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2/7/2008
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Tibco Upgrades ActiveMatrix Middleware

The 2.0 version of ActiveMatrix includes Service Bus, a standalone version of an enterprise service bus that can be invoked to stitch together hundreds of new services.

Tibco Software is seeking to iron out some of the difficulties of pulling together parts of packaged applications, Java, and Microsoft .Net code into a new service for a service-oriented architecture approach inside an enterprise. As a result, it's issuing version 2.0 of its ActiveMatrix, a middleware platform for assembling and managing heterogeneous services.

Fifteen months after the first version, the 2.0 version of ActiveMatrix includes Service Bus, which sits atop the existing messaging systems and routs data and content by the context from which they originate. Tibco already offers a full-fledged enterprise service bus as part of other elements of its product line; Service Bus is a standalone version that can be invoked to stitch together "and ramp up hundreds of new services," said Rob Meyer, senior product marketing manager.

In version 2.0, ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks is available in two modes. It remains available as a container that can provide communications, security, and integration to both Java and Microsoft .Net components being used to build a service. It also can act as a standalone container outside the ActiveMatrix Infrastructure. The infrastructure applies service life-cycle management and policies to services, regardless of what technologies went into building them. By making BusinessWorks available as its own container, more specific, streamlined services can be built with less surrounding infrastructure, Meyer said in an interview.

Version 2.0 has expanded its support of Service Component Architecture, an evolving set of specifications for constructing and deploying standards-based services. SCA specs are drafted by an informal industry group, the Open SOA collaboration, which includes IBM, Sun, Oracle, Red Hat, Sybase, and Tibco. SCA allows a single set of management and deployment tools to be applied to Java and .Net components.

Version 2.0 also includes Integrated Service View, which gives service administrators "a Web-based management console" from which to view service performance" and the other software on which a service depends, Meyer said.

The ActiveMatrix offerings are intended to allow integration and management of service components in middleware. The ActiveMatrix Infrastructure, noted Meyer, lets IT administrators "have two versions of the same service," as the business need evolves beyond the original service, he said.

Rules can be constructed to govern use of services "and by turning rules into policies, we can make services more useful," he said.

ActiveMatrix 2.0 is generally available Monday and will be offered in three bundles: Starter Bundle, which includes Service Bus and Policy Manager, for small projects; Integration Bundle, which includes Tibco adapters for third-party applications, for integration projects; and Composite Application Bundle, which includes BusinessWorks and Service Grid, for delivering new composite applications.

Meyer said no pricing on the bundles would be made available; when ActiveMatrix was announced in December 2006, InformationWeek reported it would be priced at $40,000 per CPU.

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