SpringSource today announced that it will acquire privately held GemStone Systems, with the idea of integrating that company’s distributed caching data fabric into SpringSource’s cloud-targeted Java stacks. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of next week, were not disclosed.

Rod Johnson, general manager of VMware’s SpringSource division, said that the GemStone acquisition is intended to round out the VMware Java middleware portfolio. In March, SpringSource acquired RabbitMQ, a company that supports the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol implementation.

“Fundamentally, we’re building out our middleware capabilities, but we’re doing it with an eye towards what we think of as next-generation middleware,” said Johnson. “We’re choosing things like our TC Server product, GemStone and RabbitMQ that are highly relevant to solving the new problems of cloud deployment.”

Johnson went on to state that this acquisition will help developers to deal with data management in live applications. “We think data management is becoming increasingly important. As you move to cloud, you potentially have different data stores underneath. You need to scale that to a degree that’s problematic for relational databases,” he said.

One alternative to relational databases has been the NoSQL movement, but that doesn’t mean NoSQL is the only answer. Johnson said that caching is an ideal solution for enterprises, as the transactional limits on NoSQL databases are prohibitive for large businesses with complex Java applications. He said that using a caching layer like GemStone’s data fabrics can allow data stored in relational databases to scale similarly to NoSQL’s, but without removing the benefits of a relational database.

Richard Lamb, CEO of GemStone, said that the biggest benefit of this acquisition will be the opportunity it provides his company to refine the developer-facing end of its products.

He added that GemStone has been focused on “building the maturity and the reliability of the product. The ease of use has not been one of our top priorities. With Spring, we will bring that to this very compelling technology.”

Lamb said that the Spring framework brings simplicity and ease of use to enterprise Java developers, and he hoped it would extend these benefits to GemStone’s products.

Johnson and Lamb agreed that SpringSource would be building tools for dealing with GemStone before the end of the year. Johnson also said that GemStone’s data fabric layers will become a part of SpringSource and VMware’s Java cloud stacks. Finally, he added that SpringSource’s TC Server will soon offer support for using GemStone software to replicate data across Tomcat clusters.