Terracotta  has acquired the intellectual property behind Ehcache, the Java-based open-source distributed caching technology.

As part of the deal, Ehcache maintainer Greg Luck will be joining Terracotta, which makes open-source infrastructure software for scaling out Java applications.

Distributed caches boost the performance of applications by storing needed data in memory, rather than on disc.

Ehcache already has "hundreds of thousands of production deployments," with some 50 percent of Terracotta's own customers using it, so it made more sense to acquire the intellectual property and Luck's expertise, according to Terracotta CEO Amit Pandey.

Ehcache will remain available under the Apache 2.0 open-source licence, according to Luck and Pandey. The community and project will benefit from the additional engineering resources Terracotta can throw at it, Pandey said.

Luck did provide commercial support for Ehcache, and sold a book about the technology, but for the most part "it really hasn't been monetised," he said.

By having Ehcache and Terracotta under one roof, the company will be able to better support the customers who are using it already, Pandey said. In addition, Terracotta will be able to pitch its own technology to a broader potential customer base.

Luck had already been subject to a few outside offers, including a merger proposal from a "less successful" open-source project.

"This is the one that makes sense for the community," he said.

Meanwhile, last week some analysts suggested that VMware may follow up its deal to buy Java tools vendor SpringSource by acquiring scale-out software like that sold by Terracotta. Pandey declined comment on the prospect. "We're excited about where we are in terms of our market position," he said.