Software company Tibco has broken into the hardware market for the first time. The company has launched a dedicated appliance for users of its Rendezvous messaging software, widely used by financial traders, in an attempt to beef up performance.

"We'd gone as far as we could with software," said Rourke McNamara, head of product marketing for Tibco. "Users were pushing messaging to their limits and the only we could improve that was by launching an appliance.

Messaging volumes in enterprise IT today routinely reach 1 million events per second, supporting tens to hundreds of services with this volume This volume is expected to climb to as many as 10 million-plus messages relatively quickly.

The Tibco messaging appliance is set to tackle that rising demand. The device will be built by Solace Systems although, McNamara said, all the intellectual property belongs to Tibco and the company could build the appliance with another manufacturer.

McNamara said that messaging to date and used general purpose computers which worked on the lowest common denominator principle. "They're general purpose: they're used for looking at pictures in Photoshop, for email and for messaging - they are not designed for optimising applications. We wanted an appliance that would increase performance significantly."

And, according to McNamara, Tibco has achieved that. "Our appliance is a degree of magnitude ahead of the competition. We're offering ten times the throughput of our software, ten times the predictability, the jitter and half the latency."

He said that key to the improvements was the way that the device had been designed.

"It now looks more like a router or switch with a Linux-based management half and the back-half, which does the processing, hardware only - with no need for an operating system." He said that there was a mix of silicon with the appliance using ASIC and FPGA processors - the latter was important, he said, "as it would allow customers to upgrade without returning appliance."

Tibco started a beta programme last summer and McNamara said that one of the beta triallists already had one installed. He added that he expected that most users would lease the products, although he was reluctant to discuss pricing on the appliance.