I had a call with Nati Shalom, CTO of GigaSpaces this morning to discuss their announcement of their XAP (eXtreme Application Platform) 7.0 release. XAP is like JBoss or WebSphere on steroids with lots of support for scaling out and leveraging today’s multi-core server environment. There are a lot of reasons why someone might want to look at GigaSpaces, including the ability to squeeze a lot more performance out of the same number of boxes.
Here’s the marketecture view that shows support for a variety of application frameworks — not just Java.
One thing that’s cool about them is their support for cloud deployment on Amazon. Specifically, you can deploy several applications on top of each EC2 instance running XAP – sort of a virtualization of virtualization. Of course, you can run multiple apps in JBoss too, but ultimately XAP is a lot smarter than JBoss with respect to being aware of application status and SLA management (e.g. a given application may require that n instances always be running and manage both XAP and Ec2 instances to make sure that happens). Note that only Java and C++ are supported on Ec2 – not .NET.
You can run XAP both in-house and in the cloud, and the management, configurations, SLA support etc. are consistently applied. Any company looking to support hybrid cloud environments – such as IBM, Unisys, 3tera, and others – might want to look at how to exploit XAP.
However, they are running a fairly high-end pricing model. Interestingly, they provide three license models: perpetual license ($20k/CPU), annual subscription ($7.5k/CPU/year), and per instance hour ($0.38 to $3.00 per hour inclusive of the Ec2 fees – the “large instance” is $1.50/hour = $13k/year). The theory is that committing more up front can get you a smaller cost.
They have several customers, though I suspect that they are going to struggle to scale this to be a large business with the heavy license fees. Financial services has been a core market, though now they are putting a lot of focus on large-scale Web (SaaS and eBusiness companies). One of their customers is eBay Marketplaats where they moved from a very large PHP server farm to a 16-server XAP cluster and saved a lot on hardware. This will be detailed more in an webinar they have scheduled for next week.