Data Enablers: Black Friday Is No Sweat For GigaSpaces

For seven Black Fridays in a row, GigaSpaces clients have enjoyed 100 percent uptime: a powerful testament to the strength of its system’s simplicity.

GigaSpaces provides retailers with a real-time understanding of all their transactions, no matter how many simultaneous transactions are taking place. The company pairs extreme transaction processing with real-time analytics at web scale through a Converged In-Memory Compute Platform.

Two GigaSpaces products make this possible.

The first one is XAP, a high-performance In-Memory Data Grid that large-scale payment processing systems can use as a central data and processing fabric. The information XAP delivers is reliable, consistent, scalable, and fast, with cloud-native deployment. Data and business logic are collocated for low latency and high availability.

The second product is InsightEdge, GigaSpaces’ In-Memory Analytics Platform, which uses Apache Spark to provide real-time streaming analytics and insights.

All of this was possible through a revolutionary approach to distributed computing, which GigaSpaces pioneered in the early days of JavaSpaces. Essentially, the company pooled memory across multiple servers to create a faster computer.

The system is sheer elegance in its simplicity. JavaSpaces runs on just four application program interfaces (APIs), and GigaSpaces directed its distributed applications to use those four APIs as if they were a single server. The process catapulted space-based programming into the virtual sphere.

That was in 2000. Now, GigaSpaces is proud to offer elasticity to retailers so they can scale their business to meet any demand – yes, even Black Friday — for seven straight years. PYMNTS caught up with Deputy CTO and Distinguished Engineer Shay Hassidim to find out more.

Here’s an excerpt of the interview:

PYMNTS: Can you give the history on the founding and launch of the company? Why was the company founded? What was the grand idea that sparked it?

SH: Our team discovered that building middleware in highly distributed and stateful systems was incredibly complex. However, we believed that a forthcoming increase in computing power via commodity resources and, at the same time, an increase in memory capacity, would make memory-based solutions a much more viable approach for handling high performance data distribution.

Initial customer research showed that simplicity would be critical in driving adoption. At that time, JavaSpaces had just emerged, and with it, we found a totally different approach to distributed computing. We were able to leverage its inherent simplicity (only 4 APIs) and identified a way for space-based programming to run virtually — distributed applications will use the 4 APIs as if they are interacting with a single server, even though in reality they will in fact interact with numerous servers. Basically, we were able to pool memory across multiple servers to create a faster computer.

PYMNTS: Can you show me some data or proof points on how the company has helped retailers? 

SH: Fortune 200 retail companies use GigaSpaces XAP as their central data and processing fabric. This allows them to handle peak load during the holiday season with ZERO downtime, reducing total cost of ownership and increasing return on investment while using cloud / virtualized / commodity hardware across multiple data centers.

We allow these organizations elasticity — the ability to scale their environments to meet any demand.

PYMNTS: Looking back since founding, what has been the proudest moment for the organization?

SH: There’s a moment when we launch a new customer’s systems into production using GigaSpaces IMC products where we feel tremendous anticipation about the transformative nature and exponential revenue opportunities that a customer is about to become familiar with.

PYMNTS: What has been the biggest hurdle? How did the company overcome?

SH: During the 2007 global financial crisis, about 50 percent of GigaSpaces customers were experiencing some downturn. Since then, we’ve diversified our client base to other verticals such as payment processing, logistics, retail, healthcare, telco and others. This gives the company solid financial stability.

PYMNTS: Can you give me some personnel growth numbers? Started with # (who?) and now have # employees?

SH: GigaSpaces is a profitable, 120 employee-company with 30 percent growth year over year in the recent years.

PYMNTS: What’s the company culture like?

SH: We’re a truly global company, with offices in Israel, New York and San Jose. We actively recruit smart people, and empower them to do what they love.

PYMNTS: To what do you attribute your success over the years?

SH: Dedicated, devoted, talented people with infinite motivation, improvisation and passion to be the best. Our team is truly amazing.

PYMNTS: What’s next? What does the future look like?

SH: In the past year, we’ve open-sourced the core of our XAP product, opening it up to a new world of developers. A few months later, we launched InsightEdge to combine the ability to process transactions with real-time analytics. In the coming year, we plan to continue our pace of innovation, bolstered by a community of developers who see opportunities and use cases we haven’t yet delved into.

In the retail space, we believe that XAP and InsightEdge will be the solutions that finally deliver on the promise of omnichannel customer experiences.