As previously noted, I’ve briefly cut back on blogging (and research) due to some family health issues. The first casualty was a post about memcached. One of the two companies to be featured were my new clients at Northscale. The other was Gear6. What they had in common was:
- Both Northscale and Gear6 offered distributions of memcached.
- Both Northscale and Gear6 also wanted to sell persistent versions of memcached — in essence, simple DBMS with the memcached API in place of a substantial DML (Data Manipulation Language).
- Gear6 hit the market earlier.
- Gear6 forked away from open source memcached.
- Gear6 sold its memcached distribution, while Northscale’s is free. (But you’re encouraged to pay for support.)
- Gear6 is also in the caching appliance business.
- Northscale and Gear6 had different approaches to beefing up the memcached API (especially for their respective persistent memcached stores).
However, both GigaOm and eWeek are reporting that Gear6 is headed for liquidation. Even though the source of the story seems to be Gear6’s caching appliance rival Schooner, the rumor sounds legit, not least due to Gear6’s conspicuous lack of denial. Of course, we can’t rule out some kind of last-minute transaction that either keeps Gear6 going in some capacity, or else gets its technology into some other vendor’s hands.
Metrics on Gear6 as of my briefing a few weeks ago included:
- A dozen or so announced (software?) customers
- “Dozens” of paying customers in the Amazon cloud
- “Tons” of free customers in the Amazon cloud
- 25-30 employees
- Low-end pricing of $3500/year/server or, on Amazon, $0.80/hour
- Biggest known installation = about 20 servers clustered together
I of course still plan to write about Northscale and memcached, but first I wanted to get Gear6’s apparent death throes out of the way in a separate post.
Incidentally, memcached is by no means Gear6’s original business. Gear6 was founded in 2002 as Engineered Intelligence Corporation to do something in the area of general high-performance clustering. In 2006 Gear6 said it was “solely focused” on storage, specifically the “server/storage gap”. By 2008 Gear6’s business was high-performance caching appliances, not necessarily memcached-specific. memcached, in software, appliance, and cloud-based formats, came more recently.