It took 13 years, but as of Monday, the Java programming language has an official caching API. It's called JCache, and it is already exerting an impact on the channel, with the announcement by open source in-memory computing vendor Hazelcast of an implementation of JCache that could have important implications for the cloud, Big Data and beyond.

Simply put, JCache makes it easy for programmers writing Java applications to cache application data, which can significantly boost performance in many cases. Caching is especially important when dealing with the immense and ever-changing scale of information demanded by cloud-based apps and Big Data infrastructure.

Third-party caching solutions have been available in Java, but the approval through the Java Community Process of the JCache specification—which was first formally proposed back in 2001—makes JCache the "official" caching system for Java programmers. It builds a caching API into the language and helps developers avoid the vendor lock-in that could result from adopting a proprietary caching solution.

Seizing on the announcement of the JCache specification approval on Monday, Hazelcast announced the same day that it has implemented JCache as part of its open source in-memory data grid platform, also called Hazelcast. It hopes the move will "accelerate cache and In­Memory Data Grid adoption in the industry," according to Greg Luck, Hazelcast CTO and a co-author of the JCache specification.

The company also envisions JCache proving attractive to ISVs because of its vendor-neutral nature. Previously, ISVs that embedded third-party Java caching solutions into their products faced the possibility that customers preferred different solutions. Now, JCache provides a common caching specification for all levels of the development and distribution chain.