Gear6 Expands Memcached to the Cloud

New cloud offering for open source distributed caching system that works with Amazon's services.

Memcached, the open source distributed memory-based object caching system that enables Web 2.0 application to scale in order to meet the needs of highly traffic production usage, is headed to the cloud thanks to commercial IT services vendor Gear6.

Gear6 launched back in April with the general availability of a commercial-enhanced memcached distribution. Gear6 isn't the only company providing commercial memcached solution. Schooner Information Technology announced a memcached appliance with a customized memcached for its hardware in April.

The difference is that Schooner is aimed at Web 2.0 providers like Facebook and Yahoo, while Gear6 is for a wide variety of customers, including those using cloud services.

Joaquin Ruiz, executive vice president of products for Gear6, told that many Web 2.0 companies also want to leverage the cloud effectively as a platform to deploy peak-time services. That's where the new Gear6 Web Cache Server for the Cloud comes into play.

Ruiz added that in his view, the new Gear6 offering will be the first commercially-supported memcached distribution for the cloud as well as the first to take advantage of Amazon's new high memory instances service.

The Amazon EC2 High Memory instances provide 34 GB and 68 GB of RAM to applications for short-term, high usage instances. Ruiz added that Gear6 will also support Amazon's block-based storage as well, which could end up providing users with more utility for their memory utilization.

"If you have more than 68 GB of stuff to cache and you can squeeze it into Amazon, we can effectively raise the utility of the image by allowing our memcached server to spool to disk," Ruiz said. "So we can effectively increase your cache depth by about a hundred times.

Gear6 also already has a turnkey memcached appliance in the market, but Ruiz noted that the new cloud service is a bit different.

"It's still the same distributed caching platform as before but what we've optimized now for the Gear6 server is that memcached on its own can give you some fragmentation in your memory space," Ruiz said. "So we now have a high performance low fragmentation algorithm that allows you to use more memory – 30 to 50 percent more memory utilization than you can get from standard memcached."

While Gear6 is a memcached-based solution, Ruiz noted that they are not based on the bleeding edge of open source memcached development. The current stable memcached release is 1.4.4, the Gear6 solution is currently based on the memcached 1.2.8 release.

"In the next month we will deploy a 1.4 series," Ruiz said. "It's similar to the Red Hat model of deployment, we test for high-availability and supportability before we release to customers on a commercial basis."

Ruiz added that anyone is free to go download and use memcached, but what Gear6 is providing is additional services and stability on top. Some of the additional bits developed by Gear6 have also been open sourced in turn as well.

"We have open sourced some of the management services that we put inside of our commercial offering. We have an advance reporting mechanism, that's something that was initially in our commercial product, and has now been open sourced under a BSD license. So there is also a lag effect in what is commercial and what is community over a period of time."

Tags: open source, cloud computing, services, Gear6

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