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Reactivity Breaks XML Message Barrier

Reactivity said it has created new software that improves the way large chunks of XML-based messages are processed on computer networks.

Using a new technological conjuring it calls multi-mode message processing, the software breaks a large XML message barrier, allowing unlimited operations on XML messages of any size. The technology does not impinge security or system efficiency.

The upgrade, which will come in the company's XML firewall gateway appliances going forward, is designed to drive XML-based Web services throughout computer systems.

This is a key value proposition at a time when C-level executives are asking their IT developers to craft service-oriented architectures (SOAs) that improve computing efficiency. Optimizing hardware and software for Web services delivery has been a challenge Reactivity and rivals DataPower, Forum Systems and Layer 7 have been racing to tackle.

Reactivity Vice President Joelle Kaufman said the software draws on the company's architecture that combines memory, standard and custom ASICs and RAID disk.

Multi-mode technology makes it possible for multiple processing mechanisms, including those from disks, networks and in-memory message processing to co-exist.

"The problem is, messages that get large or sent over different protocols often can't be streamed into memory, so you need another mechanism," Kaufman said.

Accordingly, the new multi-mode software has such perks as store-and-forward processing of XML messages, creating more possibilities for SOAP messages with large attachments and batch XML. Users can spool the entire message from the disk and process it according to policies that need to be enforce.

When it is enforced, it can be sent on to its next point, providing security and interoperability of a message of any size. Store and forward is suited for XML messages as large as two to four gigabits, and messages with large attachments such as maps, images and reports.

Reactivity rivals are also trying to optimize XML message transfer across networks. In March, DataPower announced full streaming XML processing in its DataPower XA35 XML Accelerator.

Streaming processing allows an XML engine to begin producing output before the entire input has been parsed and requires only a constant amount of memory, regardless of XML document size. Previously, streaming processing was only possible using custom programming or special languages.

ZapThink analyst Ronald Schmelzer said it is good to see performance challenges around the use of XML-based Web Services getting addressed, with companies like Reactivity realizing that XML is just one piece of the overall content and application-oriented networking problem.

"What makes Reactivity's solution remarkable is that they realize that companies need the flexibility to deal with (highly inefficient) XML traffic in a number of different ways and with different optimization, down to the individual message level," Schmelzer said.

"This is an area that (so far) companies like Cisco have yet to even offer product. As such, Reactivity is really filling a needed market need."