In April 2009, Amazon Web Services told Information Age that its cloud computing offerings are ‘enterprise ready’. But according to integration infrastructure provider Tibco Software, enterprises are not yet ready for cloud computing.
And that, the company says, is why it has launched Tibco Silver, which it describes as ‘the industry’s first cloud application delivery platform’. What that means is a layer of software upon which developers can compose applications based on cloud computing services, and integrate those applications with legacy systems.
According to executive vice president Ram Menon, it addresses all the barriers to enterprise adoption of cloud computing. The first of these, he says, is application scalability.
“The problem is not so much whether cloud services can scale, but whether the applications themselves can scale with them,” Menon says. Silver addresses this problem, he says, through ‘self-aware elasticity’. This means that the system can automatically provision new cloud capacity, be it storage or compute resources, according to fluctuations in application usage and “without human intervention”.
This ‘self-aware elasticity’ is something that no other vendor has developed, Menon insists, although cloud management platform vendor RightScale might disagree. The other barrier is governance.
“When it comes to enterprise cloud, governance is the elephant in the room,” says Menon. Unlike services in a service-oriented architecture, cloud services are not aware of the service level agreements (SLAs) to which they are required to adhere.
Tibco Silver, the company says, applies that missing SLA management functionality to cloud services. Also, Silver allows the organisation to police what data the developer can use and make available through an application.
“When developers write new functionality, governance is embedded into everything they do,” says Menon.
Clearly, Tibco sees a lucrative opportunity in enterprise adoption of cloud computing. It has detected a strong appetite among its customers for cloud services, it says, and not just among traditional early adopters such as financial services organisations.
But the company does not appear to know quite how much of an opportunity there is. It has not decided how much Silver will cost, or how it will charge for it. The system is available for beta testing, and the company will come to a decision “once people start using this, and we get some reality-based feedback”, says Menon.
He hopes that Silver will be generally available in January 2010. More than its technical wizardry, it is the pricing that is most likely to determine success or failure for Tibco Silver. It is the low capital expenditure and scaling according to demand that is attracting enterprises to cloud computing.
If by making it more ‘enterprise ready’, it also introduces an enterprise price tag, Tibco may miss out.