Oracle to buy in-memory data grid company

Oracle plans to purchase Tangosol, a US provider of in-memory data grid software, as a way to further extend its Fusion middleware and make it more appealing to users where rapid access to data is critical to their businesses.

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Oracle plans to purchase Tangosol, a US provider of in-memory data grid software, as a way to further extend its Fusion middleware and make it more appealing to users where rapid access to data is critical to their businesses.

Data grid software is middleware that manages data objects in-memory across multiple servers. It is used to raise application performance by enabling very fast access to frequently used data, removing the need to access that data from slower moving back-end systems.

"This brings a new piece of the puzzle to us," said Steve Harris, vice president of development for Oracle. "It's a new part of the technology stack that will enhance our ability to address this extreme transaction processing in middleware."

Tangosol's Coherence software helps enable what is known as extreme transaction processing (XTP), common in industries where real-time access to data is crucial such as financial services, telecommunications and logistics. The bulk of Tangosol's revenue comes from financial-services companies, said Cameron Purdy, CEO of Tangosol.

As more companies move toward service-oriented and event-driven architectures, the demand for higher-power access and processing -- functionality enabled by companies like Tangosol -- grows, Harris said.

Awareness of the benefits of technology like Tangosol's has grown significantly over the last couple of years, Purdy said. Around 18 months ago, his company generally stopped having to explain to potential customers what the technology could do for them, he said.

As an example of the benefits of using high-scale transaction processing, a banking customer of Tangosol's was able to reduce the time it takes to complete a specific task from 50 days to one hour, Purdy said.

Oracle announced its latest acquisition plans on Friday. Subject to customary closing conditions, Oracle expects to complete the purchase of Tangosol next month. The companies did not provide any financial information about the acquisition.

Oracle's recent purchases have tended to focus more on buoying up the company's applications business than its database and middleware operations, with the vendor earlier this month entering into an agreement to acquire business intelligence applications vendor Hyperion Solutions for £1.6bn. Oracle plans to integrate Tangosol's technology with its Fusion middleware and its TimesTen in-memory database and its enterprise-level Oracle Database, the vendor said. The intention is to create a middleware stack capable of supporting applications carrying out real-time data analytics, grid-based in-memory computation and high-performance transactions. Oracle acquired TimesTen in June 2005 and last month released the first major version of the in-memory relational database developed within Oracle since the purchase.

Tangosol, which has its headquarters in Massachusetts, has more than 100 customers including Delta Airlines, FedEx, Macy's, Starwood and Wachovia and over 1,500 deployments of its software around the world.

Oracle committed to supporting and continuing ongoing development of Tangosol's software both as an independent product line and being integrated with its Fusion middleware. Oracle will not require Tangosol customers to use Fusion and plans to continue developing the Coherence software so it can function independent of middleware. "It's part of our pluggable strategy where we make sure a product offering can be used in an existing environment," Harris said. Coherence supports middleware from vendors including BEA Systems, IBM, Microsoft's Net, Oracle and Red Hat's JBoss division.

(Nancy Gohring in Seattle contributed to this report.)

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