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    In today’s fast-paced and interconnected business landscape, enterprises need an efficient and reliable way to deliver real-time information between applications, devices and people across their organization and with their customers and partners.

    TIBCO was a pioneer in this space when they introduced their TiBCO Rendezvous (commonly called “RV”) messaging software in the 1990s, and many enterprises continue to use RV and more recently released products today. However, technology has evolved and business requirements become increasingly complex, many organizations using RV, SmartSockets and TIBCO EMS (Enterprise Message Service) find themselves saddled with technical debt and facing challenges that impede their ability to innovate and scale.

    TIBCO Rendezvous has its own challenges – it’s based on UDP Multicast which makes it irrelevant for most cloud deployments, and hasn’t been improved upon with new releases for many years. With this blog post I’ll focus on TIBCO EMS, but will cover Rendezvous later if there’s enough interest.

    These are some of the areas in which organizations have problems with TIBCO EMS:

    1. Performance and Failover Challenges
    2. Limitations in Cloud Adoption
    3. Lack of Standards Support
    4. Obsolescence and Innovation Gap / Technical Debt
    5. Interoperability and Integration Challenges

    By understanding these challenges, architects, developers, and decision-makers can gain insights into the obstacles they may confront when relying on TIBCO EMS and explore alternative solutions to overcome these limitations.

    Performance Constraints

    Organizations relying on TIBCO EMS often encounter significant performance and robustness challenges that impede their operations in the areas of burst handling, latency, failover processes, and high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) capabilities.

    TIBCO EMS is not well suited to use when we have a huge volume of data to transport.”
    Yash Amle, Senior Business Analyst, Jio (TrustRadius)

    TIBCO EMS typically operates with millisecond-level latency, which, in certain use cases, may not meet the requirements for near-instantaneous message delivery. In industries such as finance and for use cases like real-time analytics, where microseconds matter, TIBCO EMS’s performance may fall behind competitors that offer messaging solutions with microsecond-level latency.

    High Availability and Disaster Recovery

    TIBCO EMS has been reported to exhibit limitations and complexities in achieving efficient failover and maintaining business continuity during system outages.

    EMS can take hours to recover in case there is an outage.”
    IT Strategic Technical Advisor, FedEx Express (TrustRadius)

    One notable issue is the dependency on spool size for failover. TIBCO EMS relies on storing messages in a spool before delivering them to consumers. However, during failover scenarios, the size of the spool becomes a determining factor in the recovery time. With a large spool size, the failover process can take an extended period, ranging from minutes to hours, causing potential disruptions and delays in message delivery. This can introduce scalability limitations because as the spool grows, the failover time increases, prolonging the recovery process in case of system failures or outages.

    Moreover, TIBCO EMS’s reliance on a shared file system for HA deployments presents challenges for architecting robust failover solutions. In HA configurations, this becomes a single point of failure. As a result, organizations face the dilemma of either accepting the risk of a single point of failure or incurring additional costs to make the system fault-tolerant, further complicating the failover architecture and making it more difficult to scale with larger workloads.

    For high availability, EMS needs a specific shared store that meets TIBCO’s quality requirements.”
    Joshua Moesa, Integration Consultant, PostNL (TrustRadius )

    TIBCO EMS’s DR strategy often involves the use of Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF) replication, which requires additional layers of complexity. Implementing SRDF replication to ensure data consistency and integrity adds risks and potential errors to the solution. This reliance on remote storage replication can pose challenges in terms of configuration, management, and the overall reliability of the DR setup.

    EMS can be a bottleneck and must be recovered quickly if we don’t want to lose messages (i.e. subscriber down on a queue).”
    Hugo Romani Cortes, Middleware Architect, Amadeus IT Group (TrustRadius)

    Cloud Friendliness

    Cloud adoption can be challenging with TIBCO EMS due to several factors that limit its compatibility and alignment with cloud-native architectures and deployment models, including:

    • Lack of Native Cloud Integration: TIBCO EMS was primarily designed and optimized for on-premises deployments, lacking native integration with cloud platforms and services.
    • Fragmented Cloud Strategy: TIBCO EMS may lack a comprehensive and unified cloud strategy due to inconsistent support across different cloud environments, complexities in managing hybrid-cloud architectures, and challenges in maintaining consistent messaging capabilities across various cloud platforms.
    • Challenges in Hybrid-Cloud Deployments: TIBCO EMS lacks native support for hybrid cloud architectures, making it challenging to establish seamless communication and data exchange between on-premises and cloud environments.
    • Limited Support for Cloud-Native Messaging Protocols: Cloud-native architectures often rely on lightweight messaging protocols like REST, MQTT, and WebSocket to enable efficient and scalable communication between microservices and cloud-based applications.

    Should be more cloud-friendly. It runs as cloud-unfriendly appliances or requires specialized storage.”
    Engineer in IT at an Investment Management Company (TrustRadius)

    To overcome the difficulties of cloud adoption with TIBCO EMS, organizations often explore alternative messaging platforms that offer native cloud integration, comprehensive support for cloud-native protocols, and robust management capabilities tailored for the cloud. By embracing messaging solutions specifically designed for cloud environments, organizations can seamlessly transition to the cloud, leverage its scalability and flexibility, and overcome the challenges posed by TIBCO EMS’s limited cloud compatibility.

    Standards Support

    Scalability often involves integrating different systems, applications, and components across diverse environments. The ability to communicate seamlessly using industry-standard protocols is crucial for achieving scalable messaging. TIBCO EMS’s weak support for these protocols can hinder the scalability of the messaging system in several ways.

    REST, MQTT, and WebSocket are essential protocols for modern web, mobile, and IoT applications. Weak support for these protocols in TIBCO EMS can hinder seamless integration and communication with these application types, which often rely on lightweight, real-time messaging for scalability. RESTful APIs, MQTT-based messaging, and WebSocket connections offer flexible and efficient ways to exchange data and enable scalable communication patterns. Without strong support for these protocols, organizations may face challenges when scaling their messaging infrastructure to accommodate modern applications.

    TIBCO EMS supports only TCP connectivity. It would be great if EMS supported other protocols such as MQTT.”
    Hugo Romani Cortes, Atos – Middleware Architect, Amadeus IT Group

    The limitations in protocol support not only impact the messaging capabilities but also introduce hurdles when expanding the messaging system to handle growing workloads and increased communication demands.

    To address these challenges and enhance scalability, organizations may need to explore alternative messaging platforms that provide robust support for industry-standard protocols. By adopting a messaging solution with comprehensive protocol support, organizations can ensure seamless integration, efficient communication, and improved scalability as they expand their messaging infrastructure to meet evolving business needs.

    Obsolescence and Innovation Gap

    When a messaging system lacks ongoing development and fails to keep up with evolving industry standards and best practices, it becomes more prone to technical debt. As technology advances and new requirements emerge, organizations relying on TIBCO EMS may find themselves limited in their capabilities and struggling to meet the demands of modern applications and architectures.

    The absence of further feature enhancements is leading to a growing gap between the capabilities of TIBCO EMS and the requirements of businesses. As a result, organizations may face challenges in integrating with newer technologies, leveraging industry-standard protocols, or adopting modern cloud strategies. This is creating a burden of technical debt, as the outdated messaging infrastructure becomes a hindrance rather than an enabler for digital transformation and innovation.

    Addressing the obsolescence and innovation gap is crucial to reduce technical debt and pave the way for a more future-ready messaging solution. Exploring alternative options that offer ongoing development, innovation, and support can help organizations escape the trap of technical debt and embrace a messaging infrastructure that aligns with their present and future needs.

    Interoperability and Integration

    The complexity of scaling TIBCO EMS is further compounded by its lack of deep integration with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) platforms and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. TIBCO EMS primarily supports the Jakarta Message Service (JMS) standard, which restricts interoperability with emerging cloud-native technologies and limits the seamless integration of legacy and new applications in hybrid-cloud architectures. This lack of integration adds to the challenges organizations face when attempting to scale their messaging infrastructure in a modern, cloud-centric environment.

    Meeting the Needs of the Future

    When evaluating messaging vendors to address the challenges of robustness, scalability, and performance, organizations should prioritize the following key criteria to meet their needs today, with considerations for the future:

    • Comprehensive Support for Modern Technologies: Look for a vendor that can meet the evolving needs of big data, cloud computing, IoT, and microservices. Ensure the messaging solution seamlessly integrates with these technologies to facilitate efficient and reliable data exchange in complex environments.
    • Robust High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR): Seek a vendor that offers fast and automatic HA and DR capabilities with no message loss. This ensures business continuity and data integrity, even in the event of failures or disruptions.
    • Hybrid-Cloud Enablement: Choose a vendor that supports hybrid cloud architectures, allowing the messaging solution to run seamlessly across various cloud platforms and on-premises environments. This flexibility enables organizations to leverage the advantages of both worlds while maintaining consistent messaging capabilities.
    • Commitment to Open APIs and Standard Protocols: Ensure the vendor demonstrates a strategic commitment to open APIs and standard protocols like AMQP 1.0, MQTT, and REST. This commitment promotes interoperability, avoids vendor lock-in, and enables seamless integration with a wide range of systems and applications.
    • Superior Performance and Scalability: Look for a messaging solution that offers better fan-out performance and high message volume capability (throughput). This ensures efficient distribution of messages across the infrastructure, supporting real-time data exchange and scaling to meet growing demands.
    • Cloud-Friendly Approach: Choose a vendor that embraces a cloud-friendly mindset, providing native integration with popular cloud platforms and services. This enables organizations to leverage the scalability, elasticity, and management advantages offered by the cloud environment.

    By considering these factors, organizations can identify a messaging vendor that aligns with their needs for robustness, scalability, and performance, empowering them to overcome the limitations and challenges posed by legacy solutions like TIBCO EMS.

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