The business of running IT for major organizations has been moving in a maturity model direction for some time. ITIL, IT service management methods, various compliance measures, and the seemingly never-ending mantra for IT to do more with less are behind these necessary trends.
Yet SOA brings a new level of needed sophistication to how IT runs itself, and how IT can perform like a business within the business. As SOA decouples services from applications and their support infrastructure -- and the use of and demand on those services becomes dynamic, even erratic -- how do you keep the trains running on time? Just as IT service management matures, SOA can make things chaotic, from a performance management perspective.
A series of announcements Wednesday from TIBCO Software's (NASDAQ:TIBX) user conference, TUCON in San Francisco, underscores this need for SOA support and performance management to gain maturity, and for those scaling up SOA activities to now look for the means to provide mission-critical performance in all circumstances.
As enterprises also build out "private cloud" support infrastructure, a deeper and wider level of management and automation of performance management becomes essential. These times do require better management approaches.
Here are the basics:
--TIBCO rolled out ActiveMatrix Service Performance Manager, which helps companies predict and fix IT problems. The performance management support, which maps dependencies and supports SLA-based delivery, is designed to play well with SOA governance, an important part of taking SOA governance to the next level.
--TIBCO is delivering an "ultra-low latency" message delivery support with its first messaging appliance. Proper performance demands raw horsepower, in addition to the finesse of dependencies mapping and vulnerability predictions.
--There are also two intriguing partnership announcements. TIBCO has partnered with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) on SOA adoption paths, and TIBCO has selected Microsoft Silverlight for building and delivering rich Internet applications, which builds on TIBCO'S AJAX development.
The need to detect behaviors and patterns in ongoing SOA-based processes and transactions will provide the confidence and transparency large organizations require to build out SOA systems and methods across more business critical activities. Complex event processing offers a key ingredient for this SOA forensics value to occur.
TIBCO Software founder, chairman and CEO Vivek Ranadive used his keynote presentation at the opening of the conference to describe the need for an "event cloud" to support the demands on the next generation of enterprise infrastructure.
Such an elevated level of cloud management would allow for complex business events and activities to occur in "real-time" at the huge scale demanded of modern business processes. He said TIBCO's goal remains the same as it has been for years, to bring the right information to the right places at the right times. Only now is that vision nearing fruition, and the combination of SOA and cloud computing will make it happen, he said.
Ranadive also decried data trapped in databases, preferring a pending era of data portability. A global bank, for example, can expect to manage 100 million "events" a month, all of them relating to petabytes of data. Such scale and complexity will require software and hardware that can manage and adapt to keep up with demand and service performance management requirements. Relational databases won't pass muster, he said.
Ranadive's comments followed a slew of announcements that, when you boil them down, add up to cloud compute-caliber SOA infrastructure in the making.
After speaking with a number of TIBCO executives and customers a few things become clear:
- Portability of data is going to be a very big deal in coming years.
- High-performance, TIBCO-branded hardware appliances will help scale transactions, events processing and publish/subscribe messaging in increasing numbers.
- Look for tighter and more strategic alignment between TIBCO and Microsoft in the coming months.
TIBCO is embracing Microsoft Silverlight as the common presentation foundation for many of its BPM and SOA interfaces and management activity views and consoles. TIBCO is also making Microsoft's Windows Communications Foundation work well with TIBCO Enterprise Message Service, and more compatibility across additional products is likely.
The visions of cloud computing has especially strong appeal to TIBCO executives, and TIBCO play a significant role in the interactions between various cloud hosting and provider organizations. The Palo Alto, CA-based company is in discussions with notable cloud services providers, executives said. It is also possible that TIBCO could itself enter into the cloud market as an integration services provider.
The company also sees growing need for interoperability infrastructure to support the increasing use of enterprise mashups and lightweight data integrations.
Disclosure: TIBCO is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.