51Degrees API Documentation  4.2


On-Premise engines are a specialization of aspect engine where additional data exists locally to the engine, either in memory or a data file. This is in contrast to a cloud engine where data exists in a cloud service which is called by the engine. Having data which does not reside in the engine itself means that the same engine can be used with multiple data sets.

An on-premise engine builds on the aspect engine concept to introduce the ability to:

  • load data either from memory or one or more data files
  • keep data files up to date

Use Cases

An on-premise engine typically has no need to call external components when processing a request. This makes it best suited to cases where performance is critical and the supporting hardware implementation reflects this. To provide optimal performance, some on-premise engines can be configured to run with any data files held entirely in memory, reducing latency further.

There are also situations where the security demands of a service make sending sensitive data to an external cloud service problematic. Using an on-premise engine will address this issue.

Data Files

An aspect engine can make use of one or more data files to carry out its processing. This is typically the case when an engine relies on data being updated, so the data is not stored statically in the engine itself.


To facilitate keeping the data up to date, an engine may be registered with the data update service, to provide 'automatic updates'. Enabling this feature in an engine means that when it is added to a Pipeline, it will be registered for updates, and the data update service will refresh the data file automatically.

An engine's data can also be refreshed manually by giving the engine either a new data file or memory location, and requesting that it use that new datafile or memory location. Depending on the engine implementation, refreshing the data in an engine may or may not require the engine to briefly stop serving requests. All 51Degrees engines have been designed so that processing will be uninterrupted by data updates.

Temporary Data Files

An engine can optionally create a temporary copy of the data file to use. This is good practice when making use of the update functionality, as an engine can be configured so that it streams data from the data file. When a temporary data file is used, the original data file cannot be updated because the engine will have a lock on the file.


Each data file in an engine can contain metadata, some of which is used by the data update service. This metadata can provide the data update service with the age of the data file, the time at which a new one will be available, and the URL of where the new data file can be obtained.

Multiple Files

An on-premise engine can require more than one data file. Files can be individually registered with the data update service, which will handle each file according to its own metadata. This allows different data files to have distinct update configurations.