Memory Based Architecture For Enterprise Application – Introduction

We had this architecture discussion in one of the technical meetings in company recently and I was assigned to share all details on Memory Based Architecture. Sharing details from those sessions.

Memory, changing philosophy with enterprise applications and  Memory Based Architecture:

The main memory is high bandwidth and low latency component that can match performance of the processor in the computer. The bandwidth of main memory is around few GB per second as oppose to disk which is around hundred MB per second. The latency of main memory is in nanoseconds range where as that of disk is in milliseconds range. Traditionally main memory was considered as expensive resource and therefore it was scarcely used. However this perception that RAM is expensive component is now changing due to sharp drop in prices over past several years. Same time enterprise applications require more scalable and performance oriented use of those each chunk of available physical memory. Today they have enormous amount of such main memory cheaply available. Many applications are using memory in Gigabytes and Terabytes. The main memory empowers application architectures to achieve linear scalability and high performance. These qualities are extremely important to the modern enterprise applications for delivering guaranteed high performance under intensive and unpredictable workload.

As enterprises are using more memory, software vendors have flooded the market with several types of memory based products in order to size this new business opportunity. These products are targeted towards supporting various business use cases and architectural scenarios. This series is intended to introduce various memory based product categories along with business uses and architectural scenarios supported by them. 

When we think of any memory based products then high performance is the first thing that comes to our mind. Yes, high performance is primary reason why memory based products are used, but it is not the ‘only reason’. Many a times they are deployed to reduce IO operations over network or address the high latency issues with disk based products like databases. Typically with N Tier Architecture, properly design application code can easily scale out by adding more application servers. However the main scalability barrier is disk based database which is centrally access by all the clustered application servers. Here memory based products are typically deployed to overcome scalability bottleneck pose by disk based database and make application servers more scalable. Thus following can be considered as primary scenarios for any memory based product.

– Improve application performance
– Reduce network & disk IO Operations
– Overcome scalability barriers & make application servers more scalable.

The memory based products can be broadly classified as Caching(Standalone & Distributed Caching), In Memory Data Grid (IMDG), Main Memory Database (MMDB) and Application Platforms that enables Space Based Architecture and covered in great details under this series.