Hardware's unique advantages highlighted in Solace V5.0

As a more or less happy iPhone 3G user, I will confess that I had the live event playing in my browser when Sir Jobs was unveiling the sexy new features coming in the iPhone4. It’s an exciting day when something that you’ve come to rely on gets a new set of capabilities, and I invested some time thinking about whether a HD Video, multi-tasking or video conferencing would be useful to me. For Solace customers, today is just like that launch day as we released V5.0 of our Solace message router firmware. The only difference between the two is our launch doesn’t have live blogs, video streams, fanboys or CNN coverage. But I bet our demo would have worked.

A bit of history will help to put V5 in context. In our V3 release, the majority of features were aimed at creating hardware versions of features previously available in software products. There is a core set of capabilities that you just must have to be in the game, and our innovation then was focused on making existing messaging features faster or easier to deploy and manage. In V4 about half of the features introduced were rounding out legacy messaging capabilities, and the other half was introducing new capabilities.

With version 5 the majority of our major new features are innovations that have not previously been available in any messaging platform. At this point, we’ve met or surpassed the important features equivalence of legacy software platforms and we’re taking advantage of what’s unique about hardware to give customers capabilities that haven’t been available in commercial messaging offerings.

There are literally dozens of little features in V5.0 but below is a summary of the major ones we’re highlighting:

  • Message eliding: this is essentially rate control for market data over slow or bandwidth constrained links. For example, if a market data instruments is changing 100 times per second and you only want to see 10 updates per second, only the most recent tick at each 10th of a second will be sent. Common use cases include streaming market data to human traders at a personalized rate or rate limiting traffic over a WAN. To date, applications above the messaging system have had to each provide this functionality, now it is available to any application that needs it with a simple configuration option in the router.
  • Solace router virtualization: this enables administrators to split one physical Solace deployment into as many as 500 virtual instances, each with separate security and operational characteristics. Virtualization is central to the Unified Messaging Platform since it allows multiple applications and groups to share equipment without compromising security or performance of each. Once the first applications are deployed, additional applications can be virtualized on the same equipment using a simple configuration change. This also allows messaging to be easily deployed as a secure, shared network service within a cloud or software-as-a-service environment.
  • Plug-and-play routing: for larger Solace deployments, we have made a number of efficiencies in how Solace routers learn about each other and synchronize the global network-of-Solace-routers state than in prior versions. This is unique to Solace’s message “router” concept, and part of our heritage, with key engineers and designers from the world of network equipment. While most software brokers are bespoke and have no knowledge of the world beyond the function they perform, Solace message routers have always been designed to be aware of their own role and the other message routers in the network.
  • WAN optimizations:  We have made a wide range of improvements to messaging behavior over WAN links to compress messages in hardware, and optimize latency over using multiple parallel network connections.

We’re very pleased to bring these advances to our customers and prospects. In truth, you all helped bring many of them to us with your excellent feedback, requirements and suggestions.

Oh, and one more thing… Unlike Apple who made you wait 2 weeks from announcement to availability and requires you to buy a new iPhone to get the cool new features, Solace V5.0 is available in GA now and is free to anyone with current maintenance.