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5 Misconceptions About In-Memory Data Grids

As data grows and the demand for instant access to complex business processes increases, supporting technology has to evolve to keep up. Businesses that meet the challenges reap the benefits while those that don’t will suffer.

5 Misconceptions About In-Memory Data Grids

Stepping up application management means being able to monitor system infrastructure and enterprise applications used for delivery. It also means being able to equate business value with uptime by aligning application sessions with enterprise processes. It requires monitoring end-user experience in real-time and identifying issues proactively before they affect end-users.

In-memory data grids (IMDGs) work well in situations where many distributed users concurrently access an online system and access similar data repeatedly. Use of an IMDG helps to increase performance in such situations. Here are certain misconceptions about in-memory data grids (IMDGs) that are common and need to be dispelled.

1. An in-memory data grid is just another name for an in-memory database

Most in-memory databases store data “in-memory” instead of on disk but in-memory data grids provide various important capabilities because the data is spread across a cluster of servers and processed in parallel manner.

An in-memory database does not have the same ability to scale as an in-memory data grid. One of its most useful features is the SQL joins but this is a weakness when it comes to scalability. The in-memory database has vertical architecture that limits scalability whereas an in-memory data grid has horizontally scalable architecture which promotes it. By scaling horizontally and dynamically to meet demand, an IMDG can deal with workload spikes and facilitate future growth.

Today infrastructure supporting devices need to be available consistently and be ready to receive and process large amounts of data. Customer satisfaction is paramount and data centers have to be available and reliable 24/7 to offer this.

2. In-memory data grids aren’t reliable

With the name IMDG, users believe that you store information in RAM only and they tend to equate this with a lack of reliability and durability. Most systems do have a means of passing data through something like an external relational database. However, the worry is about what happens if a node goes down. Will the data be lost or need to be retrieved from the external resource?

Unlike a data cache where it is possible to lose data, most IMDG use cases rely on the fact that data isn’t lost. There are various strategies for durable storage backups and in-memory backups. The benefit of a tiered approach is that it offers users the option of deciding which portion of data to store where.

3. There is a cost that comes with clustering

Clustering is basically establishing connectivity between servers to make them work like one. In the past, doing so could potentially cause latency problems but this is no longer the case today. Deployed network structures have been decreasing in latency and increasing in speed for years.

With an infrastructure that supports a large number of devices and processes events in real-time, customers do not have to deal with applications that move slowly or freeze. Very often an application is slow because of the architecture that cannot scale to meet user demand.

Many technologies promise to offer improvements in performance, scalability and reliability but using an IMDG has many advantages. Using an IMDG means that caching happens at the application tier where it makes a more noticeable impact on a user. Caching at the application tier does not cost as much as improving performance on other tiers either.

4. It is difficult to integrate IMDGs with current infrastructure

One of the main drivers of IMDGs is the ability to be implemented in a current system with few to no changes. Adoption rates would be very low if companies had to completely rewrite their applications in order to use an IMDG.

The best IMDGs can be implemented into modern applications and support infrastructures. They support multiple programming languages and many application tier components and application servers. Integration and management infrastructure tools simplify lifestyle management, from deployment to monitoring.

With an IMDG it is possible to get data from remote databases due to the shared data cache across distributed servers. This brings data to an application tier that’s closer to users and closer to application process engines. This ensures that current data is available on demand for the application. Copies of data are managed between the distributed cache servers.

When evaluating an IMDG, it is important to consider how easily it is to implement into an existing application infrastructure and to use with a preferred application development technology stack.

5. Our business does not need super-fast processing

A variation of this misconception that a business does not really need such fast processing includes the idea that it is possible to just mount a RAM disk and get in-memory processing. Mounting a RAM disk is a very ineffective way of utilizing memory.

In a rapidly growing number of cases, speed really does matter and it matters more and more in many businesses every day. IMDGs offer the type of improvements that make launching a startup possible or offering services that weren’t feasible before. Every day more businesses are using IMDGs to solve performance issues and improve customer experience.

Studies show that people form a lasting impression of a company within a few seconds on its website. Impressive user interfaces, intuitive navigation and fast response times give them the assurance that they are dealing with a professional, reputable company. Using an IMDG won’t make a website more attractive or alter a business process but it can make sure that a user has a fast and error-free experience.

A final word

As cloud computing, mobile device usage, and the Internet of things become more popular, the challenges of speed, scalability, security and availability will only increase. Apathy about new industry trends will only make these problems worse. A different approach that leverages IMDGs can solve many of the problems. Using an IMDG means a business is not just reacting and trying to catch up with technological changes, but taking a proactive approach towards change.

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