Scale Existing Applications With an In-memory Data Grid

As businesses become more reliant on web-scale applications and the analysis of large amounts of data, scaling existing applications becomes a challenge. Scaling vertically is a common business move because it seems necessary, but it’s neither sustainable nor practical in the long term. Purchasing more powerful and expensive hardware to compensate for the limitations of current systems—and doing it repeatedly—severely limits an organization’s options, later on if not now.

Fortunately, in-memory data grids are up to the challenge, providing a cost-effective and minimally intrusive scaling solution. An in-memory data grid or IMDG is the key to an organization’s digital transformation, with its high speed and availability without the need to replace existing systems. Operating within a computer cluster, it uses the combined memory and processing power of available computers within the network and distributes the dataset across the cluster nodes to provide faster and more efficient data processing.

Modernizing Applications With In-memory Data Grids

In-memory data grids run specialized software on computers within the network and is inserted between the application and data layers. It moves data on disk into RAM to allow for data processing without the need to repeatedly read and write data from disk-based storage. By doing this, IMDG does away with the usual bottlenecks caused by constantly accessing data from disk.

The four pillars of successful digital transformation ensure that an organization’s systems and applications are set up so that it can handle the complex and heavy workloads of the future. IMDG helps businesses by providing the power needed to achieve these four pillars.

Unparalleled speed.

By storing data in RAM, IMDG provides applications quick and easy access to data across the computer cluster. The platform also makes use of a feature known as “persistent store,” which allows data to reside both on disk and in RAM. By allowing this, frequently accessed data can be accessed quicker through RAM while the rest of the data resides on disk. It also keeps data-optimized so that the amount of data can exceed the amount of RAM.

Easy and flexible scalability.

What makes IMDG a cost-effective solution is the way it’s designed to support horizontal scalability. Traditional computing platforms usually scale vertically, making it a very expensive endeavor to process large amounts of data at scale. The requirement to acquire more powerful hardware and software through time is also an unsustainable model in the long term. With IMDG, scaling a system can be as simple as adding a new node to the cluster. Depending on business needs, nodes can be added or removed dynamically so resources can be allocated elsewhere.

data grid

Data security.

An IMDG provides layers of security to protect data because it is a distributed system. Most implementations provide Transport Layer Security (TLS) to secure communication between members of the cluster, “process security” to allow the system to check any new process attempting to join the cluster, data access auditing integrated into Corporate Information Security (CIS) systems, and entry- or row-level security checks to help make sound data-entry access decisions.


Because the IMDG is a distributed platform that allows for elastic scalability or the dynamic addition and subtraction of nodes, reliability is largely dependent on its fault-finding capabilities. IMDG is able to quickly analyze state changes in data and send out alerts so they can be addressed immediately. Data replication is done to one or several nodes so it remains available even if a node is down. IMDG can also be configured for wide-area network replication so data can be copied and accessed seamlessly across data centers. If a data center becomes unavailable, applications can simply access data from another data center.

Why Choose an In-memory Data Grid?

In-memory data grids offer a multitude of features that help in the processing and analysis of large amounts of data. In today’s data-driven world, this is a vital business solution. An IMDG helps manage fast-moving data up to more than 100 times faster compared to disk-based solutions. This helps transform complex data into actionable insights that contribute to smart decision making. Your business needs an IMDG if:

  • real-time data and responsiveness is required;
  • you need to scale performance of existing applications to support increasing volume;
  • you require a flexible architecture that can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment;
  • your existing applications would benefit from a distributed data layer; or
  • you’re standardizing your computing platform to reduce the number of technologies in your company infrastructure.

Today’s business landscape demands real-time, near-instant results from processed data, and the amount of data grows exponentially over time. This requires a sustainable, highly available, and easily scalable solution that simplifies application development without compromising on performance.

In-memory data grids ensure low latency and high throughput through the use of RAM instead of disk, and it minimizes data movement to reduce bottlenecks usually caused by disk-based storage. As the cost of RAM continues to decrease, the IMDG becomes more cost-effective and viable as a long-term solution.

Edward Huskin is a freelance data and analytics consultant. He specializes in finding the best technical solution for companies to manage their data and produce meaningful insights.