According to Google “GridGain provides [a] Java-based in-memory data platform that [is for] processing big data in real time“. But, you may still be wondering what on earth this means. As the name implies, GridGain has to do with grid computing. Just think of a grid of computers as a shared network, comprised of many different computers, all working together to achieve the same goal. In computer terminology java is a computer programming language akin to HTML. I will talk more about the two and their differences later. In-memory is comparable to RAM (random access memory), except that it is much faster. I will also explain more about RAM, disk storage, and in-memory later. Platform is a term that goes with java—java platform—and I will talk about this after I briefly explain what java means. After you read this article, you should have a thorough understanding of what GridGain provides.
You may be familiar with referring to HTML as HTML code and this is good, because it is a coded language. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and it tells the webpage or web browser what to do. When you write a page in HTML you not only include the text you want to display, you also include instructions in HTML code that tells the page what to do using HTML elements (coded tags in angle brackets). Java, on the hand, is a programming language, currently the most popular and widely used programming language, that allows you to write once, run anywhere (WORA)—in other words, the code that runs on one platform does not need to be rewritten in order to run on another. Now I will explain the term I just used—platform. A java platform simply refers to writing a computer application (in the java language) on one computer and having it be accessible to other computers—in this case, the application can be accessed by anyone connected to your grid. In layman’s terms, you can create your own computer program and everyone in your network will be able to use it.
Now it is time for a discussion about speed. RAM comes on your desktop computer or laptop and is meant for short term storage/rapid computing. For longer term storage you should turn to a removable device, like a disk, a CD, or some such device. In-memory is even faster than traditional RAM, because it lets RAM “do all the heavy lifting of calculation and queries”. In-memory essentially performs the same type of computing as RAM, it is just that processing is so much faster, because you do not need to keep transferring data from one hard disk to another. Even though in-memory is much faster than RAM, you are still limited by how much RAM you have access to. Therefore, in-memory is “best suited for smaller, less-complex data sets.”You cannot beat the speed of in-memory technology. GridGain can “process terabytes of data [(a massive amount)] in under a second.”
Hopefully you now understand exactly what GridGain provides. It is a rather complex idea. I have taken the Google definition, broken it down, and explained each part. Different variations of this Google definition can be found all over the web and only a definition like this can be found—nowhere is GridGain explained in simple layman’s terms. But, I shall explain it this way now: GridGain enables you to create a computer program (even an extremely big program) and let everyone else in your network start using it only seconds after you are done creating it.