In a blog post this week, Lori MacVittie talks about, among other things, the reluctance of different groups towards sharing infrastructure. From her post:

Some pieces of infrastructure – particularly those that are part of the network – are so critical (and so very underappreciated) – that they simply cannot be exposed to the kind of risk that comes from “sharing” resources in any model.

I can’t say her never ever kind of experience matches with what we have seen with hardware middleware. When it comes to sharing, our customers fall into two main camps:

  • Those that re-buy gear for each major business unit because of concerns over traffic from one interfering with another. This is how they have always deployed software, and they’re not ready to do it differently in hardware. It has more to do with CYA than technology, which is consistent with Lori’s point.
  • Those that are blending market data for many asset classes (across departments), and/or a combination of market data, order routing and risk management in the same infrastructure. Generally the motivation is reducing costs, but it can also reduce risks when the shared environment is both faster and more stable than the standalone software it replaces.

When people start to think of hardware middleware infrastructure as similar to their IP network infrastructure (which they almost always share across divisions and applications), many of the walls put up during the software era come down pretty quickly. The biggest reason people hesitate to share is, as Lori points out, fear of figuring out what happened when there is a problem or outage. The reality is that hardware infrastructure provides more visibility, not less, since stats tracking and logging are done in parallel without impacting performance. This level of visibility (which they are NOT getting in software) is key to establishing confidence that consolidating middleware does not increase risk.

I agree with Lori that many firms are not ready to hand over critical functions to the cloud where what is happening is truly smushy, but when the firm owns the specialized hardware, and can confidently manage traffic flow, sharing infrastructure is increasingly happening today.

Larry Neumann

Mr. Neumann is responsible for all aspects of strategic, corporate, product and vertical marketing. Before Solace, Mr. Neumann 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.