Databases are getting faster every day. But they're still a significant bottleneck for many Web applications or Web sites. Why? Mechanical hard drives, impeded by the laws of physics, bog down the relational databases that read and write to them.
Terracotta Inc.'s namesake software is an open-source Java clustering solution.
According to CEO Amit Pandey, the software ties multiple Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) underpinning Java-based Web apps into one big cluster. That allows users to add more app servers to scale out at the application level. It caches all of the transactions going through the Java app while writing them to disk separate from the database.
This way, data generated during a transaction can be quickly stored and, if an app server fails, just as quickly recalled, without having to write each intermediate result to the database itself.
That's perfect for data that is vital during a transaction -- say, the items in your shopping cart -- but that does not necessarily need to be written to disk until the transaction (i.e. the purchase) is finished.
Terracotta has about 50 paying customers -- mostly enterprises -- with more than twice that number using it for free, Pandey said. Customers include Adobe Systems Inc., Comcast Corp., JP Morgan, and MapQuest Inc.
The largest group of those customers are using Terracotta in conjunction with Oracle databases. One company that does online testing, according to Pandey, was able to double the number of students it served from 10,000 to 20,000 by using Terracotta and adding ten free open-source application servers. The company spent about $300,000 on Terracotta and the servers, he said, in contrast to the $2.1 million price tag the firm was quoted if it added more Oracle databases instead.
Namesake, Open-Source, Open Source, Java, Clustering, Storage, Database, Server, Database Server