This is part 10 in a 10 part series: 10 reasons for the growth in middleware appliances. The series summarizes what we’ve learned from our clients about what they value in appliances and why they selected Solace.

A lot has changed since the most common software messaging protocols gained their foothold 20 years ago, and there’s only so much incremental improvement you can squeeze out of a given approach. We founded Solace to revolutionize the messaging middleware space using the same strategy Cisco used to reshape network routing – accelerating performance with hardware and making notoriously difficult operations “appliance” easy. Our goal was to wake up this formerly sleepy market segment and remove the barriers that have kept messaging from achieving its potential – to be the cornerstone of globally distributed application computing. It’s a lofty goal that has required shaking up the status quo.

Along the way, we’ve introduced an impressive list of innovations, and that’s what’s behind the 10th reason that companies choose Solace and appliances. A lot of career enterprise architects had become accustomed to a glacial pace of innovation among messaging products and in the last several years, all that has changed. Starting with low-latency trading, we’ve worked tirelessly to push the spirit of innovation across the gamut of global enterprise requirements to arrive at today where we can offer a far more complete, sophisticated messaging platform than has ever existed.

Here’s a summary of some of the many innovations we’ve introduced across the various kinds of messaging middleware:

The Innovation The Impact
Hardware Messaging We invented hardware-based messaging. We designed our product like a network router: with a hardware data plane so there’s no operating system to get in the way, and a separate control plane for configuration, monitoring and management. As a turnkey appliance we deliver unparalleled operational simplicity, and the horsepower of hardware lets us raise the bar on performance, all while reducing datacenter footprint and save enterprises money. (Faster, easier, cheaper…pick all three!)
Unified Messaging We were the first to unify the different kinds of messaging with a common API. Enterprises have always had to run separate platforms for low latency, IPC, guaranteed, WAN and web streaming. Consolidating all that into one platform reduces costs and complexity in a number of ways.
Very High Scale, High Speed Guaranteed Messaging Our patented approach to guaranteed messaging offers 10-30 times higher throughput than software such as MQ and JMS, with latency in the tens of microseconds. Today companies sacrifice guaranteed delivery in situations where conventional solutions haven’t met performance needs. We let them guarantee delivery in all kinds of use cases, and our compact solution can reduce TCO by as much as 60-90%.
World’s Fastest Web Messaging We recently extended our platform with support for web streaming and rich internet application (RIA) protocols, extending application reach to browser-based applications, tablets, and mobile devices. With performance that’s 50-200 times faster than competitive solutions, we’ve opened up a range of applications and use cases including financial dashboards, gaming, logistics, news and sports updates, auctions and location-based services.
TCP-based filtered market data distribution Solace hardware made TCP fanout of market data distribution as fast as multicast without the headaches. Solace performs market data filtering in hardware delivering each subscribing application just the data it needs. TCP unicast means no more multicast issues, and no client side filtering means more CPU is available for your applications.
Virtualization Solace appliances can be segmented into hundreds of secure virtual messaging environments. This is true for a single appliance, or an entire network of Solace message routers. Allowing lots of applications/clients to share equipment (think VPNs) is a key step towards utility-style computing. This is huge for enterprises that want to segregate application traffic and cloud service providers looking to offer request/reply and pub/sub to many clients.
Real-time content routing and transformation One of Solace’s delivery modes uses content-based routing as an integrated part of message delivery. Publishers send documents without pre-specifying a subject/topic, subscribers indicate what they want with flexible XPATH-based rules, and we apply those rules to message flow to route matches appropriately. We can even transform messages on a per-client basis so each application gets messages in exactly the format they need. Our approach enables simpler architecture and eliminates the need to map out big name spaces for messages to stop at the message broker en route, making content routing and transformation a service of the messaging bus.
Geospatial routing As an extension to the content routing described above, Solace also offers hardware to route information based on the precise location of events and subscribers. Ours is the first messaging solution that can route based on points, proximities, and complex polygons. Location awareness has largely been resigned to after-the-fact polling of data warehouses. We’ve enabled the event-driven routing of alerts and sensor readings based on location, a capability that has huge ramifications wherever people and systems need to stay on top of developing situations.
Eliding (aka flow control) Eliding lets clients control the flow of information they receive if they don’t want or can’t handle the fire hose of data some feeds represent. For example, human traders and systems connecting over WAN links. Eliding enables faster applications, less data backlog, better real time behavior for applications and reduced WAN bandwidth consumption.
Multi-node routing Like IP routers, our appliances propagate information about the messaging network topology and subscriptions so applications can connect to any message router and their subscriptions will be automatically propagated to all other nodes. Easier manageability, lower cost of operations, and seamless global information sharing. And when it is time to scale the network, you can add a new router, tell it about its nearest neighbors and the system will take care of the rest.
WAN optimization Solace appliances can switch gears over WANs to compress and optimized behavior resulting in 20-50 times more throughput than other solutions without increasing bandwidth. Letting companies synchronize applications and information in real-time (instead of via periodic batch updates) can dramatically improve decision making and customer satisfaction.
Management and monitoring Software-based middleware gathers operational statistics in the same code path as data flow. That means the more tracking you want, the more performance suffers. By separating the data plane from the control plane Solace offers rich operational visibility without impacting performance. Full operational visibility with no performance tradeoff helps you optimize performance, improve uptime, and reduce operating expenses.

Wrapping up our List

We didn’t enter this business to win a few customers and make a few waves, we’re playing for keeps. We believe we have the opportunity to reinvent how application infrastructure is deployed and will continue to push the envelope on making distributed applications faster, cheaper and easier. We’re making messaging functionality an on-demand, shareable layer in the network the same way IP networks and web load balancers are today.

Thanks for hanging in all the way to the 10th reason that customer are choosing appliances and Solace. This series has generated the highest volume of traffic of anything we’ve done on this blog. Thanks to all of you for your interest in this topic.

Larry Neumann

From 2005 to 2017, Mr. Neumann was responsible for all aspects of strategic, corporate, product and vertical marketing. Before Solace, he held executive marketing positions with TIBCO and Oracle, and co-founded an internet software company called inCommon which was acquired by TIBCO. During his tenure at TIBCO, Mr. Neumann played a key role in planning company strategic direction relating to target markets and candidate acquisitions.