Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Rishi Bhargava, Liz McMillan, Steven Lamb

Related Topics: @BigDataExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

@BigDataExpo: Blog Post

In-Memory Computing By @GridGain | @CloudExpo [#BigData]

The best way to clear the air around IMC is to start with a simple explanation of what, in fact, in-memory computing is

The Facts and Fiction of In-Memory Computing

In the last year, conversations about In-Memory Computing (IMC) have become more and more prevalent in enterprise IT circles, especially with organizations feeling the pressure to process massive quantities of data at the speed that is now being demanded by the Internet. The hype around IMC is justified: tasks that once took hours to execute are streamlined down to seconds by moving the computation and data from disk, directly to RAM. Through this simple adjustment, analytics are happening in real-time, and applications (as well as the development of applications) are working at-pace with this new standard of technology and speed.

Despite becoming both more cost-effective and accepted within enterprise computing, there are still a small handful of falsehoods that confuse even the most technical of individuals in enterprise IT.

Myth: In-memory computing is about databases, so this isn't really relevant to my business.

The best way to clear the air around IMC is to start with a simple explanation of what, in fact, in-memory computing is. While many assume that because we are talking about RAM, we are having a conversation about databases and storage, but this is not the case.

IMC, at its most basic level, is using a middleware software that allows one to store data in RAM - across a broad cluster of computers - and do any and all processing where it resides (in the memory). With traditional methods, data processing is often confined to spinning disks.

By comparison, in-memory computing speeds up this process by roughly 5,000 times. Now you can see that we're not talking about storage only - instead active, fluid data and computing.

Which brings me to another, more tangible point about computing efficiency. By incorporating in-memory, a handful of processes are streamlined in order to save time, resources, and money.

To start, in-memory requires much less hardware; the result - significantly decreased capital, operational and infrastructure overhead.

Moreover, IT departments can also significantly extend the life of existing hardware and software through the increased performance that is inherent with IMC - thus amplifying the ROI on the machines that have already been purchased.

Surprisingly, in-memory computing is not a new phenomenon. Since the inception of RAM, IMC has been viewed as reliable accelerant for high-performance computing, bringing us to the next crucial misconception about this technology.

Myth: In-memory computing is expensive, therefore not practical for my operation.

There is a reason that this is one of the most common misunderstandings about IMC, because there was a point in time where the cost of memory was once quite high. That being said, the cost of RAM has been dropping consistently, at a rate of about 30% - for the last 5 years.

Today, the price of a 1 Terabyte RAM cluster can go for anywhere between $20 and $40 thousand - including all of the CPUs, networking, etc. A few years from now that same setup will likely be available for half that price.

Regardless of the future price of RAM, which based upon current projections will likely continue to fall, the current economics have already placed this technology well within the reaches of the enterprise computing budgets that require this level of scale.

Myth: My needs are already being met by Flash.

There are three different reasons why this mentality is held by IT folks, each of which are highly misinformed. I'll start with the most common, which is the idea that your business doesn't need the Lambourgini-esque super-computing power of IMC.

The hard yet obvious reality is that if your business is in any way data-driven, you likely cannot survive without speed and agility in this department. As time goes on, the amount of data that businesses accumulate compounds with new streams and variances. This is a sink-or-swim reality.

Another myth commonly used to dispel IMC is that if businesses are able to just effectively mount RAM disk, they will get in-memory processing. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. As mentioned earlier, IMC works through middleware to effectively unlock its power.

Finally, there's the notion that one can just replace their HDDs with SSDs in order to get this super-charged performance. For SSDs - in certain situations - the performance gain that you can pull from flash storage in lieu of spinning disk is enough.

However, speed matters - and is rapidly becoming more of a requirement every day. At this point, it's like comparing apples to oranges with speed improvements of 10 to 100x over SSDs.

Myth: Memory is not durable enough to be truly sustainable.

This is another notion that for whatever reason has been both widely perpetuated - and is entirely false.

The fact is - almost all in-memory computing middleware (apart from very simplistic ones) offer one or multiple strategies for in-memory backups, durable storage backups, disk-based swap space overflow, etc.

More sophisticated vendors provide a comprehensive tiered storage approach where users can decide what portion of the overall data set is stored in RAM, local disk swap space or RDBMS/HDFS - where each tier can store progressively more data but with progressively longer latencies.

Yet another source of confusion is the difference between operational datasets and historical datasets. In-memory computing is not aimed at replacing enterprise data warehouse (EDW), backup or offline storage services - like Hadoop, for example. The goal of IMC is to improve the operational datasets that require mixed OLTP and OLAP processing and in most cases are less than 10TB in size. That is to say, in-memory computing is not "all or nothing" - and does not require that every aspect of data be housed in memory.

The in-memory computing revolution is by no means intended to obliterate disks from the enterprise. For now, the disk still serves a well-defined role for offline/backup use cases - tasks that are not the focus of IMC.

Myth: In-memory is inaccessible to my business because so few developers actually know how to use it.

Yes indeed, In-memory computing is a highly complex technology, that for now, only a few vendors have even been able to successfully develop offerings for. However, like much of high-technology, in-memory computing has entered the world of open source - bringing its capabilities and power to the fingertips of developers around the world.

Currently, with GridGain, developers have the ability to get their hands on IMC with a simple download at http://gridgain.org/.

In-memory computing is already being tapped across a broad range of functions and industries including (but not limited to) financial trading systems, online game, bioinformatics, hyper-local advertising, cognitive computing, and geospatial analysis.

By raising awareness, and bringing the capabilities of IMC to more developers and organizations - industries around the globe are poised to experience entirely new standards of speed, computing, and performance.

More Stories By Nikita Ivanov

Nikita Ivanov is founder and CEO of GridGain Systems, started in 2007 and funded by RTP Ventures and Almaz Capital. Nikita has led GridGain to develop advanced and distributed in-memory data processing technologies – the top Java in-memory computing platform starting every 10 seconds around the world today.

Nikita has over 20 years of experience in software application development, building HPC and middleware platforms, contributing to the efforts of other startups and notable companies including Adaptec, Visa and BEA Systems. Nikita was one of the pioneers in using Java technology for server side middleware development while working for one of Europe’s largest system integrators in 1996.

He is an active member of Java middleware community, contributor to the Java specification, and holds a Master’s degree in Electro Mechanics from Baltic State Technical University, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

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
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...
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
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...
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. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps 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. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
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...
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
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 ...
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
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…
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...