increasing scale.