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Terracotta polishes Quartz job scheduler

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Having bolted the open source Ehcache Java caching software it bought to its Java application clustering environment, Terracotta has now added the Quartz job scheduler it acquired as 2009 was winding down.

Terracotta took control of privately held Quartz in November 2009, buying the company for an undisclosed sum. As it did with the Ehcache Java caching program, Terracotta has committed to maintaining the Quartz open-source project and contributing to it as Terracotta integrates the job scheduler into its JVM clustering stack.

Ehcache was by far the most popular Java caching program out there with an estimated 70 per cent market share. Terracotta took control of it so it wouldn't have to get developers and Java shops to adopt a new set of Java caching APIs for the Terracotta JVM clustering tools. The Terracotta JVM clustering enables Java applications to scale across at least 150 server nodes - the maximum that it has been stress tested thus far.

According to Amit Pandey, Terracotta's chief executive officer, the Quartz acquisition last November addressed another set of problems that Java shops were facing.

First, companies need some sort of program to schedule jobs, and among Java shops, Quartz has a higher market penetration than Ehcache. Second, once they depend on a job scheduler, they have to cluster it for high availability in some fashion because it becomes a single point of failure for their Java applications.

To get high availability for Quartz, which is distributed under the Apache 2.0 license, meant customers had to use an Oracle database as a backend for Quartz. This database backend also allowed them to schedule jobs across multiple servers.

Now that Quartz has been integrated with Terracotta, using a feature called the Terracotta Job Store, Quartz can use the distributed environment of Terracotta to store the data behind the job scheduler. That means shops don't have to buy an Oracle database. Now their Oracle databases can do useful work where they were coping with clustered job scheduling workloads in the past.

Terracotta is distributing a commercial version of the job scheduler, called Quartz EX, starting today. It is based on the Quartz 1.7 release, which integrates with the Terracotta 3.2 JVM clustering software announced today.

Terracotta 3.2 is the second release to support an integrated Ehcache module, and Pandey says that many customers are seeing a 2X improvement in the size of the datasets they can deploy behind their Java applications and a 2X improvement in throughput for Java workloads with the 3.2 release compared to the 3.1 release, announced last October.

The performance improvements are highest for customers who have a balanced mix of reads and writes in their Java applications and who use caching. But those who don't activate Ehcache are still seeing 30 to 50 per cent percent performance improvements moving to Terracotta 3.2.

Pandey says the integration of Ehcache has been a boon for its sales pipeline. In the past ten weeks - excepting the Christmas holiday week - the company has seen its Terracotta-Ehcache combo downloaded by more than 3,000 companies, and of these about 70 customers thus far have emerged as solid sales prospects. "This is a phenomenal uptake for a small company in such a short period of time," says Pandey.

Depending on the features customers want, the Terracotta tools cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 per application server node on which the clustering environment is deployed upon. ®

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