GigaSpaces announced a new version of its software aimed at the emerging market for extreme transaction processing platforms. But limited brand recognition means that it faces stiff competition from established players.
On 12 June 2007, GigaSpaces Technologies announced GigaSpaces eXtreme Application Platform (XAP), a Spring- and OSGi-based evolution of its platform middleware technology that will be available in September 2007.
GigaSpaces entered the market by providing a distributed caching platform, but has been quietly transforming its core Jini/JavaSpaces-based technology into a rich platform middleware product to address the emerging extreme transaction processing (XTP) market.
XAP supports the open-source Spring framework, is OSGi-enabled for optimized deployment of applications and uses JavaSpaces infrastructure for fast in-memory message passing and data storage. XAP also supports dynamic and transparent application component deployment and relocation across a grid of Linux or Windows servers to meet demanding performance, scalability and availability requirements. XAP can participate in service-oriented architecture scenarios and also provides a basic event-based programming environment and support for computationally intensive, batch-oriented analytical applications.
XAP is one of the first of a new generation of platform middleware — extreme transaction processing platforms (XTPPs) — emerging from the convergence of grid architectures, event-processing technology and distributed caching that will incorporate enterprise service buses and flow management technology. XTPPs will initially be aimed at supporting the most demanding transactional and analytical applications in the financial services, telecom, travel, Web commerce and defense industries. In the longer term, they will challenge Java EE and .NET-based enterprise application servers for mainstream applications. Several vendors, including Appistry, Kabira, OpenCloud, RogueWave and Warelite, offer specialized point XTP technologies and some are working on their own XTPPs. Some very large application infrastructure vendors will follow suit, as shown by Oracle’s acquisition of Tangosol (GigaSpaces’ main competitor in the distributed caching market) and BEA Systems' launch of WebLogic Event Server.
GigaSpaces XAP is in line with industry trends, is based on a proven technology foundation deployed in a large number of business-critical scenarios and includes several widely recognized de facto standards. All these factors make it reasonably appealing to mainstream organizations.
Challenges for GigaSpaces include its limited brand recognition, users’ reluctance to adopt nonmainstream platforms and unfamiliar programming paradigms, lack of production reference for XAP 6.0, limited support from third parties, and competition from traditional application server products from established players.
Leading-edge users looking for a platform to support the development of the most demanding transactional or analytical applications: Look at GigaSpaces XAP and similar products from competitors. But take into account XAP's lack of real-life production deployments for Spring support, which means its technical qualities are still in part unverified.
Risk-averse users: Look at XAP and similar products only if mainstream application servers prove manifestly inadequate for your performance, scalability or availability requirements, and if support for the product is readily available in your geography.
Application infrastructure vendors: Recognize that this announcement is another indication of the emergence of a significant opportunity for innovative, XTP-oriented products. Evaluate how this will affect your strategy and plan a response.
"Extreme Transaction Processing: Technologies to Watch" — XTP applications are characterized by exceptionally demanding requirements and complex, distributed architectures, which may require users to accept a dramatic technology change. By Massimo Pezzini, Milind Govekar, Yefim Natis and Donna Scott
"Predicts 2007: Application Platforms on the Verge of Change" — Application platforms will go through dramatic evolution in response to technologies such as Web 2.0, software as a service, advanced service-oriented architecture and XTP. By Massimo Pezzini, Yefim Natis and Roy Schulte
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