Discovering Shoal: The Java Clustering Framework

I recently discovered an open source clustering framework for the Java platform, Shoal. What interests me about the framework is that it provides programatically controllable clustering for Java applications. I am definitely considering Shoal’s Java clustering for the next version of GhostBlade. For a few months I have been working on my open source project, GhostBlade. GhostBlade is an open source Java e-commerce application, based on db4o as the database, and Google Web Toolkit for the user interface. It’s not available to the public yet, but should be within the next few months.

What bothers me a bit about db4o is that it is primarily targeted at embedded applications, and does not really scale well to enterprise size systems. But I love it, since I’ve reduced my database development time by about 30-50%, and do not have to do Object Relational Mapping (ORM). The reason I’m thinking of using Shoal, or a comparable clustering framework, is that I’d like to build an extremely scalable enterprise level e-commerce application based on db4o.

I was thinking along the lines of adding the capability to create a clustered application where the administrator can partition the application based on its classes, and functionality. For example he can command GhostBlade to store the Order class on node X in the cluster, or the search feature must be handled by node Y. Whether this will be possible with Shoal’s clustering is requires some prototyping research. Watch this space for more on the db4o-Shoal clustering stunt.


3 Comments on “Discovering Shoal: The Java Clustering Framework”

  1. Hi!

    Sounds like a really intereesting project (this kind of scalability would be awesome for db4o). If it’s not too much to ask please keep me posted of any progress in this project. You might also consider submitting it to our ProjectSpaces ( and/or the CodeCommander program (

    Good luck!!! (and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any question)

    German Viscuso
    db4o Community Manager

  2. openlandscape says:

    Thank you so much for your interest. This is really a big encouragement to me, since it’s from a member of the db4objects team.

    Will keep you posted. Version 1 of GhostBlade will be a very basic Java e-commerce application. I’m just trying to lay a solid foundation with version 1, and not do anything fancy. I will definitely make the project available on db4o ProjectSpaces, simultaneously when the app and source goes public.

    Once the app is public, I guess it will be the community that will decide what will make it in version 2. But personally I’d like to do something like this with the back-end in a post version 1.

  3. Shreedhar says:

    Interesting blog and use case for Shoal. You can certainly use Shoal’s messaging api for your purpose. Please give us feedback at the Shoal users mailing list and we will be glad to help.

    Shreedhar Ganapathy
    Shoal Co-Author

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