Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Nate Vickery, Elizabeth White, Gopala Krishna Behara, Sridhar Chalasani, Tirumala Khandrika

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

The Growing Relevance of In-Memory Data Grids

Cloud is bringing IMDG technology back to the spotlight

The growing consumer affinity to cloud is spurring on various new technological trends. It's not all new technology mind you, but there seems to be a growing appetite for anything that can remotely be put into the context of cloud computing. In some ways, cloud has been good for bringing previously existing technologies back to the forefront and resulting in needed innovation in the area. Besides virtualization technologies, I believe that one of the best examples of this is in-memory data grid technology.

Despite what some may try to purport, in-memory data grids are not a by-product of the cloud computing revolution. The truth is they existed for a while before cloud, but to be fair, IMDGs probably owe a tip of the hat to the cloud computing craze for bringing them back into the spotlight. Increasingly, we are seeing workloads that are highly scalable, temporal, and elastic making their way into the cloud. These application characteristics often align nicely with the use of IMDGs, so we see renewed interest and quite a bit of innovative activity around these solutions.

I have been spending a lot of time lately working with users that are in the process of defining an evolution to their current enterprise middleware environments. In this work, cloud and IMDG technology has been front and center. My last few posts have been dedicated to talking about some of the cloud trends I have seen during the course of this work, but today I want to focus on IMDG solutions. Specifically, I want to share with you what I'm seeing in terms of how users are currently looking to use this technology, and provide my own thoughts about possible usage scenarios going forward. Let's start with the common, currently targeted usage scenarios:

1) IMDG as a database buffer: This is perhaps the single most common use case. Here users look to front traditional data stores with a distributed IMDG. This can serve to increase the performance of the application and thereby improve end-user experience by offering faster data access. It can also help to reduce the pressure on the backend database by making the IMDG instance the system of record and periodically batching changes to send off to the database. There are many different techniques for buffering an existing database with an IMDG, but the motivations (increase performance, decrease database reliance, decrease costs) are usually much the same.

2) IMDG as a simple cache: You may hear this referred to as the side cache scenario as well. This usage pattern is a little less intrusive to existing application architecture than #1 above. Here, applications receive an incoming request that requires data, and they first check in the simple cache instance to see if the data exists there. If not, the application proceeds to retrieve the data normally, typically from a relational database system, and then inserts this data into the simple cache. Obviously, when the application finds data in the simple cache, you reduce the path of the application and thus decrease overall response time. This is an especially prevalent pattern for storing conversational state (think HTTP sessions) for applications.

3) IMDG as a service request cache: This is really a variant of #2 above, but I call it out separately because users typically implement it at a different tier in the application architecture. Instead of updating the application to be aware of some IMDG for a simple cache, users insert this awareness further up the stream, often at the ESB tier. Requests come into the application environment, but before they hit the application, some component dissects the request to determine if it can fulfill it from the cache. If so, the entire path becomes significantly shorter, and if not the mediation component inserts the response in the simple cache on the way back out. Again, it is not very different than #2, but in my opinion it is worth distinguishing as it occurs at a completely different tier in the overall architecture.

Those are three common patterns that I run into quite frequently today with IMDG technology. There are a couple of more usage patterns that I have seen once or twice, but are not yet prevalent. ‘Yet' is the key word here as I tend to think we will be seeing more of these use cases in the near future:

1) IMDG as an event filter: To be clear here, I am not suggesting that IMDG instances would morph into event processors. There are completely separate solutions that do that very well. What I am talking about is using the distributed logic processing capabilities shipped with most IMDG solutions to quickly determine if a given event needs further processing. In this way, events that occur in the enterprise can flow through an easily scalable IMDG filter, and then only if necessary sent to an event processor for more expensive computation. In the increasingly event-driven architectures that are emerging today, I feel this could become a popular pattern.

2) IMDG as a map/reduce engine: Many IMDG solutions deliver the capability to distribute logic, as mentioned in #1 above, and many offer a map/reduce model as a means to do this. As skills on map/reduce programming start to permeate enterprise IT shops, I think users will see compelling use cases for IMDG built primarily on this methodology. The ability to quickly distribute logic, calculate results, and further refine those results all out in the grid is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. It can in fact be quite liberating to leverage the processing power of a distributed grid to solve important yet complex business problems.

Now, I have no idea if the two use cases above will in fact pan out as mainstream in the near future. I see massive potential there because of their alignment with emerging architectures and their ability to deliver real business value.  However, I can also imagine IMDG technology taking off in entirely different directions. Whatever the near future holds though, I think one thing is certain: We are just beginning to explore the art of the possible when it comes to IMDG technology.

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.

@CloudExpo Stories
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone in...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: imple...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, described how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launching ...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...