The shift to in-memory computing is accelerating as the caching and database technologies needed to drive this next major shift in enterprise computing become more accessible.
VMware today took a step towards making that happen with the release of a VMware vFabric Suite 5.1 offering that makes in-memory technologies accessible to SQL applications.
VMware vFabric Suite 5.1 consists of vFabric Application Director to automate the deployment of applications; vFabric Application Performance Manager to monitor those applications; VMware vFabric SQLFire, an in-memory distributed SQL database built on the vFabric GemFire database technology that VMware gained when it acquired Gemstone in 2010; and vFabric Postgres, a VMware-optimized relational SQL database that is Postgres-compatible.
According to David McJannet, director of cloud and application services for VMware, the shift to in-memory computing at the data tier is picking up steam because in the age of the cloud no one can be sure how many users of their application there might be. If it turns out to be thousands, or even millions, the application needs to be able to dynamically scale.
In fact, McJannet says the way IT organizations should be thinking about data these days is that it lives in memory, while sleeping in the database. By making sure caching and database technologies are tightly coupled, developers can make sure the applications they are building can truly scale on demand. vFabric SQLFire is designed to make it easier for organizations to make that shift, says McJannet, by giving them access to in-memory computing technologies using a familiar SQL interface.
As enterprise applications continue to evolve, it's clear that while traditional databases remain important, application performance emphasis is shifting towards technologies that reside in-memory. That may have major implications for incumbent database vendors such as Oracle and IBM that have been a little slow to respond to the rise of in-memory computing. But given the fact that it's probably only a matter of time before they get more aggressive in this space, it will be interesting to find out to what degree newer players in this space such as VMware and SAP will wind up forcing incumbent database vendors to recast their offerings.