Pivotal Adds RESTful API Support to In-Memory Database Platform

Looking to make its in-memory GemFire database more attractive to a broader base of developers, Pivotal today released an upgrade that adds support for RESTful APIs.

As an in-memory database that IT organizations can deploy in the cloud or on premises, Pivotal, a unit of EMC, is positioning GemFire as the most scalable in-memory database that IT organizations can deploy in support of Web-scale applications.

Sudhir Menon, director of research and development for GemFire at Pivotal, says the addition of RESTful APIs support means GemFire 8 can be invoked via any programming language. Previously, GemFire supported Java, Microsoft .NET and C#. Via support for RESTful APIs, GemFire 8 can now be invoked by Node.js, Python and a variety of other modern programming languages.

While there is no shortage of in-memory database options these days, Menon says that GemFire is specifically designed to support applications that are globally distributed. With the price of memory falling, Menon notes that it’s more affordable to deploy entire databases and applications in memory. The real issue, says Menon, is that going forward no developer can be sure how many transactions an application may generate. Mobile computing applications, for example, are creating demand for databases that can support unprecedented levels of concurrency because of the need to support data lookups alongside actual transactions.

As a distributed in-memory NoSQL database, GemFire is designed to replace traditional SQL relational databases. The challenge with those databases is that not only are they dependent on slower mechanical disk drives, database administrators are forced to shard the database across multiple instances to support Web-scale applications. The result is a lot of database management overhead and complexity.

In addition, Menon notes that relational databases are based on a page design that requires various pages to be locked. As a result, they can’t scale to the level a NoSQL database can, says Menon. In fact, GemFire 8 increases the amount of data that can be stored in GemFire by 50%.

While GemFire has been around as a database platform for a while, Pivotal clearly believes that as an in-memory database GemFire is finally coming into its own, especially when you consider the lack of many in-memory NoSQL database options that can scale to the same level. The challenge that many developers might face is making a case for the need for an in-memory computing platform today that their applications may not scale to require until sometime in the future.

Michael Vizard