Coming Soon: Better Real-Time Information Delivery

Sybase Real-Time Services is based on the open Java Messaging Service standard, setting it apart from solutions that rely on proprietary adapters.

Regardless of whether or not IT organizations are lining up to embrace the real-time enterprise, software vendors are determined to bring it to them.

Last week, database giant Sybase Inc. announced a new partnership with enterprise application integration (EAI) specialist Tibco Software Inc. to develop a new real-time information delivery service, dubbed, appropriately enough, Sybase Real-Time Services.

Where BI and EAI intersect

In partnering with Tibco, Sybase is taking a page from business intelligence (BI) and extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) player Informatica Corp., which partnered with EAI stalwart WebMethods to jointly develop and market a real-time solution called the Business Activity Platform. (See

There’s good reason for this. The so-called Real Time Enterprise (RTE) describes an infrastructure in which disparate applications and data sources are connected to one another in real-time, or near-real-time, usually by means of an event broker or messaging bus. In this regard, then, the RTE comprises a logical intersection for the interests of EAI players such as WebMethods and Tibco, along with data warehousing mainstays such as Sybase and Informatica.

That’s what Tom Traubitz, Sybase senior group product marketing manager, thinks. “The historical solution to [connecting disparate systems] has been to create a replicated or otherwise snapshot copy of the database, and have your analysis programs—your trade analysis or fraud detection programs, for example—go against this copy of the database so that they don’t disturb this main enterprise’s online transaction system,” he explains.

Not surprisingly, Traubitz maintains, “there’s a better architecture to do that”—and Sybase and Tibco have developed it. “The architecture that we and Tibco have been working on is an architecture where an application registers with the database through a JMS [Java Messaging Service] message bus, and then the database notifies the application if something has changed that is interesting to that application.”

The upshot, Traubitz continues, is the advent of a fundamentally different application paradigm: “We’ve gone from a system where a database is constantly polled—is something changed? Is something changed? Is something changed?—to more of a push model where notifications or messages are pushed out to the application as they occur.”

A Fitting Partnership

Tibco is a good fit for Sybase, Traubitz says, because of its own real-time expertise—it acquired business activity monitoring (BAM) pure play Praja Inc.—along with its largely stand-alone Tibco Enterprise for JMS messaging bus. Tibco’s JMS messaging bus is licensed by a number of other ISVs—including datacenter automation specialist Opsware Inc.—to facilitate communications between and among heterogeneous applications.

Tibco’s JMS messaging bus facilitates integration between J2EE-compliant applications, Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) and application servers. Many integration brokers, from EAI specialists and others, rely on proprietary adapters into specific applications or data sources.

“[Tibco] definitely seemed to be a logical partner for us. Our clientele also gave us a clear indication that [Tibco] was one of their preferred providers of essentially the bus or the backbone of these kinds of systems,” Traubitz explains. “There was also a great attraction to us based on our own Sybase values of the openness of the Java Messaging System.”

Coming Soon to a Sybase Dealer Near You

Sybase Real-time Services will be available by Q4 2004. The company’s Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) forms the database core of the Real-time Services offering, which, like other RTE technologies, promises to deliver information in real-time when changes occur in the data itself.

Initially, Sybase doesn’t plan to release an SDK or other tools in support of Real-time Services. Instead, Traubitz says, the combination of ASE and Tibco’s JMS messaging bus defines an infrastructure to which developers or database managers can program messages and event notifications using Java and EJB. “The primary technology essentially replicates change events in the database as messages, so to leverage that immediately today there’s fairly little programming required,” he comments. “Certainly, I would not rule out in the future that there would be additional offerings along the lines of an SDK or other tools.”

Real-time Services can be purchased directly from Sybase.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.