According to the company, FTL achieves intra host communication in a blinding 384 nano-seconds and inter host processing in 3.1 microseconds, beating out test results published by competitors by 42%. In conversation with the company, TIBCO emphasises that FTL has been optimised for computerised stock trading where the need for speed can make the difference between profit or loss.
Success with FTL will still require the development of algorithms capable of responding to this level of speed. "Differentiation will come in the way programmers are able to take advantage of the speed and services FTL enables," said Rourke McNamara, TIBCO's head of product marketing. Asked whether we can anticipate seeing this kind of technology in the broader enterprise apps market, he said: "I think like past iterations of middleware, we'll see early take up in these very demanding markets and then over time they will become part of the general landscape. But we are some years away from that. It has been in beta test for some months but this is still a version 1.0."
In recent times, everyone from HP to SAP, Oracle, IBM and others have been talking up the 'need for speed,' offering different ways to look at the problem in a world where data is proliferating and where the need to act quickly to a given situation is becoming a competitive imperative.
TIBCO invented the banking middleware category but acknowledges the last few years have seen it lose its edge as competitors came in with faster solutions in a market that has become commoditised: "Buyers were prepared to sacrifice services that we bundled for raw speed. FTL puts us back in the lead not just with speed but packaged with many of the components that are needed to create high speed trading systems."
Asked whether the fallout from the banking crisis has limited FTL's potential, Rourke said: "There are plenty of hedge funds out there looking for new ways to trade and speed remains a priority. Some companies we speak with believe that a speed advantage can make hundreds of millions of dollars difference. That's certainly enough to justify the investment."