Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Craig Lowell, Fouad Khalil, Elizabeth White, Lori MacVittie, JT Ripton

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
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices 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 business opportuni...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Akana has announced the availability of version 8 of its API Management solution. The Akana Platform provides an end-to-end API Management solution for designing, implementing, securing, managing, monitoring, and publishing APIs. It is available as a SaaS platform, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment. Version 8 introduces a lot of new functionality, all aimed at offering customers the richest API Management capabilities in a way that is easier than ever for API and app developers to use.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...