Terracotta Helps Adobe Scale

Adobe taps Terracotta to help Adobe scale its Acrobat collaboration solution. Terracotta's software, which helps businesses scale their enterprise Java environments, will enable users to run ConnectNow without a database.

Terracotta, which makes infrastructure software for enterprise Java scalability, is providing core technology to deliver high reliability and scalability to Adobe's ConnectNow Web conferencing service in Acrobat.com.

By using Terracotta's high-performance redundant cache in runtime state rather than a database, ConnectNow provides service for a high volume of Web meetings and activity, while enabling seamless recovery in case of a partial system failure, said Amit Pandey, CEO of Terracotta.

ConnectNow is a personal Web conferencing service designed for collaborative meetings for individual users and businesses. Users can instantly communicate and collaborate through an easy-to-use, easy-to-access online personal meeting room, Adobe officials said. ConnectNow is available for free sign up as part of the Acrobat.com public beta here.

Pandey said Terracotta's shared application memory store is a fast-emerging approach to scale critical applications, because it offers the performance of local memory along with the high availability of a database. This capability eliminates the performance and reliability tradeoffs that constrain Java applications today, he said.

"Adobe for us is an example of the kind of customer we set out to get when the company was formed -- customers who have challenging scale issues but are not into changing their applications to make this scale happen," Pandey said. "They're an archetype of the customer we are going after. They are doing scalable Web applications but have given up on the database."

Pandey said Terracotta has been seeing a lot of momentum from customers such as Adobe. "We went open-source in December 2006 and since then have added more than 60 customers, and more than two-thirds of them have this profile," he said. The other third consists of enterprise customers "like Tangosol has gone after," Pandey said. Tangosol is Oracle's in-memory data grid technology designed to meet the new demands for real-time data analytics, compute-intensive middleware and high-performance transactions.

"The database as a paradigm for scale is just not cutting it," Pandey said. "We think we've opened up a new market that companies like Tangosol have not been able to go after."

He also said Adobe was able to integrate Terracotta's core technology into its test environment in a matter of days.

Mark Grilli, group product marketing manager for Adobe's Business Productivity Business Unit, said, "We knew demand for what we were doing would be high...and that's why we went to Terracotta."

Dennis Griffin, a senior engineering manager at Adobe, said the company tried other solutions, such as JBoss Cache and Ehcache, "but we had issues with that where we had to get much more invasive in our code and in how we model our system architecture," whereas Adobe's goal was to limit any changes that might be required for the code.

Griffin said Adobe also wanted to maintain the flexibility to change its architecture without having to impact its code base.

"We started out with [Macromedia] Breeze and Adobe Connect Pro," he said. "That was with a database. It works well for enterprise scale and small Web scale. But when we were working with a next-generation architecture we knew we would run into some problems with scale."

Griffin said one of Adobe's engineers first came across Terracotta at Sun Microsystems' JavaOne conference and convinced Adobe management to give the Terracotta technology a try.

"Choosing Terracotta for our distributed cache technology has enabled us to implement our key requirements without needing to make dramatic changes to our code base," Grilli said. "The Terracotta cache also has enabled us to build system management and monitoring applications that are connected to the Terracotta cache, with no interference to our application servers. And with Terracotta's responsive support, easy-to-follow samples and guides, and helpful developer tools, we were able to rapidly build this project."