Oracle To Get Tangosol's Cache Technology

Oracle's announcement of its pending acquisition of data grid provider Tangosol caused a stir last week. Early to the market in 2001 with a Java-based "clustered cache" platform, Tangosol is considered a top player among the data grid pure plays.

Tangosol, a 30-person company based in Somerville, Mass., offers an in-memory distributed data cache that lets companies store live information on multiple servers. The product essentially brings information out of backend systems (databases) and closer to applications. The Tangosol data grid, Coherence, supports high-performance environments, such as financial services, hospitality, logistics and other industries that demand real-time analytics, events and extreme transaction processing.

The deal, whose financials are undisclosed, is expected to close in April. Tangosol Coherence will strengthen Oracle's SOA (service-oriented architecture) and data management middleware stack.

"I think it is a brilliant move on their part," said Mike Gilpin, vice president and research director, Forrester Research. "The only thing that is a little tricky is that [Oracle] already had this technology from TimesTen, which could be used to do some of the same kinds of use cases. The difference is TimesTen is not a distributed technology. Although you could have it running on multiple nodes of the network, the code was not designed from the ground up so that all of the nodes are communicating all the time and synchronizing their content."

Cache coherence was designed into the Tangosol technology from the start. Even so, TimesTen can be used to solve some of the same extreme transaction processing problems, "and that's a little confusing for customers," he said.

On the other hand, Gilpin added, somebody at the developer level -- knowing that they need to make information available coherently in a cache around the network -- will immediately recognize that the Tangosol technology applies to that problem and TimesTen doesn't.

Tangosol also announced the general availability of its first .NET implementation last week.

The Coherence Data Grid for .NET provides developers with the general ability to connect into the data grid and consume all of its services. It enables caching, parallel processing, and general indication, which is the ability to submit work to the data grid so that it can be distributed and executed in parallel. Those capabilities are surfaced as a .NET API.

Many Wall Street clients are asking for the .NET functionality, often with regard to client applications that need to access Java-based servers, said Peter Utzschneider, Tangosol's vice president of marketing. Wachovia and another unnamed company are putting these systems into production this quarter.

SOA infrastructure is another driver for the .NET implementation.

"Between our technology and a very good data abstraction layer providing data as a service, you need to have multi-language support," Utzschneider said, "so the application developers are writing to a service that's defined and do not have to concern themselves either with the underlying data sources, the impact of what they want to do, or the other consumers of that data."

Coherence Data Grid pricing starts around $20,000. Coherence Data Grid for .NET is $200 per concurrent user.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards ([email protected]) is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.