Tibco backing Microsoft Silverlight

Company pledges to use Microsoft's browser plug-in technology for rich Internet applications

Tibco Software is throwing its support behind Microsoft's new Silverlight browser plug-in technology for rich Internet applications and also is offering users of Microsoft Web services technology an alternative message platform.

The company made these announcements Wednesday at its TUCON (Tibco User Conference) in San Francisco. Also on the agenda is the addition of predictive service level agreement management for SOA, via the company's ActiveMatrix platform.

With Silverlight, Tibco is committing to utilize Silverlight in future development when the company wants to deliver an "extremely rich user experience" in the browser, said Rourke McNamara, director of product marketing for SOA. The technology could be used in applications such as a new version of the ActiveMatrix administration interface.

"We're officially announcing that we've selected this as a technology that we will use," McNamara said. "This is our strategic direction for rich Internet applications when it comes to our products."

While not contractually obligated to use Silverlight, Tibco plans to use it when AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is not sufficient for a planned Web-based user interface, said McNamara.

Tibco likes Silverlight over alternatives, such as Adobe's Flash platform, because developers can leverage existing skill sets like the ability to develop in C#, McNamara said. Silverlight also presents a lightweight environment, and Microsoft and Tibco have many joint customers, he said.

While committing to use Silverlight internally, McNamara stressed Tibco also integrates with technologies such as Java. Tibco's commitment to Silverlight came after an independent evaluation; Tibco did not negotiate with Microsoft over the arrangement, Tibco said. But Microsoft was supportive during the evaluation.

Tibco also will offer up its Tibco Enterprise Message Service platform as an alternative messaging channel for use with Microsoft's Windows Communication Foundation platform for Web services. It can be used in lieu of Microsoft Message Queing to provide greater scalability and accommodate extremely high traffic, said McNamara.

Also, Tibco is announcing the Service Performance Manager module providing predictive performance capabilities to the ActiveMatrix platform for SOA services.

"[The module] allows you to monitor and manage the performance of your SOA services. What sets our offering apart in the market is the fact that it predicts problems before they occur and automatically, without human intervention, takes action to prevent those problems," McNamara said.

Users can enter business-level service level agreement information for services, whereupon Service Performance Manager monitors the load and performance of these services and predicts service performance problems before they occur, said McNamara.

For example, a telecommunications company might have a spike in messages; the module would monitor performance, learn usage patterns over time, and automatically deploy new instances of a service on additional hardware during peak hours.

Service Performance Manager also can look at the payload of a service and take appropriate action based on the level of service a customer pays for, such as devoting more service to gold-level customers.

The new module is being added to ActiveMatrix 2.0 in late-May. It will cost US$25,000.

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