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IBM and Real-Time

For applications requiring ultra predictability or ultra low latency

Customers with real-time requirements across industries have the need to implement solutions requiring ultra predictability or ultra low latency, and IBM can help fulfill these requirements with an extensive portfolio of software and hardware supporting Linux® today.

Whether your solution is a new financial trading application, an existing manufacturing plant, or a new telecommunications services platform, IBM offers software, hardware, and services tailored to address your specific real-time requirements with Linux as the underlying platform.

Webcast: Implementing Real Time Workloads with Linux and IBM

Many mission critical workloads require low latency and highly deterministic response times. In the past, this required custom built hardware, special software and specialized skills which made solutions expensive to create and to maintain. Listen to this replay (link resides outside ibm.com) to hear about the capabilities of Linux that are enhanced for real-time development, and the reduced cost solutions on Linux from IBM and IBM partners for your critical workloads.

A pdf of the slides that were presented is available here (PDF, 1.09MB).

IBM Technologies for Real Time

Real-time applications can be divided into two main categories:

  1. Applications that must increase predictability in order to meet specific deadlines
  2. Applications that must reduce latency in order to improve throughput.

Traditionally, implementing real-time applications has required the use of proprietary operating systems and hardware, along with specialized programming languages. These restrictions have prevented companies from using traditional operating systems and middleware that was not designed for real-time purposes since they introduce sporadic delays that result in the applications' failure to meet their timing requirements.

For customers with workloads that require predictable performance, IBM provides a suite of products designed exclusively to eliminate the common sources of time delays using open standards and architectures with WebSphere Real Time for real-time Linux on select IBM System x® hardware. Customers with workloads requiring lower latencies to improve throughput can use IBM's enterprise-grade middleware that includes WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging (WMQ LLM) and solidDB.

Ultra Predictable

Certain real-time applications must meet very strict deadlines and failure to meet such deadlines will result in overall system failure. Traditionally, ultra predictable applications were written in C, C++, or ADA, targeted on proprietary operating systems and hardware. With IBM, real-time applications that must meet strict deadlines can be implemented using mainstream programming languages such as C, C++, or Java™ and targeted for Linux on x86-based hardware.

Real Time Linux
The Linux kernel community has fully adopted the real-time extensions developed by IBM and others; real-time Linux is simply a variant of the standard Linux kernel. The advantage of using a community-accepted real-time variant is clear: for system administrations, a real-time Linux system will be managed like any other Linux system. Customers with applications that must meet strict deadlines can run either real-time enabled C/C++ applications directly on a real-time Linux operating system, or Java applications with WebSphere Real Time for Real Time Linux such as Novell SUSE® Linux Enterprise Real Time (link resides outside ibm.com) or Red Hat® Enterprise MRG. (link resides outside ibm.com) (link resides outside ibm.com)

Characteristics of Real Time Linux include:

IBM WebSphere Real Time.

WebSphere Real Time enables customers to build applications dependent on precise response times to take advantage of standard Java™ technology without sacrificing determinism. WebSphere Real Time contains a stand-alone Java Standard Edition V6-based Java Runtime Environment (JRE) with Software Development Kit (SDK).

WebSphere Real Time features:

Customers with strict real-time requirements can run WebSphere Real Time on either Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time (link resides outside ibm.com) (link resides outside ibm.com) or Red Hat Enterprise MRG (link resides outside ibm.com) and select System x BladeCenter servers. Customers who can trade some precision for improvements in latency can run WebSphere Real Time on an unmodified Red Hat® Enterprise Linux (link resides outside ibm.com) or Novell SUSE® Linux Enterprise (link resides outside ibm.com) instance on any System x or BladeCenter server.

IBM BladeCenter for Real Time
Because real-time environments are business-critical applications, you need a provider that you can count on. BladeCenter, which is built on IBM X-Architecture® - our blueprint for bringing innovation to x86 systems, results in open, industry-standard blade solutions on which clients feel confident running their business-critical workloads. With IBM BladeCenter you can choose the right solution - one tailored to fit your real time needs - so you can realize innovation in your business. Innovation that helps set you apart from the competition.

IBM offers select BladeCenter blade servers with support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux MRG (link resides outside ibm.com) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time (link resides outside ibm.com) including:

For your convenience, you can purchase SUSE Linux Enteprise Real Time (link resides outside ibm.com) with your IBM BladeCenter purchase.

Ultra Low Latency

Other real-time applications are about reduced latency in order to maximize throughput. However, no application today is complete without support for messaging and database middleware with low latency attributes. Again, real-time application developers seeking to lower latencies can exploit IBM middleware to fulfill their needs using Linux.

IBM WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging.
IBM WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging is a messaging transport that is highly optimized for the very high-volume, low-latency requirements of financial services firms. Applications include the high-speed delivery of market data, trade data, reference data and event data in or between front-, middle- and back-office operations. Characteristic applications require extremely low (sub-millisecond) latency and high message volumes (up to millions of messages per second).

IBM WebSphere DataPower Low Latency Appliance XM70.
The XM70 delivers a purpose-built message switch appliance for predictive, low latency messaging, and market data distribution for a broad range of messages in the front-, middle-, and back-offices of financial markets, and for other industries with similar low latency messaging and integration needs. It is specifically designed to address the challenges inherent in low latency and high-throughput messaging environments, such as unpredictable performance, scaling required to meet increasing message and feed volumes, and overall management and complexity of messaging environments.

IBM solidDB.
IBM solidDB is relational in-memory database software that delivers extreme speed, performing up to ten times faster than conventional databases. It uses the familiar SQL language to allow applications to achieve throughput of tens of thousands of transactions per second with response times measured in microseconds, while also providing applications with extreme data availability (along with sub-second failover to another instance of solidDB).

Industry Scenarios for Real Time

Financial Services
News and markets change rapidly. Reacting quickly to such changes allows financial services firms to profit from the small windows of arbitrage opportunities that arise throughout the day. IBM and its portfolio of real-time products provide financial services firms with the ability to build trade order management applications that can take advantage of the flexibility of Linux and open standards to meet their needs.

Companies offering communication solutions using Voice over IP (VoIP) must ensure that the exchange of messages between parties takes place at predictable intervals to prevent degradation in the quality of communications or that communications terminate abruptly. IBM and its portfolio of real-time products provide telecommunication firms with the opportunity to build applications offering predictable performance using Linux and open standards.

With the growing adoption of six-sigma processes, manufacturing and assembly plants must synchronize their lines to ensure that variation in their processes is significantly reduced. IBM and its portfolio of ultra predictable real-time products offer manufacturing firms the ability to automate their plants with reduced variability while taking full advantage of the benefits from solutions based on Linux and open standards.

Military and Defense
Reacting quickly and predictably to threatening situations can be a matter of life and death. Not only do weapons and tracking systems need to be fast, but also they must be completely reliable all the time, any time. IBM and its portfolio of ultra predictable real-time products provide the military and defense sectors the ability to implement reliable and predictable defense systems based on Linux and open standards.

Getting Real Time

IBM has established a real-time evaluation program that allows customers to experiment with IBM real-time technology on Linux at no charge.

Please contact us for more information on real-time Linux and real-time Java solutions from IBM.

To download WebSphere Real Time, please visit us here.

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