Open source software usually arrives after a technology has matured to a point where there are developers with enough knowledge to sustain an open source implementation. But as open source software continues to mature, the amount of time that process takes is narrowing considerably.
A case in point is GridGain, which this week announced that it has made its in-memory software platform available under an Apache 2.0 open source license.
In-memory databases and database grid software are emerging technologies that have attracted a lot of attention from established enterprise IT players such as SAP, IBM and Oracle. Fostered by the drop in the cost of DRAM over the last several years, in-memory databases make it feasible to host entire applications in memory in a way that boosts the performance of those applications by multiple orders of magnitude. In fact, GridGain recently demonstrated one billion financial transactions per second being processed using in-memory data grid software running on top of its database on $25,000 worth of commodity hardware.
While not every application requires that level of performance, as the amount of DRAM available on processors steadily increases, in the years ahead more organizations are going to opt for in-memory databases. Some folks even go so far as to say that memory is the new disk and disk is the new tape.
GridGain CEO Abe Kleinfeld says that as organizations take advantage of in-memory computing to create real-time data warehousing applications, GridGain will benefit from the opportunity to provide support and professional services around the GridGain open source in-memory software.
Ultimately, GridGain is betting that developers will prefer open source in-memory software to paying for the privilege of using a commercial offering that is optimized for some other vendor’s applications. History would suggest that there are enough open source precedents to bear that expectation out.