Live long in the memory?

Gridgain’s $10m funding gives in-memory credence

Chris Mayer

The latest funding for the Californian company comes at the ideal time, with the area of expertise expected to tiptoe to $1bn by 2016.

Just like Big Data, in-memory computing has been hurtling towards the mainstream. The two areas dovetail each other fairly well, as enterprises hunt for the quickest methods of storing and processing data.

Several in-memory data grids, such as Pivotal’s GemFire and Red Hat’s Infinispan, have gained traction in recent times because of  their low latency, horizontal scalability and greater reliability, as data is stored in a distributed cluster.

Another in-memory company, Gridgain, has this week secured a $10m Series B round of funding, giving credence to the recent rapid rise of the area of expertise. The funding will be used to expand Gridgain sales and marketing effort, as well as being used in product development

The firm, based in California, are predominantly known for their Java-based analytics stack, In-Memory Computing platform. This is split into two main components. In-Memory Compute Grid (IMCG) is the processing part of the operation, executing necessary algorithms. GridGain provide essentially a souped-up version of MapReduce, capable of sub-100ms computations.


In-Memory Data Grid (IMDG) provides the storage in an extremely parallelized manner in memory, making it possible to load terabytes of data at breakneck speed, thus tying nicely into the needs of Big Data-consuming companies. The key value store is capable of gobbling transactional and non-transactional data.

The ability to query in real-time within IMDG gives it a plus point over bog standard HDFS, giving the company a distinct advantage and putting it firmly ahead of the curve. While many Hadoop vendors have recognised that HDFS’s speed isn’t up to scratch, some customers may not be willing to wait for new projects to shore up and mature to give Hadoop a much-needed boost.

Curiously, Gridgain also provide finely-tuned plugins for Hadoop and MongoDB, with he Hadoop accelerator alone promising a 10x speed boost. Users can even snapshot data within the framework.

The company boast some impressive clients using the analytics solutions, with the likes of Sony, TomTom and Cisco Systems all using Gridgain technology in production. GridGain was founded by Nikita Ivanov and Dmitriy Setrakyan in 2007, and the latest funding round takes the firm’s total investment to $12.5m.

Massimo Pezzini, VP and Fellow at software analyst Gartner believes that “In-memory will have an industry impact comparable to web and cloud.”

The global analyst predicted back in April that, although the in-data memory grid market is still its infancy, it will be worth $1 billion by 2016. Leaders of the sector SAP are even bolder, betting that their HANA database will be generate as much cash on its own. With Gridgain’s latest investment, it’s become even clearer that in-memory data grids are set to become a critical part of the enterprise infrastructure in the next two to three years.
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