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Oracle updates Coherence data grid tools

Joab Jackson, IDG News Service | April 18, 2011
Faced with an increasingly competitive market for large-scale distributed data caches, Oracle has endeavored to make its own Coherence data grid software sprightlier and simpler to use.

Also thanks to flash support, this is also the first version of the software that doesn't require that the administrator set the size of the data grid beforehand. Instead, the administrator can set aside some solid-state flash memory on one of the servers to act as an overflow buffer.

Purdy said he did not know of an upper limit to a size of a data grid using this technique. "That would depend on the application itself," he said.

"We're now pretty comfortable in telling our customers that a couple terabytes of memory is easily achievable," he said. "You no longer have to tell the system how big each cache should be."

Oracle has also tackled the performance problem that came with Java garbage collection, or the built-in process within Java to periodically free up memory no longer in use. Because the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) executes this operation automatically, all other operations go on hold, introducing latency into the program's operation.

With this release, Oracle re-engineered the architecture of Coherence so it reduces the severity of this interruption. In a nutshell, Oracle minimized the number of objects that an application within Coherence creates. With fewer objects, less time is needed for garbage collection, Purdy said.

"We've reduced the number of objects by about 80%, which is a dramatic improvement," he said. "We can stuff a lot more data into the same chunk of memory, without having a lot more objects."

Coherence also comes with a number of other improvements intended to make deployment easier overall.

The software has been integrated with Oracle's GlassFish application server, which should lower the time it takes to deploy the software on a GlassFish cluster.

For this release, Oracle also worked with the vendor F5, which offers a load balancing appliance, called Big IP, that now can be easily paired with Coherence.

"Big IP can work with Coherence to do dynamic load balancing," Purdy said. "If you have Big IP in your infrastructure, you can offload the load balancing," he said.

 

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