If such an application uses a disk-based database for persistence (or the system of record), you probably will have to miss your low latency requirement because disk-based accesses incur latency in many milliseconds and often seconds.
In order to achieve low latency and high throughput, there should be at least 3 requirements to be met:
- Uses memory-based accesses. The access rate for the commonly wildly used computer DRAM is in microseconds;
- Collocates your application logic with your data. The traditional multi-tiered approaches incurs network IO latency.
- A fast and predictable JIT compiler if you use Java. Oracle's JRockit is a good choice.
One is to adopt Gigaspaces' space-based programming paradigm.
The other is to employ an in-memory database (IMDB) such as Oracle's TimesTen along with your traditional database such as Oracle.
I will focus on TimesTen here and compare it with Gigaspaces.
As mentioned above, using Oracle database alone in a performance-critical application is not practical. Accordingly Oracle just doesn't have the same popularity in such applications as in others.
Fortunately if we use Oracle along with its cache companion - TimesTen, it is a very attractive option.
TimesTen is an in-memory relational database from Oracle. Because it caches all data in memory and has no disk access, TimesTen can achieve breakthrough performance such as 5-microsecond reads and 15-microsecond updates based on its white paper "Using Oracle In-Memory Database Cache to Accelerate the Oracle Database".
TimesTen is targeted to run in your application tier, close to applications, and optionally in process with applications. A TimesTen database may be used as the database of record, and/or as a cache to an
As a cache to Oracle database, TimesTen can be embedded into your application tier and only cache the performance-critical subset of your Oracle database while still leaving your Oracle database for non-performance-critical applications. This architecture is shown in Figure 3 in the above white paper:
You can also scale out your application tier horizontally by deploying several TimeTimes together to form a so called cache grid.
Here are my TimesTen comparisons to Gigaspaces.
Commons to Both:
- cache data along with your application logic;
- supports multiple topologies such as partitioned, replicated or both;
- supports ACID properties often provided by traditional relational databases;
- supports asynchronous operations for better performance such as transaction write-behind and asynchronous replication;
- besides as a cache bus, they can also be used as a message bus.
- Gigaspaces can cache all your data in a computing cloud such as Amazon's EC2 while TimesTen only practically caches subset of your whole enterprise data;
- Gigaspaces has more flexible deployment topologies than TimesTen. For example, Gigaspaces can adjust your deployment based on your SLA while TimesTen's deployment tends to be static;
- Gigaspaces supports application level optimistic locking while TimeTen only provides 2 traditional database's isolation levels - read-commit and serializable;
- Gigaspaces intrinsically supports parallel processing such as map-reduce paradigm through its master-worker pattern and thread executor framework while using TimesTen you have to build up such functions by yourself. For example, if you want to do a search in your TimesTen cache grid (suppose you partitioned your data in the grid), you have to code by yourself to submit tasks to grid memebers and finally aggregate the each individual searching result;
- It is easier to adopt TimesTen than Gigaspaces because TimesTen intrinsically supports the popular JDBC API while Gigaspaces's intrinsic JavaSpaces API is still not that popular;
- TimesTen is budget and deployment friendly because it only needs to cache a subset of your whole enterprise data. Most often a large amount of your enterprise data don't need real-time accesses and accordingly caching them may be wasting your valuable resources.
- TimesTen has closer integration with Oracle than Gigaspaces does. For example, TimesTen supports the same flexible locks as in Oracle and materialized views;
- TimesTen seems to have a bit better performance. For example, TimesTen can achieve 5-microsecond reads and 15-microsecond updates while Gigaspaces can achieve sub-millisecond latency at best. This may be because TimesTen was implemented by C/C++ and Gigaspaces was implemented Java (JVM has pause).