Terracotta Runtime Brings Clustering to Spring J2EE Apps

Terracotta and Interface21 are jointly promoting new run-time technology that makes it easier for developers to work with the Spring Framework to create J2EE applications for clustered computers.

Terracotta Inc. and Interface21 Ltd. have agreed to work together to develop and promote a run-time technology that allows J2EE applications built with the open-source Spring Framework to work on computer clusters.

The Terracotta Clustered Spring Run-time provides an enhancement to the Java run-time that makes applications built with Spring scalable across clustered servers, said Bob Griswold, senior vice president of worldwide field operations for Terracotta in San Francisco.

Terracotta and Spring Framework developer Interface21 announced the agreement to work together on the Terracotta Clustered Spring Run-Time on Wednesday at the Spring Experience conference in Bal Harbour, Fla.

Prior to the development of the Terracotta run-time, J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) developers didnt have a simple way to develop applications that could run on clusters. Developers could use clustered Java "hashmaps" to try to distribute application functions over multiple nodes, Griswold said, but it wasnt an efficient or transparent method for scalable clustering.

There are "lots of other APIs that people use to distribute Java applications. But they are extremely complex and they make the complexity even worse," he said.

"The simplicity of the transparent clustering solution from Terracotta resonates with the core principles behind the Spring Framework," Rod Johnson, Interface CEO and Spring Framework founder, said in a statement.

Those principles include the idea that enterprise Java should be easier to work with. Spring "should be a pleasure to use," Johnson said: It should be possible to provide a simple, productive programming model that also provides "extreme scalability."

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Terracottas run-time is able to do this more transparently because "we effectively virtualize multiple Java Virtual Machines and make them look to the applications like they are one," Griswold said.

The run-time "simplifies the task of writing a multi-node application because all you have to do is write the single node application and it will work across all nodes" in a computer cluster, he said.

Transparency is important to Spring developers because another of the core principals of Spring is that "application code should not depend on underlying APIs for the infrastructure," he said.

"We have no APIs at all. Everything is done at run-time," Griswold said. So developers write their Java code or Spring Framework code and the distribution of application functions across the clustered network is "taken care of" by the Terracotta run-time, he said, adding that the Terracotta run-time is easily set up in standard Spring configuration files.

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The run-time enables transparent clustering using Distributed Shared Object technology developed by Terracotta.

Terracotta will release a beta version of the run-time in the first quarter of 2006 and a production version in the second quarter of 2006, Griswold said.

Terracotta is a privately-owned company supported by venture funding from Accel Partners and Benchmark Capital. Interface21 is a privately owned company made up of consultants to build and use the Spring Framework.

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John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s eWEEK.com since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...