Oracle Beefs Up Coherence Data Grid Solution

Oracle delivers a new version of its Coherence high-performance data grid solution to bolster its position in the middleware space.

Oracle has delivered a new version of its distributed in-memory data grid product, Oracle Coherence 3.6,

Announced in mid-July 2010, Oracle Coherence 3.6 is a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g. And Oracle WebLogic Server and Oracle Coherence are critical components of application grid and private cloud deployments. Coherence also integrates with Oracle's recently announced Oracle Service Bus 11g, which is a key component of Oracle SOA Suite 11g.

When Oracle acquired Tangosol in 2007, Tangosol's Coherence was one of the leading in-memory data grid products on the market, if not the market leader overall. Coherence remains a leader in its space, but is picking up competition from a variety of new and interesting places said Cameron Purdy, vice president of development at Oracle.

In an interview with eWEEK, Purdy said, "The whole NoSQL space competes with us, as well as the whole .NET and Java data grid space and other folks. But we're in a pretty good position. We have a hard lead to overcome."

NoSQL is a movement promoting a loosely defined class of non-relational data stores that break with a long history of relational databases.

"With greater data scalability, reliability, performance, and security, Oracle Coherence continues to set the benchmark for distributed in-memory data grid products," Purdy said in a statement. "The new transaction framework and the session provider for .NET extend the benefits of Coherence to a broader base of developers and to organizations with Windows-based applications."

For his part, in a Q&A on the Oracle website, Purdy said of Coherence:

"It was the first product of its kind. It was quite successful and broadly adopted, and we have many large-scale production deployments of the software that use literally hundreds of servers working together. The biggest Web sites, the largest banking systems, run our software. It has the lead in the market because of its early innovation."

Despite Coherence 3.6 being a "dot" or "point" release rather than a whole new solid number version, it is a significant improvement and technical undertaking for Oracle's developers, Purdy said. There are nearly 850 improvements to the product in the 3.6 release, he said. "It's the largest release we've ever had."

Oracle Coherence 3.6 introduces Coherence Quorum, enabling greater control of capacity and resource management in grid and cloud environments. And with the introduction of Coherence Query Language (CohQL), a SQL-like query language, Oracle Coherence 3.6 helps increase developer productivity. Also, developers can use the more efficient query syntax to manage and use Oracle Coherence rather than using programming languages, Purdy said.

Moreover, Oracle Coherence 3.6 Transaction Framework provides support for distributed transactions, delivering greater reliability for application data. In addition, Oracle Coherence 3.6 Session Provider for the Microsoft .NET Framework supports session management for Microsoft .NET Framework-based applications, helping to improve Web applications performance. And Oracle Coherence 3.6 introduces end-to-end Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connectivity, ensuring data privacy in a distributed environment.

Purdy said Oracle Coherence 3.6 provides organizations with higher degrees of data reliability, accelerates design time and features additional security extensions. The product also fosters flexible integration with distributed transactional environments by using Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC) with full XA support to allow exact reporting against live transactional data.

Other key features of Coherence 3.6 include extremely high data reliability, as well as improved developer productivity and operational efficiency by delivering an SQL-like syntax for both development and operational access and control of large-scale, continuously available production environments.

"The new features in Oracle Coherence 3.6 will help solve the scaling challenges that are quite typical in large, complex, mission-critical applications," said Victoria Livschitz, president and CEO of Grid Dynamics, in a statement. "We believe this new release of Coherence will help customers handle these issues even more quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. The functionality introduced in Coherence 3.6, such as support for distributed transactions, will continue Coherence's tradition of providing fast, reliable access to vital enterprise data and scaling applications on economical hardware."

Meanwhile, Purdy said there have been two primary ways the Tangosol/Coherence technology has been integrated into the Oracle environment. One is by Oracle customers picking up the product and giving it a try. The other is by integrating more and more with other parts of the Oracle Fusion Middleware stack.