By drapeau on Aug 14, 2009
I really like what Terracotta's done; my overly-simplistic explanation of what they do is to hook into a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and link it with other JVMs working together, so that a cluster of JVMs look like a single, big JVM to the Java developer. The significance is this: if you're a Java developer and you want to easily scale up your application so it can take on more load, Terracotta makes it really easy for you to do that.
In the document that we published, we showed the results of tests we did with sample workloads that Terracotta created to demonstrate what it can do for some common Java application scenarios. (one scenario models an online test-taking application where many people login concurrently to take their tests, maybe leave the test midway through, come back where they left off, etc.) If you look at the results table, you'll see a couple of results that I find interesting:
- Performance of Terracotta on Solaris vs. RedHat. Everything else was the same: same JVM, same physical hardware. But Terracotta on Solaris performed much better, making more efficient use of the compute resources. You leave less of your computing budget on the table with Terracotta on Solaris, is what this says to me.
- Terracotta performance on CMT. On the T5240 CoolThreads server, we didn't get the top result, but we had plenty of headroom to go (using 9% of the CPU resource available), which means we could launch more copies of Terracotta, or the Java application itself. Our tests with Terracotta show us we can use CMT to get massive scaling; the results table clearly reflects that.
We've had a blast working with Terracotta; they're sharp people, and they create a product that I think is hugely valuable to Java developers, especially those trying to write apps that work at large scales on the web. If you're such a developer, you should check them out. Their software is available as open source and it works.
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