Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Xenia von Wedel, Sanjay Zalavadia

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Apache

Open Source Cloud: Article

Memcached Goes Commercial

There’s a new database gun in town -NorthScale's solution is already being leveraged by several large web properties

Well, boys, there’s a new database gun in town.

NorthScale, the start-up du jour, broke cover Tuesday brandishing the premise that your traditional RDBMS ain’t what you want for web application data.

Instead it’s got some free – as well as paid – scale-out data management widgetry that it calls “elastic data infrastructure,” built by the primary contributors and committers to the Memcached open source project – (which, it will point out, is used by 18 of the top 20 most heavily trafficked web sites).

NorthScale’s memcached distribution is designed to scale horizontally and infinitely, working alongside existing RDBMSs to provide data management that’s simple, non-disruptive and cost-effective for modern web applications.

It’s supposed to match the scale-out needs and architecture of modern web applications and compute clouds, and promises substantial reductions in capital and operating costs.

Described as optimized for web applications and cloud computing, its solution is already being leveraged by web properties such as Zynga’s FarmVille, Café World, Mafia Wars and other games that have over 235 million active users a month as well as Korea’s number one search portal, Naver.com, a $1.2 billion operation.

NorthScale observes that web applications generate data at volumes exceeding any other category of interactive software – and waves around IDC estimates that in 2012 the amount of digital information produced a year will equal nearly 2,500 exabytes, thanks to the Internet, which is 2,500 billion gigabytes or five times what was produced in 2008.

And a lot of this data, and the interaction patterns between the software and data, it says, differs fundamentally from those of transactional software systems such as the payroll and ERP widgetry beloved by your average RDBMS. But despite the differences, relational database technology continues to be used as a “one size fits all” approach for both classes of software.

This is where NorthScale comes in.

It says you can forget the ACID guarantees of relational databases, and their cost and scalability limitations, along with what NorthScale co-founder and chief strategy officer James Phillips calls their “intolerable overkill,” and substitute the start-up’s distributed key-value cache and database technologies.

It says users can start with existing relational database technology and expertise, and incrementally evolve towards a scale-out data architecture for their web applications using its Memcached Server and Membase Server.

The freebie NorthScale Memcached Server is an enhanced memcached distribution that features secure application multi-tenancy (it supports multiple applications on a shared cluster); dynamic cluster scaling; browser-based cluster administration (to monitor and manage a memcached cluster); 100% “memcapable” certification (meaning it supports all protocols and operations); and support for Linux and Windows (Windows ain’t usual).

The paid NorthScale Membase Server, on the other hand, is a high-performance distributed key-value database that builds on the server and persists the data, something memcached doesn’t do. It can also replicate data and promises down the line to index and query. Compatible with memcached APIs and existing client libraries, it can be the primary database rather than an RDBMS.

While memcached reduces the number of reads an application must do from the database – because of its distributed in-memory caching technology of course – data is still inevitably stored in a relational database. NorthScale says using its Membase Server an organization can identify and gradually “drain” data from a relational system to Membase and get the “simple, fast and infinite properties” of memcached across both reads and writes, while slashing data management costs.

This widgetry offers a distributed key-value database for storing data objects; supposedly infinite scalability – just add more commodity servers, NorthScale says, to expand data and I/O capacity; extremely high-performance (the speed of memcached for both reads and writes); tunable persistence behavior (optimize write patterns to match application needs); a pluggable storage engine to store data on- or off-node with user-replaceable storage subsystems; and fully configurable data replication (think data-layer fault tolerance for continuous application ops).

Subscription-based pricing for support for its Memcached Server starts at $799/server/year and runs to $1.299 depending on the support level.

The Membase Server is currently deployed in private beta with three customers and has already brought in $500,000 according to Phillips. It will be available for public beta testing in a couple of months. Product availability and pricing will be announced in Q2.

There’s also a free downloadable Developer Kit.

NorthScale started to get organized in January of ’09 and picked up $5 million in funding soon after from Accel Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners. It’s got less

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profession...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited t...
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
UAS, drones or unmanned aircraft, no matter what you call them — this was their week. Our news stream was flooded with updates on the newly announced rules and regulations for commercial UAS from the FAA. So, naturally we have dedicated this week’s top news round up to highlight some of our favorite UAS stories.
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...