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Software AG chomps Terracotta

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Terracotta, which has baked a Java application scaling and acceleration platform and which bought control of the Ehcache speed engine for Java applications, has a new owner: Software AG.

The German software company, which sells the Adabas database for IBM mainframes, Tamino XML database and middleware for SOA-style applications, and its Natural development language for Web applications, has been building out its SOA capabilities for the past several years. In April 2007, Software AG paid $546m to buy webmethods and merged the product with its own Tamino tools, and in April 2008 it bought the IBM AS/400 application modernization tools from Jacada for an undisclosed sum.

In July 2009, Software AG bought IDS Scheer to get its hands on the ARIS line of business process management tools. Perhaps more importantly, this pushed Software AG up to more than 6,000 employees and 7,500 customers, giving it a chance to break through €1bn in sales and perhaps survive as a standalone software company.

In 2010, Software AG posted sales of €1.12bn, up 32.1 per cent, with net income of €175.6m, up 24.7 per cent.

The acquisition of Terracotta is not going to have much of an impact on those financial figures in the short term. However, the functionality in the open source Ehcache Java caching tool, which Software AG will take control of, as well as the over 500,000 installations that this program has worldwide will certainly help Software AG provide commercial-grade application acceleration and give it a means to monetize Ehcache – as it is embedded in Software AG's Webmethods and ARIS tools.

Terracotta didn't create Ehcache, but rather bought control of the project in August 2009 for an undisclosed sum. Terracotta's eponymous Java JVM clustering and load balancing software had its own caching API, and the company figured it was better to strap Ehcache to its Terracotta tool than to try to fight the most popular set of APIs in use among production Java shops. Terracotta upgraded Ehcache in March 2010, allowing it to back-end and provide second-level cache to Hibernate, the object-relational mapping technology that glues Java applications to SQL databases, providing persistence of objects. In November last year, Ehcache was beefed up with an alternate Java heap called BigMemory, which keeps garbage collection from slowing down Java applications.

Terracotta also controls the open source Quartz job scheduler, which it bought in November 2009 and which it has integrated with Ehcache.

Terracotta was founded in 2003 and is backed by venture capitalists Accel and Benchmark Capital. The company has 55 employees, with software development centers in San Francisco and New Delhi.

Software AG says that the Terracotta tools will be an integral part of a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) tool provider for running cloudy applications; the company has not said it will be a platform cloud provider, so don't get confused. It wants to help companies build private and perhaps public platform clouds. The Terracotta tools will be the in-memory, scaling backbone of those platform clouds.

Software AG says that the deal is expected to close in June; financial terms were not disclosed. Software AG will roll out converged products in the fourth quarter of this year and its platform cloud tools will debut in 2012.

The German software company says that it is committed to supporting the open source Ehcache and Quartz communities. ®

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