CPortals Technologies Aims for the Middle

  • Written By: M. Reed
  • Published: July 10 2000

CPortals Technologies Aims for the Middle
M. Reed - July 10, 2000

Event Summary

CPortals Technologies, a privately funded company based in Norwood, Massachusetts, has developed a product called InteBroker, which is designed to provide message brokering via publish/subscribe and store & forward/point to point messaging technologies. CPortals delivers a development toolkit for building publisher, subscriber, and database synchronization adapters using any ODBC or JDBC compliant database.

The InteBroker server has been benchmarked in one test at a throughput rate of 3,800 100-byte messages per second. They have based their technology on the assumptions that businesses, particularly in the e-commerce space, will have to re-invent themselves regularly, and that reducing complexity in the solution is a key to success.

One of their design principles is that inter-process communications should use a common, reliable asynchronous communications model, based on George White's (Vice President and CTO) experiences at the Boston Stock Exchange, where downtime in enterprise systems is unacceptable (and very expensive). He developed a database to maintain information on the "state of the infrastructure" to provide the business with details on the gestalt of the trading engine for the exchange. CPortals Technologies has also taken pains to make sure that their applications scale beyond the level currently expected in the client/server market.

The key, according to Mr. White, is the "publish every event" model. The recovery server application can be run on any node, and acts as a universal subscriber. Republication by another node in the event of a failure on the recovery server, will occur in the order received by the universal subscriber, and will return the data marts to the current state. The product is based on a Java Virtual Machine, and uses IP Multicast for dynamic discovery, so a second server can take over if the first one fails.

The major verticals that are currently being pursued by the company are finance and telecom.

Market Impact

The need for this type of middleware is becoming very obvious. The players who are first into the market will find great success with products of this type. The hard part is going to be developing a methodology that is truly "out of the box" and allows the customer quick time to market. CPortals seems to understand that fast turnaround and flexibility/agility in the software design will allow for a competitive edge and a distinctive competence. We believe that they are correct in this area, but their newness to the market and lack of brand recognition will require some extra effort.

User Recommendations

Companies in need of application integration technologies should include CPortals Technologies on a long list of vendors to be considered to provide a solution. The assumptions CPortals has made about the importance of data elements, the volatility of e-businesses, the lack of business rules documentation, and other factors, is a strong argument towards this type of product.

Reducing the complexity of distributed systems is a compelling message, but CPortals will have to deal with many much more established players, such as Informix/Ardent, Informatica, Business Objects, and others. Customers should insist on a contractual timeframe for delivery of a solution, and seek reference sites (preferably in their vertical market space), which have been successful with the product suite.

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