Tibco is the latest enterprise software company to enter the market for server appliances as it bids to beat the squeeze on low-latency messaging, the core technology behind the ability to handle event-driven environments and, hence, make rapid moves in financial services, telecoms and other fast-moving fields.

The middleware giant said that by applying its messaging know-how to hardware, it would be able to avoid the various hops required by deploying software on general-purpose servers. The firm is keen to distance itself from software firms that merely pre-load their programs on low-cost servers, noting that its Messaging Appliance P-7500 uses ASIC and FPGA silicon technologies that support a dedicated approach to applying its Rendezvous messaging software code.

"We've not taken software and put it on a Dell, putting glue on the screws and maybe optimising the operating system," said Rourke McNamara, Tibco product marketing director. "It's more like a Cisco router than a Dell or HP computer." He added that software "had reached its limit" and only through hardware could lower latency be achieved.

As Tibco depicts, the performance improvements involved in moving to hardware are persuasive, with a 10-times increase in messaging volume and predictabiility and half the base latency promised, compared to a standard server running software. The firm also said that firms today are measuring latency in microseconds, one millionth of a second, rather than milliseconds, one thousandth of a second. The move also offers a new approach to licensing terms that will see Tibco lease the hardware systems with maintenance factored in, helping to reduce the capital expenditure burden on IT buyers.

McNamara added that the appliance model could also be invoked for other software lines in Tibco's portfolio, which includes integration, process management and business intelligence.He added that the firm will also look at applying a similar model of leasing to software.

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