7. Working with GemFire Serialization

To improve overall performance of the data grid, GemFire supports a dedicated serialization protocol (PDX) that is both faster and offers more compact results over the standard Java serialization and works transparently across various language platforms (such as Java, .NET and C++). This chapter discusses the various ways in which Spring Data GemFire simplifies and improves GemFire custom serialization in Java.

7.1 Wiring deserialized instances

It is fairly common for serialized objects to have transient data. Transient data is often dependent on the node or environment where it lives at a certain point in time, for example a DataSource. Serializing such information is useless (and potentially even dangerous) since it is local to a certain VM/machine. For such cases, Spring Data GemFire offers a special Instantiator that performs wiring for each new instance created by GemFire during deserialization.

Through such a mechanism, one can rely on the Spring container to inject (and manage) certain dependencies making it easy to split transient from persistent data and have rich domain objects in a transparent manner (Spring users might find this approach similar to that of @Configurable). The WiringInstantiator works just like WiringDeclarableSupport, trying to first locate a bean definition as a wiring template and following to autowiring otherwise. Please refer to the previous section (Section 6.6, “Wiring Declarable components”) for more details on wiring functionality.

To use this Instantiator, simply declare it as a usual bean:

<bean id="instantiator" class="org.springframework.data.gemfire.serialization.WiringInstantiator">
  <!-- DataSerializable type -->
  <!-- type id -->

During the container startup, once it is being initialized, the instantiator will, by default, register itself with the GemFire system and perform wiring on all instances of SomeDataSerializableClass created by GemFire during deserialization.

7.2 Auto-generating custom Instantiators

For data intensive applications, a large number of instances might be created on each machine as data flows in. Out of the box, GemFire uses reflection to create new types but for some scenarios, this might prove to be expensive. As always, it is good to perform profiling to quantify whether this is the case or not. For such cases, Spring Data GemFire allows the automatic generation of Instatiator classes which instantiate a new type (using the default constructor) without the use of reflection:

<bean id="instantiator-factory" class="org.springframework.data.gemfire.serialization.InstantiatorFactoryBean">
  <property name="customTypes">
      <entry key="org.pkg.CustomTypeA" value="1025"/>
      <entry key="org.pkg.CustomTypeB" value="1026"/>

The definition above, automatically generated two Instantiators for two classes, namely CustomTypeA and CustomTypeB and registers them with GemFire, under user id 1025 and 1026. The two instantiators avoid the use of reflection and create the instances directly through Java code.