A few months ago I became a committer and a PMC Member at an exciting new project in the Apache Software Foundation: Apache Ignite. Ignite is a strong contender of Hazelcast and it exceeds its functionality in many regards, especially in terms of computing, transactionality, co-locality, and "queriability" via plain SQL.
As defined by the Apache Ignite community:
Apache Ignite In-Memory Data Fabric is a high-performance, integrated and distributed in-memory platform for computing and transacting on large-scale data sets in real-time, orders of magnitude faster than possible with traditional disk-based or flash technologies.
In general terms, Ignite is all about in-memory computing, a hot field in IT, Data Science and Machine Learning. Gartner made the following statement in May 2015:
As this year's  Hype Cycle clearly indicates, the field of in-memory computing is extremely innovative. Adoption grows favored by decreasing costs, availability of open-source enablers and vendors' push.
Ignite differentiates itself from competitors in the following areas, amongst others:
Strong transactionality guarantees (ACID). A priority for financial institutions, payment providers, gaming and online betting, etc.
Complete support for distributed SQL (ANSI-99) queries with support for indices, JOINs and aggregations.
Built-in computation semantics and features: MapReduce, fork-join, distributed closures with peer-classloading, colocation, job load-balancing, fault-tolerance, checkpointing, scheduling, etc.
Fail-safe continuous queries.
Steaming and in-memory sliding windows.
For a complete comparisons against other data grids:
- Ignite vs. Hazelcast.
- Ignite vs. Oracle Coherence.
- Ignite vs. Pivotal Gemfire.
- Ignite vs. Redis (okay, not a data grid, but it tends to be used as a low-latency distributed cache).
A bit of background...
Apache Ignite was open sourced by GridGain, a half-Russian, half-US company with an very talented team of developers. Both their main products: GridGain In-Memory Data Fabric and Hadoop Accelerator entered the ASF Incubator under the name Ignite in October 2014 and graduated almost a year later, in September 2015.
Their customers are many large financial institutions across the globe (names are mostly confidential), as well as important companies like Apple , Canon, Intercontinental Hotel Groups (IHG), Pitney Bowes, Sony, TomTom, etc. Check out their featured customers.
The same technology is now available for anybody to use, play with and deploy in production for free and with a healthy and steadily growing community behind it.
Go check it out now and come say hi to us on Gitter!