Abundant latency and reliance on origin-set destinations hinder today's communications systems, according to Mantara Software’s CTO Bill Segall at the launch of version 4.2 of the Elvin routing platform this week.
With a name change from Advanced Messaging Technologies to Mantara Software, it is a spin off of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Distributed Systems Technology (DSTC) which has developed an information routing platform that is “The fastest there is in terms of scalability and throughput,” Segall said.
“Our early research involved how to perform tasks over massively distributed systems,” Segall said. “We looked at existing communication methods but they rely on knowing where it should be sent. For example, e-mail is sent to specific users.
“With Elvin, the routing decision is made by the consumers,” he said. “Hence, devices can produce information without caring about where it is headed.”
A prototype of Elvin was released in 1997 and the first release appeared in 2000. Since then Elvin has found a niche for itself in US trading houses. The company assumed its new name only last month.
“Our immediate focus is in trading houses where there is a need for real-time market data from stock feeds to be sent to possibly 200 traders' desktops,” he said. “Elvin has performed 25,000 transactions per second delivered to some 250 traders out of a securities exchange. Message latency is also reduced from about 200ms to 7ms.”
Segall said Elvin is a "better way" of managing information and is applicable to any business which needs a total information awareness environment delivered “when things happen”.
“An interesting ‘blue sky’ for Elvin is RFID,” he said. “With barcodes being replaced by RFID tags, a massive amount of data will come from products and need to be processed. Elvin is well suited to this.”
Technically, Elvin is a pure software router that “lives” on top of the network layer and its rules can be updated dynamically. Elvin will run on Windows, Linux, and Unix.
“At the protocol layer Elvin has a concrete implementation and at the application layer a set of programming APIs,” Segall said. “To present the information an application is required and we do some application work. Applications can also dynamically update routing rules.”
Segall said Elvin’s security model is an interesting one of “don’t give me stuff I don’t want”.
“Elvin has access control mechanisms and can work with regular security protocols such as SSL,” he said.
Mantara’s marketing director, Mark White, said version 4.2 is the first complete Mantara release of Elvin which now includes more management capabilities and WindowsCE compatibility.
“Some of the enterprise applications of Elvin include gathering every piece of information from a network and analysing it, and getting Web search content in real-time,” White said. “And because Elvin doesn’t use nearly as much network bandwidth data can be analysed over a wireless LAN or GPRS.”