IBM launches an appliance for the Internet of Things

The IBM Message Site appliance can ingest up to 13 million MQTT messages per second

Preparing its customers to join the emerging 'Internet of things', IBM has released a new appliance built to manage and route a voluminous amount of machine-to-machine small data messages

Using the MQTT (the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) format, the IBM Message Site appliance is capable of processing over 13 million messages per second, all of which could arrive from as many as 1 million end-nodes.

"It's a huge breakthrough in scale," said Mike Riegel, who is the IBM vice president of mobile and application integration middleware.

The IBM Message Site was one of a number of new products and updates that the company announced as part of its Impact conference, being held this week in Las Vegas.

IBM designed this appliance, which will be available for customers on May 24, to specifically work with what is being called The Internet of things.

The Internet of things is not a network, but a new buzzphrase describing the growing use of network-connected embedded microprocessors, often connected to sensors or other data-gathering instruments. Because microprocessors are now so inexpensive and networks are so pervasive, such embedded systems could provide a wealth of data that organizations in most industries could use to monitor and improve operations.

For instance, a new car today may have dozens of microprocessors that run millions of lines of code, Riegel said. The car maker could ingest all the data these embedded systems produce, supplying their customers and themselves with pertinent information about how well the vehicle is operating.

By 2020, there might be as many as 22 billion embedded systems and other portable devices connected to the Internet, according to IMS Research. Collectively, these systems may produce more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data every day, estimated the IT research company.

The Message Site appliance can collect, queue, filter and route data messages based on MQTT, which OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) has just recommended to be the protocol of choice for communicating with embedded systems. Because the appliance can read the messages, it can be programmed to route them to different locations, depending on the message's content. It can also convert the messages from MQTT to other formats.

Other announcements at IBM Impact addressed how organizations are increasingly relying on mobile computing devices. "If mobile is the primary way that people interact with computing devices [today], then there is a huge opportunity in how [organizations] work with employees and how they work with customers," Riegel said.

To this end, IBM has updated Worklight, an integrated developer environment (IDE) for building cross-platform mobile applications. IBM acquired Worklight from its purchase earlier this year of a privately held Israeli-based company of the same name.

The new version of the software, version 6, includes integration with IBM's Tealeaf, which can provide developers with information about how users are deploying the software. It also includes the ability for developers to incorporate geolocation features in their apps, as well as the ability to link their apps with the Apple Passbook mobile payment system.

IBM has also created an add-on for its WebSphere application server that will help users manage their application programming interfaces (APIs). API management has grown increasingly important to many organizations over the last few years because it provides an easy way for other parties to tap into external-facing systems. Earlier this month, Intel purchased Mashery and CA Technologies purchased Layer 7 technologies, both in order to strengthen their support of API management.

WebSphere software has also been updated to interoperate easily with Message Site.

IBM has also updated its Business Process Management (BPM) and Operational Decision Management (ODM) software packages to work with the software in the company's MobileFirst portfolio. It has also updated its hosted BPM service, called Blueworks.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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