TIBCO Silver: RAD and governance for enterprise clouds

TIBCO is announcing a beta release of Silver, its RAD environment for global 2000 companies that are developing for cloud computing environments. The beta is expected to be released at the end of the month.
Written by Dennis Howlett, Contributor

TIBCO is announcing a beta release of Silver, its RAD environment for global 2000 companies that are developing for cloud computing environments. The beta is expected to be released at the end of the month.

Representatives from TIBCO discussed the merits of the company's approach to this style of computing with Vinnie Mirchandani, Phil Wainewright and myself. Ram Menon, TIBCO's EVP worldwide marketing said the company aims to provide elasticity of infrastructure and of the applications themselves in such a way that Silver will offer the ability to manage response times in both operational 'shrink and scale' situations. "It is this ability to both dynamically shrink and scale as demand dictates that we think is a key element."

In line with TIBCO's heritage, there is an element of 'middleware for the cloud.' Menon was keen to emphasize that Silver is designed to fit into the notion of agility within the context of applications that at present may not be governed but which may allow IT departments to become less cost centric and more like business centers: "We're definitely seeing a change in attitude among large organizations but the question is how do we change IT as a cost center. I think we'll see more of internal people being asked to use apps on a pay as you go model."

During the conversation, we learned that in the first iteration, TIBCO is partnering with Amazon for external facing applications but is expecting companies to develop along hybrid lines that include internal clouds. It is therefore partnering with CSC and HCL though our expectation is that these latter partnerships will be more about professional service delivery than cloud deployment. VInnie has already given a hint of what he thinks might happen with CSC but we'll have to wait and see whether customers are able to balance the 'inside-outside' environment in such a way that they achieve the value TIBCO is suggesting. TIBCO plans to partner with other cloud providers over time.

Silver will include container support for Java, C++, and Ruby with support for .NET and Spring. This palette of options combined with service orchestration (but no BPM) will allow developers to build composite applications that can then be deployed with a single click. Matching SLA requirements will be handled through dynamic resource deployment.

This is an interesting departure for TIBCO that takes its governance cues from its past and builds upon its currently fashionable Eclipse base. The company has many customers in the telco arena along with a good slice of the Global 2000. Telcos are customers who could both benefit yet find their lucrative franchises under threat from the Amazons of this world. It will be interesting to see how they react to this offering.

Here goes my bit of fantasizing. In the packaged apps world, Silver also plays against the likes of SAP that currently sees the future through the eyes of its enhancement packs. As always that's only a part of the story. At a recent SAP InsideTrack session held at SAP's Palo Alto offices, mention was made of governance needs in cloud computing. Silver offers scope for a conversation between the two companies because while SAP is serious about the cloud, it doesn't have the governance capabilities TIBCO is suggesting.

Whether TIBCO and SAP will feel they can come to an accommodation remains to be seen. There is some history. Assuming Silver delivers, then it would allow SAP the opportunity to make a comprehensible, controllable cloud play that customers can implement without fear of dropping all sorts of policy balls. At the same time developers get the prospect of accelerating time to delivery. A win-win you might think.

SAP's tendency to operate a 'not invented here' development strategy may militate against such thoughts but Silver gives them a quick perceptual win, something the company sorely needs in my opinion. ABAP support TIBCO?

Finally, pricing has not been announced though TIBCO is understood to be considering a number of alternative licensing models.

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