If you didn’t make it along to Tibco’s TUCON user conference in Las Vegas this week, you missed a considerable amount of news from the software infrastructure player, who we recently featured as our cover profile in CBR. Here’s the main news in digestible form.
The biggest surprise was a new business process management tool called ActiveMatrix BPM, which is actually part of a broader environment for designing, deploying and managing event-driven, business process management enterprise applications and processes. The reason for the surprise is that Tibco had been suggesting until now that it did considerable work on the Staffware workflow and BPM technology it bought back in 2004.
While observers had been saying for some time that that technology must be looking a little long in the tooth now – this author included – the company had appeared to be sticking to the line that it had been able to bring it into the 21st century. Not any more.
“ActiveMatrix BPM is a new BPM built from the ground up,” Ram Menon, Tibco’s EVP worldwide marketing told CBR from TUCON earlier this week. “It gives you a single design environment whether creating business processes or deploying them on the single run-time engine.”
Tibco CEO and chairman Vivek Ranadive.
Menon insisted that the company has no plans to drop support for the older Staffware technology, known latterly as Tibco BPM. “We will continue to support and invest in that,” he said.
Why the new BPM? “The merging of BPM and SOA means we need to involve machines and people in the process,” Menon said. “Integration is required, not Band-Aids. We need to build a single environment for machine inputs and human inputs, and that’s what we have done. Plus the ability to put it into run-time with a single click.”
But while the BPM was perhaps the biggest surprise, the most compelling announcement for users is likely to be that single design environment, which promises to save developers time and reduce training in multiple skill sets. The design environment (Business Studio) is paired with a browser-based operator interface (ActiveMatrix Administrator) for all work done across the range of the firm’s most important infrastructure products: ActiveMatrix BPM, ActiveMatrix Service Bus and ActiveMatrix Service Grid. What’s more, the design environment is based on the popular Eclipse toolset.
Other key news that Menon pointed to included Business Events 4.0, with enhanced scalability and the ability now to manage thousands of business rules on the fly.
Menon also called out some new messaging technology which by his own admission will probably gain most traction in financial services, telco and government agencies: Tibco FTL (Faster Than Light) is claimed to be the first messaging technology capable of breaking the microsecond barrier.
“Tibco has been a long-time pioneer in the messaging software market through relentless innovation in latency, service level and throughput,” said Ranadivé. “With TIBCO FTL we are in position to leverage the latest hardware architectures to break the elusive microsecond barrier for the first time, offering customers a unique competitive advantage.”
The firm’s Menon said Tibco has had to work closely with Intel to optimise the messaging on the latest hardware in order to get latency as low as possible. Menon pointed to research by Intel that found that while five years ago 65% of trades required human intervention, now 85% of trades require no human intervention, and latency is the biggest bottle-neck to efficient throughput.
Meanwhile the firm’s SpotFire analytics technology got additional user-driven business intelligence capabilities, and a new PeopleForms technology was launched offering a quick and simple way of launching forms-based applications like surveys – there’s a free version too.
The firm announced a major expansion to its Silver cloud computing platform, thanks in part to the firm’s acquisition of Data Synapse. As well as plans to use Data Synapse to help companies run legacy applications in the cloud, the firm announced yet another BPM tool, this time cloud-based Silver BPM; and it also now includes in the platform Silver CAP (composite application platform).
Lastly the firm said that it will expand Silver to support other clouds – today it only supports the Amazon EC2 cloud.