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Summary:

German software vendor Software AG has bought Java-performance expert Terracotta with the goal of creating a cloud application platform to rival those from Software AG competitors such as Oracle, VMware and IBM. Terracotta has built a portfolio of open-source products over the past several years.

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German software vendor Software AG has bought San Francisco-based, Java-performance expert Terracotta with the goal of creating a cloud application platform to rival those from Software AG competitors such as Oracle, VMware and IBM. Unlike many competitive efforts, however, Software AG will rely heavily on the open-source products Terracotta has built and bought over the past several years.

We’ve covered Terracotta before in reference to its Quartz Java scheduler and BigMemory in-memory data cache, but the company also owns the popular Ehcache technology, which is like memcached for Java applications. The goal of all Terracotta’s products is to improve the lives of Java developers at both the application and database layers as they scale into the hundreds or thousands of nodes. All are open-source projects with paid and advanced enterprise versions.

As Software AG attempts to build its own cloud application platform to complement its current suite of enterprise applications, Terracotta CTO Ari Zilka wrote in a blog last night that “[o]ne of our first stops on the product roadmap will be to integrate Terracotta’s family of solutions . . . with Software AG’s existing solutions.” After that, he added, “the enterprise application development community – whether you work in Java, .Net, or C++ – will soon have a powerful and exciting new option for building applications in the cloud.”

Software AG’s present cloud computing strategy appears centered on offering its ARIS and webMethods software as cloud services later this year.

Although it’s part of the cloud-application stack, Software AG also gets an important competitive piece in the database sector with Terracotta’s BigMemory product. Oracle, VMware, IBM and, now, Red Hat, as well as smaller ISVs such as GigaSpaces, all include their distributed in-memory databases in their application stacks but also sell them as standalone products.

Housing data in-memory is hot right now because it not only allows for faster access for transactional applications, but also because it allows for real-time queries without have to make calls to the disk-based database. In fact, in-memory analytics are the impetus behind SAP’s newly available High-Performance Analytics Appliance, aka HANA.

This seems like a good exit for Terracotta, which seems to have been somewhat of a startup playing in a large vendor’s world. It has been fairly successful building a customer base on the promise of providing an open and more-scalable alternative to Oracle and IBM for Java applications, but being part of Software AG means it will now have more monetary resources to step up the competition on the R&D and marketing fronts, especially. Terracotta has raised $23.5 million in venture capital since 2006.

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