Tibco pushes new cloud application delivery system

Silver platform, aimed at large enterprises wanting to deploy cloud-computing apps, combines development tools, 'self-aware' auto-scaling, and a governance framework

Tibco on Wednesday is set to unveil Silver, a platform aimed at large enterprises that want to develop and deploy applications in cloud-computing environments, but still harbor uncertainties about that model.

Large enterprises are intrigued by the cloud model, but have been slow to embrace it because they desire factors such as a strong underlying governance framework and the ability to set SLAs (service level agreements), said Ram Menon, executive vice president, worldwide marketing.

[ Keep up with all the latest cloud news with whurley's Cloud Computing blog and InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]

Silver is an attempt to provide those capabilities in a single package. It continues Tibco's emphasis on composite applications, which are strung together from multiple components or "services" that may be written in multiple languages and running on a variety of computer systems.

Silver includes a toolset for combining and orchestrating services, an ESB (enterprise service bus) that allows services to communicate with each other, and a governance framework for setting security policies around services.

A system that employs Tibco's CEP (complex event processing) software scales application resources up and down in response to demand, thereby helping handle SLA requirements.

To start, Silver will have support for Java, C++, Ruby, .Net, and Spring.

Those choices "are indicative of what they are trying to accomplish," said Forrester Research analyst John Rymer. "They want the enterprise crowd."

Many Forrester clients are looking to the cloud but want to build traditional transactional applications, versus Web applications, Rymer said. The Silver platform seems "pretty comprehensive" to that end, he added.

Tibco Silver will be available in beta form beginning June 30. The company plans to take its time fine tuning the product -- perhaps six months -- before a general release.

"We want really good feedback because this is an emerging market," Menon said.

Silver will initially be available on Amazon Web Services, but Tibco will look to add other cloud computing infrastructure providers later, Menon said.

The company is also still determining how to price Silver. It will look at all options, including the pay-as-you-go model employed by Amazon and other infrastructure providers, as it works through the beta and talks to customers, Menon said.

The company has some thinking to do given that trend, as well as the fact that it has traditionally sold software with a direct sales force that goes after multi-year deals, according to Rymer.

Tibco may end up offering a pay-as-you-go approach "to get customers moving," but in the end "they have to come up with some sort of model that makes sense for their channel," Rymer said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.