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T39. Scaling Objects for the Enterprise: What If Thousands of VMs Could Share Terabytes of Objects?

James Foster, GemStone Systems, Inc.

As a junior-high student in 1971, James discovered the local university's computer lab and learned Basic, Fortran, and assembly. After trying other careers (commercial aviation and law), he returned to computer programming and was introduced to OOP on the Macintosh in the 1980s. Since then James has worked on large system (primarily in healthcare) and introduced agile practices to the teams he has lead. James is a veteran OOPSLA attendee and has presented at OOPSLA and other conferences. James Foster is on the Smalltalk Engineering Team at GemStone Systems, Inc. and is an evangelist for the Seaside web framework.

During the past couple decades OOP has become sufficiently mainstream so that we take for granted that our domain model will be manipulated by applications using objects. What has not become common, however, is the use of objects when sharing domain data between instances of the application. Instead, we commonly see things like memcached (which stores bytes from which objects must be created) and relational databases (which store a handful of primitive types from which objects must be created). This process of converting objects to and from some other format slows down not just the development process but the runtime performance as well.

In this Tutorial we will study details of the architecture of GemStone/S, an object database and application server that was introduced at the first OOPSLA in 1986. We will look at techniques used to allow thousands of virtual machines on hundreds of networked hosts to share terabytes of objects using true database semantics (ACID: Atomic, Consistent, Isolated, and Durable). We will see how all memory caching and on-disk storage is of true objects in the same format as used by the application. The presentation will be an in-depth technical discussion of implementation details, not a product demo.


Participants will learn how an object database and application server can scale the use of objects.


Lecture with slides

Audience: Researchers, Practitioners
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