Just for curiosity’s sake and this blog, I looked up the definition of ‘cache’ [as used in computer science]. Most sources define it as “…a component that transparently stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster “. The part about served faster reminded me of an old adage. It goes like this. Cheap, fast and good; pick two. In other words, say you need something that is cheap and fast; most likely, it will not be good. Kinda like the bread sticks I ordered for dinner earlier this week. Conversely, say you need something that is fast and good, it will not be cheap. Enter WebSphere eXtreme Scale [WXS]; an enterprise caching solution.
In the SOA world, architects, developers and or administrators are consistently faced with performance challenges. For me, I feel immersed in a never-ending battle of resolving and or improving our client’s performance issues. Many customers have business applications that process thousands, hundreds of thousands, if not billions of transactions daily. Typically, these applications will require high levels of efficiency and near-linear capability. It is here that WXS, a distributed caching platform fits well. It provides an efficient way to increase and streamline system wide performance. WXS is designed to work in heterogeneous environments throughout leading application server platforms and visualization environments.
According to the IBM WebSphere Distributed Caching Products whitepaper:
The WebSphere eXtreme Scale platform operates as an in-memory grid that dynamically processes, partitions, replicates and manages application data and business logic throughout hundreds of servers. This IBM offering provides transactional integrity and transparent fail-over to facilitate high levels of availability, reliability and consistent response times. WebSphere eXtreme Scale is an essential distributed caching platform for elastic scalability and next generation cloud environments. The WebSphere eXtreme Scale platform provides the technology to enhance business applications, including web commerce, supply chain, financial trading and even on-line gaming applications. You can form new, innovative classes of business applications by extending the data-caching concept with advanced features.
A year ago, I worked on a retail engagement. The client was implementing a new POS system throughout all of it’s locations in the US. The integration piece was complex; consisting of: Adobe AIR, SAP, Message Broker and Data Power, to name a few. Long story short, the back-end calls for detailed product information were taking >= +2 minutes to return data. Obviously, that was unacceptable. In an effort to resolve latency, WXS was brought online. Custom WXS grids were created. Flows were built to load the grids based on the client’s requirements. In turn, we delivered a customized WXS enterprise caching solution for detail product information. The result; back-end calls dropped to seconds or less on avg.
In previous versions of Message Broker [6, 7 and 8] a customized java-compute node was required to establish a connection with WXS. However, new in IIBv9, the aforementioned connectivity is inherent. This provides seamless integration to your enterprise cache via IIBv9.
Here is a funny skit that IBM produced. It’s 4 minutes long and provides a general overview of WebSphere eXtreme Scale.
View IBM’s Redbook for WebSphere eXtreme Scale V8.6 Key Concepts and Usage Scenarios here: