In today’s digital and fast-paced world, now more than ever, enterprises are struggling to provide the required access speed to their services and data.

This problem has become critical for global companies whose data resides at a specific location while their clients, from remote locations around the world, expect fast access to this data.

All modern enterprise IT organizations are concerned with replicating mission-critical data across sites, applications, or data centers. Large sites often serve users across continents. To ensure consistently low latency, it is common to maintain a copy of the data close to the users in each continent. The content delivery network (CDN) handles the distribution of static data. However there are many challenges to achieving real-time data replication, and enterprises have additional demanding requirements that must be a part of any solution, including reliability, security, and filtering.

If you add the complexities of data peaks and data access restrictions in specific countries, like China, meeting the real-time performance demands becomes even more challenging.

China is an important market for many large global companies and many of them have employees in China. Companies such as Avon, GE, and AT&T for example, have been in China and manufacturing products for 20 to 30 years. Retailers like Walmart (NYSE: WMT) have thousands of locations across China. The situation in the athletic gear market is similar. Nike (NYSE: NKE) has a strong sales base in China, but so does Germany’s Adidas. General Motors (NYSE: GM) is the leader in the Chinese light truck and car market.

Just think of the frustration of an employee based on the “great China firewall” when he encounters a huge delay as he tries to access crucial company data from an application.

This was exactly the pain point that a global energy management enterprise was facing when it came to GigaSpaces for assistance.

3 Proven Steps to Overcoming the Fast Data Access Challenge

To begin addressing the challenge of accessing data in real-time we are using an example of a successful deployment where the following 3 steps were taken:

  1. Clarify the business requirements of the customer
  2. Understand the existing architecture and why there was a technological challenge
  3. Assess the priority of the data per business application and region

1. Business Requirements

Our customer has a mobile application which provides services to both employees and clients of the company, allowing users to perform business transactions and get information. Our customer required the capability to provide services in real-time or near real-time.

2. Technological Challenge

Our customer was facing two technical challenges:

  1. Issue high latency and low performance: Huge delay, due to the “great China firewall”, when trying to access crucial company data from an application.
  2. No existing capability to do asynchronous calls from Kinvey Platform All calls were only synchronized and based on cold data. There was no existing possibility of doing any kind of up-front buffering.

3. Asses Data Prioritization

Defining the data prioritization — which data is “HOT” —  with the ability to handle this data in an optimal manner increases the overall performance of the solution.

Deployed Solution

One of the key components of the solution is the ability to work synchronously and asynchronously on both LAN (between GigaSpaces and Kinvey) and WAN (between the USA and China) network environments.

The GigaSpaces solution is based on combining synchronize and asynchronous product features, and by doing so covering the need for hot data and cold data accessibility on a global scale.

3 Steps to Implementing GigaSpaces’ Fast Data Access Layer

  1. Set up 1…n sites globally
  • pu.xml WAN Gateway China side configuration snippet (Sink):

  • pu.xml WAN Gateway USA side snippet (Delegator):

2. Set up communication between the sites using the GigaSpaces LRMI protocol

  • pu.xml web API china side configuration snippet:

3. Based on the LRMI communication channels, we can now transfer the requested data according to its priority:

  • High (Hot) – Get the data from the local space. If it does not exist, proceed to get it synchronously from a site which has the needed data.
    • CountryController java class implementation code snippet, taken from China web API:

  • Low (Cold) – Get the data from a remote site asynchronously according to the user profile predicting that this data will be needed for him later on.
    • KinveyDataAsyncService java class implementation code snippet, taken from US space business logic:

      By getting the user details (profile) on the first access, we can now collect all of the user’s predictive data asynchronously and this data will wait for him locally once he requires it.

      Why is there a Need for a Fast Data Access Layer?

      We have successfully developed and implemented this solution for one of our largest multinational corporations clients, a top organization specializing in energy management. It is being used for our client’s mobile application on a global scale.

      GigaSpaces Professional Services team helped develop this particular application on GigaSpaces platforms to improve performance, measured in terms of latency, for this client’s mobile application.

      The company’s Chinese mobile application users are relying on a solution called the Kinvey Platform, which is deployed solely in the US region. This platform is able to push data from underlying data sources to their engagement platforms, however, the geographic separation between client/server and the Great Firewall of China significantly degrades performance.

      In order to solve the performance problem, we had to find a way to replicate the relevant data, which is only accessed via the Kinvey platform in the US region to the China region.

      GigaSpaces platform, with its core engine XAP, was able to replicate the data across the USA and China regions and act as a fast data access layer for the mobile application in both regions. This solution is now being used for our customer’s mobile application all over the world.

      GigaSpaces Fast Data Access Layer High-level Diagram

      GigaSpaces Fast Data Access layer high level diagram

      Helpful Links

      Final Thoughts

      By implementing our solution, our customer was able to implement predictive capabilities, according to the first call, of what will be the data used later on by users and bringing it up-front to the local space.

      With our solution, we were able to accelerate the transition from cold data to hot data, overcoming obstacles such as the Great Firewall of China in just a few milliseconds.

      To learn more about the GigaSpaces Fast Data Access Layer code visit Github.

Implementing a Fast Data Access Layer and Breaking the Great China (Fire)wall
Aharon Moll on LinkedinAharon Moll on Twitter
Aharon Moll
Senior Professional Services Engineer @ GigaSpaces
Aharon is a Technical Account Manager for the EMEA VIP customers including UBS and SixGroup. He provides a full cycle professional consultancy from the early development phase to full production.
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