March 29, 2011 – TIBCO Software said Monday that it has come up with middleware that reduces the time that it takes to send a message from a sender to receiver on the same computing server by 40 percent.

The Palo Alto provider of infrastructure software said its new FTL product can send messages within a server to a destination in 384 billionths of a second.

The FTL middleware can move a message between servers in 3.1 millionths of a second, TIBCO said.

FTL stands for Faster Than Light. But the firm acknowledged that is marketing hyperbole, to a degree.

"So the technology is not faster than light. That is a bit of an aspirational goal,'' said Rourke McNamara, senior director of product marketing of TIBCO. "But TIBCO has been in the messaging space for more than 20 years now and this is a completely new technology built from the ground up for the absolute lowest latency, the absolute fastest speed."

The product is designed to work with constantly evolving generations of Intel multicore processors. Currently, a single standardized server can have as many as 64 processors; next year, McNamara said that could reach 256 processors.

The middleware also is designed to take advantage of high-speed networking technologies such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Infiniband.

The target for the middleware is hedge funds and trading firms that rely on the fast execution of algorithms to carry out strategies and exchanges which try to offer the fastest matching of orders. Capital markets divisions of investment banks and financial services regulators trying to monitor markets in real time also are likely customers, he said.

According to one industry estimate cited by TIBCO, a millionth of a second's gain in peed in trading can be worth $100 million a year to a major brokerage firm.

Key features of the FTL middleware include:

  • Content-based addressing which enables applications to receive only relevant information from a stream of millions of messages
  • Support for Self Describing Data that frees application developers from the burden of parsing binary data streams and managing metadata within an individual application
  • Flexibility to leverage advancements in underlying networking and platform technologies without having to rewrite application code
  • Out-of-band metadata management
  • Integration with TIBCO's existing messaging system, Rendezvous

For the record, the speed of light is fixed at 983,571,056.4 feet per second. Or 1 foot per nanosecond.
This story originally appeared on Securities Technology Monitor.


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