SpringSource To Acquire GemStone Systems Data Management Technology


News: SpringSource To Acquire GemStone Systems Data Management Technology

  1. PALO ALTO, Calif.—May 6, 2010—SpringSource, a division of VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), and the leader in Java application infrastructure and management, today announced that VMware has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire GemStone Systems, Inc., a privately held provider of enterprise data management solutions based in Beaverton, Oregon. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    The acquisition will advance SpringSource and VMware’s vision of providing the infrastructure necessary for emerging cloud-centric applications, with built-in availability, scalability, security and performance guarantees. These modern applications require new approaches to data management, given they will be deployed across elastic, highly scalable, geographically distributed architectures. With the addition of GemStone’s data management solutions, customers will be able to make the right data available to the right applications at the right time within a distributed cloud environment.

     “Data management technologies are fundamental to the creation of applications, and with the rise of virtualization and cloud computing, the manner in which applications need to access data is evolving,” said Rod Johnson, general manager of the SpringSource division of VMware. “Cloud computing is a distributed deployment model, and for that reason, caching and data accessibility are of far greater strategic importance than before. We are acquiring and will integrate into the SpringSource portfolio a well-regarded set of high-performing data management solutions with GemStone.”

    Today’s news, combined with the recent acquisition of Rabbit Technologies, Ltd. and the recent hiring of Salvatore Sanfilippo, the lead programmer for the open source Redis project, underscores VMware and SpringSource’s understanding of the critical role data management plays in application deployment to the cloud. This acquisition will further SpringSource’s strategy to deliver the application infrastructure required for modern cloud applications.

    “Modern, cloud-centric applications will be powered by a lightweight application platform, scalable data platform and virtualized infrastructure as a service, and SpringSource is building out a portfolio to address all of those requirements,” said John Barr, Distinguished Analyst at The 451 Group. “SpringSource clearly recognizes the fundamental emerging application infrastructure requirements, and therefore its customers are prepared for the data center of today and tomorrow.”

    SpringSource plans to fully support GemStone’s product line and will continue to support all GemStone customers. GemStone’s flagship product is GemFire Enterprise, a scalable, distributed data platform that puts data where it is needed across a network to remove latency. Other GemStone products include GemFire SQLFabric, a memory-oriented SQL data management platform and GemStone/S, a platform for running distributed Smalltalk applications.

    “Our vision for the future of data aligns completely with SpringSource and VMware, in that we believe  modern applications are distributed and require data to be available in the fabric of the infrastructure,” said Richard Lamb, president of GemStone. “There are distributed applications—think VoIP and disaster recovery—and there are distributed deployment environments—think SpringSource’s tc Server on VMware—and now SpringSource is forging ahead with the infrastructure needed for distributed data.”


    For more information on the acquisition, and for additional comments from Johnson and Lamb, visit http://www.springsource.com/springsource-acquires-gemstone-systems

    About GemStone Systems    

    GemStone Systems delivers award-winning technology solutions that are focused on enterprise infrastructure usability and improvements. Its products are used by more than 200 large customers in mission-critical environments in industries that rely on real-time data, including financial services, the federal government, online gaming, transportation, telecommunications and energy. GemStone Systems is headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., and has offices in Mountain View, Calif., New York, Tokyo, London and Pune, India.

    About SpringSource
    SpringSource, a division of VMware, Inc., (NYSE: VMW) and the leader in Java application infrastructure and management, provides a complete suite of software products that accelerate the entire build, run, manage enterprise Java application lifecycle. SpringSource employs the open source leaders who created and drive innovation for Spring, the de facto standard programming model for enterprise Java applications. SpringSource also employs the Java and Web thought leaders within the Apache Tomcat, Apache HTTP Server, Hyperic, Groovy and Grails open source communities. Nearly half of the Global 2000, including many of the world’s leading retail, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, technology and public sector clients are SpringSource customers. For more information visit: www.springsource.com

    About VMware
    VMware delivers solutions for business infrastructure virtualization that enable IT organizations to energize businesses of all sizes.  With the industry leading virtualization platform – VMware vSphere™ – customers rely on VMware to reduce capital and operating expenses, improve agility, ensure business continuity, strengthen security and go green. With 2009 revenues of $2 billion, more than 170,000 customers and 25,000 partners, VMware is the leader in virtualization which consistently ranks as a top priority among CIOs. VMware is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the world and can be found online at www.vmware.com

    Threaded Messages (26)

  2. Community Edition[ Go to top ]

    I wonder if VMWare will open it up a little bit and create a community version so that we can try it out, or get an afordable base product in smaller organizations?

  3. Community Edition[ Go to top ]

    You can download gemstoine->gemfire from the web site and use it. Its easy to use.

  4. Community Edition[ Go to top ]

    You can download gemstoine->gemfire from the web site and use it. Its easy to use.



    I'm not interested in an evaluation copy.  I'm interested in something that my small company can afford to use.  No point trying it out if it is unaffordable for us.  (for example we can't afford Coherence)  On the other hand Terracotta is free, so we can always stick with that.

  5. Coherence cost[ Go to top ]

    I work at Oracle and just want to address the cost comment.  Coherence has several editions and the standard edition is intended to be very affordable to most organizations and entry level.  I recommend that you contact a sales team to see whether other considerations can be applied to your organizations circumstances.  If your needs are basic caching then you may find it suits them well.


    In fact, consider how much Facebook spends on open source MemCache annually with a dedicated team of extremely talented engineers working full-time on MemCache and making it work for them.  If you can get a product with support it may be less expensive then you think compared to the cost of supporting an incomplete open source project.




  6. Coherence cost[ Go to top ]

    And we had a team of highly talented engineers who spent man months working around Coherence bugs. It does not help it that Coherence documentation does not give out much implementation details, and often the only way to find out why the bloody thing did not work as expected was to decompile it.

    I'd rather spent time fixing an open-source project for the benefit of a wider community.

    Back to the Spring theme, Coherence is a real PITA to configure dynamically at start-up, and it is not Spring-friendly at all. Something Oracle guys promised to address in 3.6 or later, but I am not sure it is still on the cards.

  7. Oracle Coherence[ Go to top ]

    Hi Sergei -


    I don't know if you're still with Credit Suisse, or if you're working with another customer of ours, but I searched our JIRA database for any open bugs that you or your employer may have reported, and I found nothing. I would be interested in knowing what issues you encountered (you can email me directly if you'd prefer not to post them here), and I apologize if there were bugs in the software. We work diligently to produce the highest quality software, and I hate to hear that anyone ever encounters a bug in our software.


    Regarding your comment on understanding implementation details, what would you like to know? I personally agree that our documentation, while improving rapidly, is still far behind where it needs to be. We're working to fix this in many different ways, including the Coherence Incubator, examples, better documentation, new training courses, and we're going to be publishing a new series of materials to dive into specific features of the product. Also, check out the new Coherence 3.5 book:



    Lastly, regarding improving the configurability of the software, it is an area that we are investing in, both in the near term as well as in the long term.


    Thanks for the feedback.


    Oh, and regarding Gemstone, congratulations guys on the acquisition, and best wishes.




    Cameron Purdy | Oracle Coherence




  8. Oracle Coherence[ Go to top ]

    Hi Cameron,

    Is Coherence still under the same level of development when you were in charge? From time to time I look at the documentation about data clustering/locking features, and although the documentation look ok, it feels a little bit outdated. And the featureset also doesn't change a lot.

    And since it was bought by Oracle, I haven't heard much about it in the Java community.


    Peter Veentjer

    Mulitverse: Software Transactional Memory for Java


  9. Oracle Coherence[ Go to top ]

    Hi Peter,

    Is Coherence still under the same level of development when you were in charge? From time to time I look at the documentation about data clustering/locking features, and although the documentation look ok, it feels a little bit outdated. And the featureset also doesn't change a lot.

    Coherence has a much higher level of development than when we joined Oracle. When we joined Oracle, we had a relatively small product team, and it's grown by at least 4x (with zero attrition!)

    We now have a Coherence Java product (current version is 3.5.3), a C# Coherence .NET product, and a C++ Coherence (32- and 64-bit, Linux, Windows, Solaris etc. on x86, Sparc, etc.) The C++ project alone was a few dozen man years to build, just because of how hard it is to build quality cross-platform software in C++.

    Most of our engineering effort over the past few years has gone into making the software rock solid. We don't suffer from featuritis, and this has been essential given the growth in our market (we've increased our customer base by over 10x since joining Oracle, and we were by far the largest in the market before joining Oracle). So by and large, Coherence has been a huge success at Oracle.

    And since it was bought by Oracle, I haven't heard much about it in the Java community.

    Well, that's the one area that Oracle is particularly weak at: Developer marketing. However, this has been changing over the past few years, and I expect it to continue to improve. Acquiring BEA and Sun were huge helps with this, and there is a shift in mind-set occurring here.

    Being in a public company with very strict interpretation of SEC etc. rules, without reams of paperwork we cannot talk about future releases and we cannot do beta releases. Also, there are quiet periods around every financial reporting quarter, which puts a huge dent in our ability to communicate. These things together are hobbling at best, but they don't impact our ability to actually build software and support our customers.

    Lastly, I will simply say that in our market, the volume of noise does not indicate the volume of success .. Coherence is still by far the #1 software in this space by customers, by revenue, by production usage, by ability, by .. ;-)


    Cameron Purdy | Oracle Coherence


  10. Agree re: Coherence[ Go to top ]

    I don't work for Oracle :)


    But knowing space rather extremely well inside and out  I can vouch that Coherence is a clear #1 in terms of stability and features - and by a long margin. Having looked "inside" of practically any significant product in this market I can say that with a sound judgement. And any complex product will have few negative stories and Coherence simply suffers from being so wide spread... 


    GridGain 3.0 will change some of that if not most - but we'll have to wait for couple more months...


    Also, anybody who compares latest NoSQL offering (and memcached is in the same domain) with in-memory grids (Coherence, GigaSpaces, GridGain 3.0, etc.) doesn't exactly know what he's talking about. 


    As far as GemStone - I'm surprised. I thought Terracotta spent last 18 months squarely positioning itself for an acquisition specifically by Spring and I'm not sure what went wrong. You don't hire open-source committers for popular projects for no reason. Instead Spring went for a 2nd tier vendor. I guess should Spring stay independent the Terracotta deal would be pushed by (shared) VCs much harder...


    In the end, Rod and co. have an excellent track record with their acquisitions so far so it'll be interesting to see how it unfolds.


    Nikita Ivanov


    <a href="GridGain" rel="nofollow">http://www.gridgain.com">GridGain = Data + Compute + Cloud



  11. Mr. Ivanov,

    Are you stating, un-categorically, that you don't have any commercial interest in the success of Coherence?  I ask that because you seem to imply your opinion should carry more weight because of a neutral viewpoint.  Assuming you aren't misleading our forum readers right from the get-go, I'll respond to your very unkind, misplaced, and just plain wrong comments with regards to GemStone and GemFire. 

    First of all, in my direct experience working with GridGain, we faced quite a few challenges ultimately unrelated to the viability of our product or yours, and which would certainly have made it rather unlikely that anybody gained the kind of broad, deep experience necessary to make the sort of sweeping comments about "the best vendor" that you just did.  It is logically possible that you've done more hands-on work with GemFire since then, I suppose, but that's hard to believe in light of the tremendous progress & maturation we've undergone and the fact that I would likely have been assigned to work with you.

    Now, you say in your post that "you're surprised" that SpringSource went with a "2nd tier" vendor--that your sensibilities conclude that Terracotta was the logical choice.  Man, that's COLD!  A 28 year old company founded specifically to build Object Technology, with brilliant engineers that were building object databases, application servers, and distributed systems long before most of us had every heard of conceived of such things.  I tell you when these guys here things like "I invented partitioned data management" they just give a hearty laugh and move on with their serious work.  When you think of Spring and all that it has brought to the Java community and its incredible focus on a fundamentally new and better way of developing, deploying, managing software . . . it goes on, but too much to list here.  Then look at GemFire: say anything else about GemFire, but don't say it isn't FAST, or isn't profoundly RELIABLE to the very core of its design with our common deployment to torture-like production standards that don't tolerate ANY data loss, or isn't MASSIVELY SCALABLE with production systems in thousands of nodes and multiple terabytes of in-memory data.  Oh, and did I mention it is FAST??

    The knock on GemFire has been in its ease-of-use when incorporated into systems that rely heavily on open-standards.  We spend so much time on the FAST, RELIABLE, and MASSIVELY SCALABLE side of things that some of the things that developers want didn't receive the attention they deserved.  Now think about what SpringSource brings to the table in this scenario--both in its existing technology and in its people--and I think the decision was a no-brainer. 

    Given your in-depth knowledge of GemFire, I would have thought you'd have understood some of these reasons about the fundamental strengths/advantages of GemFire and SpringSource.  Perhaps there is something that you're missing? 

    At any rate, don't expect to drop casual statements about "by a long margin" and "2nd tier" in this context and expect not to be called-out. And, while I won’t make misleading suggestions that I'm an impartial observer, I still say with complete confidence--and from direct experience--that GemFire has a substantial lead over Coherence and all the rest of the gang in the category of Distributed Cache Platforms.  I also really want to back-up that statement so our readers can learn something more than witty words from software figureheads.  I would eagerly like to challenge Mr. Ivanov (or the serial thread-hijacking Cameron P.) to kindly highlight just where their supposed advantages are?  Let's skip all the BS about "this customer said that" and "that customer said this" and let's get down to brass-tax.  What exactly are the "features" that constitute this putative "wide margin"?  What exactly are the "stability" factors that you allude to?  C'mon Mr. Ivanov, can you please back-up your words. And Cameron, since I KNOW you will not be able to resist responding to this, can you refrain from the usual misdirection and perhaps assist Nikita as I suspect he's going to struggle a little bit ;-).




  12. Hm...[ Go to top ]


    No need to react like this... Congrats on selling the company and Spring is definitely an excellent place to be - no doubt about it. 

    As far as the rest of your comments - grow up and grow some thicker skin. I, of course, have no interest in Coherence of any kind. As the matter of fact - I'd very happy if Oracle would kill the product as it would help my company having one less competitor :)

    As far as GemStone I have yet to come across a *single* customer who would even consider the GemStone software. GridGain is one of the most popular Grid Computing frameworks in the world - it starts every 20 seconds around the globe - and I see data grids evaluations from Coherece, GigaSpaces, Terracotta/EHCache, Infinispan almost in every account and every user in some shape or form. I don't exactly know why GemStone is not there since you certainly do have number of customers - but these are the facts that *I* have. 

    GridGain 3.0 will have its own data grid implementation that would rival an eclipse most of the existing data grid products much in the same way as we captured Java computation grid market couple of years ago. I've led this development and we, obviously, looked deeply in competition. That gives me plenty non-BS opinion about the existing products. 

    As far as GemStone vs. Coherence - I'll let you guys measure up your own d***s in this or other threads :) I've stated my opinion, stand by it, and this is all IMHO, of course.



    Nikita Ivanov.



  13. Hm...[ Go to top ]


    >>but these are the facts that I have. 

    Why is this worth mentioning. Its not like you have been hired to keep score of who has how many customers. I don't think you have the directory of accounts owned by different players in this market.

    You claim to be aware of evaluations involving other data management solutions but you have never seen GemStone compete in any of these. Again, totally meaningless statement which does not convey anything more than your ignorance of the market place.

    You claim to have studied the competition deeply. And your analysis shows that Coherence is by far the better product and yet you plan to beat it in a few months.  I am not sure that your analysis covered scale, fault tolerance, elasticity, resource management etc. because if it did, you might have developed a better understand of  these mysterious customers that GemFire seems to snag every quarter. And if it did not, budget a little more than a couple of months to catch up in those areas.

    If you had included market analysis in your study, you just might have noticed that some of the largest deployments in financial services or the federal govt. actually use GemFire.

    As for Coherence vs Gemstone, I prefer to let the scale and mission criticality of our customer deployments do the talking. Its worked for us for a few years now. And no, we don't feel the need to "market" to the developers. We understand that developers like to keep marketing fluff away from their cubicle walls and we let the product do the talking.

    And last but not the least I don't blame the SEC for my failure to bring innovation to our customers.



  14. Oracle Coherence[ Go to top ]

    Hi Suds -

    And last but not the least I don't blame the SEC for my failure to bring innovation to our customers.

    You are trying so hard to be insulting, but it's really not working.

    The only thing I said about Gemstone in this conversation was "congratulations", and I meant it sincerely. I happen to enjoy the competition, and I'm glad to have you guys in the market. Keep up the hard work :-)


    Cameron Purdy | Oracle Coherence


  15. Regarding the SEC remark[ Go to top ]


    Ok, I got a little carried away there with that SEC remark. Wasn't trying to be insulting. I agree that we enjoy the competition and the occasional back and forth on these forums. Will continue to compete unapologetically even as we keep our discussions on these forums civil.



  16. Foot-in-Mouth Disease?[ Go to top ]


    After reading through your posts I was perplexed.  I thought: "Could I be the one that's missing something?  Is there some reason that I'm not as popular and as this other person?"  Flashbacks from my childhood re-surfaced old the insecurities of a skinny 12-yr-old kid who prefered programming games on an Apple II to being bullied in the school-yard.  If only I could grasp your model of success, then perhaps I too could be popular--maybe a Digerati!  I would study this wisdom that brings global popularity and find a way to make it as well.

    Alas, my new-found dreams didn't last long as it only took only 5 minutes for me to find your top "ten reasons to use GridGain" web site page.  I was shocked to see not a single one of the Top 4 reasons GemStone customers choose GemFire:  Our customers almost universally demand extreme levles of Performance, Reliability, Scalability, and Performance.  I snapped out of my daydream and it all came racing back in my mind.  Of course!  There was a REASON I chose to peek and poke at the garage invention of Jobs and Wozniak:  I had learned that Popularity isn't always the pinnacle of achievement. 

    Furthermore, among YOUR top four listed reasons to use your product, you talk about "Enterprise Level" and "Java ONLY" in practically the same breath.  Excuse me?  Go back and do a little research about what "Enterprise" level means in the software industry, and you'll see that it is mutually exclusive to "Java Only". 

    So you see, Nikita, the fact that you haven't "come across a single customer" using or evaluating GemFire is far more revealing of YOU than of us.  It is widely known that we have focused on vertical markets in finance and government with great success, and we've been at the very least evaluated at just about every single large and medium sized financial services firm, bank, or intelligence-related government agency.  Obviously, you haven't been evaluated at any of them.

    I could go on, but I just noticed my esteemed colleague Sudhir made some excellent points as well. 

    To all the readers: Please excuse our fierce pride and instincts to defend our honor during a time that we finally see the many years of hard work bear fruit in such a great way.  To me, the best part of joining the VMWare family and cross-leveraging with SpringSource is that it's going to make GemFire accessible to so many more people than before.  Stay tuned!!



  17. no need to panic[ Go to top ]

    Gideon, dude, chill out... There are no reasons for these diatribes. I know you do have customers, you are great company and will be even better with VMWare. All the best to you and your esteemed colleagues :)


    Nikita Ivanov.


  18. Hm...[ Go to top ]

    You don't know a single customer who would use GemFire?

    How about Enterprise wide deployments of GemFire at JPMorgan Chase, Nomura, UBS, FXAll, etc. All competative wins. Better hope our software works, the US Defense Department depends on it for Command and Control.

  19. Double Hmm ...[ Go to top ]

    Michael -

    How about Enterprise wide deployments of GemFire at JPMorgan Chase, Nomura, UBS, FXAll, etc. All competative wins.

    Interesting. We've had recent "enterprise wide deployments" from "competitive wins" at several of those same companies ;-)


    Cameron Purdy | Oracle Coherence


  20. Oracle Coherence[ Go to top ]

    To my knowledge, I'm the only engineer ever to sell both Coherence and GemFire.  I'll tell you one thing about GemFire - it's never been bundled with any other product, it's never been 'thrown in' to sweeten an enterprise deal for other technology,  its never been given away free just so we can claim a customer (was that three things?).  Every GemFire customer uses GemFire for a mission critical application.  Our customers aren't interested in who claims to have the most installations - they thoroughly test and compare our product's performance and features with those of our competitors before selecting us.  And thankfully, that's what the good folks at VMWare and SpringSource did (granted, Coherence wasn't an option for them to purchase). 

    I'm really excited about the game-changing plans we have for the combinations of GemFire with Spring and VMWare.  I look forward to working with the talented people in the Spring Community and helping them embrace new platforms and architectures that will free them of the limitations they face today.


    David Brown, Chief Architect, Strategic Growth Busines,  GemStone

  21. Oracle Coherence[ Go to top ]

    Hi David,

    To my knowledge, I'm the only engineer ever to sell both Coherence and GemFire.

    Yes, I think you were involved with helping Merrill Lynch switch from Gemstone to Coherence. Thanks for your help .. :-)


    Cameron Purdy | Oracle Coherence


  22. Oracle Coherence[ Go to top ]

    Hi David,

    To my knowledge, I'm the only engineer ever to sell both Coherence and GemFire.

    Yes, I think you were involved with helping Merrill Lynch switch from Gemstone to Coherence. Thanks for your help .. :-)


    Cameron Purdy | Oracle Coherence


    Actually, Cameron, I was refering to the fact that I've spent 5 years as an Oracle Fusion Middleware Sales Consultant as well as 5 years with GemStone.  Merrill has never been my account to work on, and, if they were, I'd respect their privacy and not mention their name in a public forum.



  23. Now it is your turn[ Go to top ]

    it's never been bundled with any other product, it's never been 'thrown in' to sweeten an enterprise deal for other technology,  its never been given away free just so we can claim a customer (was that three things?)


    Now that you are part of VMWare expect all three of these things to happen to you.

  24. Coherence cost[ Go to top ]

    James - simply point to the public price list if you want.

    Worth pointing that for any such product with different editions, one should also look at the cost to upgrade to a non basic edition... (for example standard edition is extremely basic when it comes to monitoring) and that a price list is usually very hard to read (per cpu socket, per core, discount policies, should one count each and every cpu or core of client machine connected to the data grid, etc) - especially when out of context.

    Oh by the way, I believe Sun once had a memcached + MySQL Enterprise commercial supported offering. The build/buy/blend open source/ mix is not an easy one - no matter the products and projects - and your view seems oriented.

    Disclaimer: mine is as well, now working at VMware SpringSource division.

  25. Matt, I'll be glad to talk with you about pricing for GemFire (GFE) and or SQL Fabric.  We count organizations of all sizes as our customers.  I would be surprised if we can't figure out a way to help you take advantage of GFE.  



  26. Seriously, I really wonder what innovation they'll create w/ recent acqusition ^_^

  27. Hey guys, my name is Pierce Lamb and I work at GemStone.


    @Matt: the public has made it clear that learning what will happen in terms of opening up GemStone products is of utmost importance. We will hopefully have an answer on this ASAP. Our new product (in beta) SQLFabric, is meant for more small-to-medium type businesses that don't have a huge IT budget. There is a video about it on our main site, www.gemstone.com and a lot of documentation on our community site here: http://bit.ly/bDlF8N


    @Kevin: Our Chief Architect posted his thoughts on product synergies today: http://bit.ly/ab78Sj