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Tibco data virtualization, integration tools add visibility

No longer focused on analytics following a recent reorganization, the vendor updated its data management platforms with new multi-cloud and change data capture capabilities.

Tibco on Tuesday unveiled updated versions of its data virtualization and data integration platforms designed to better enable customers to view and unify their data.

The updates come about six months after Vista Equity Partners, parent company of Tibco, merged Tibco with Citrix following Vista's 2022 acquisition of Citrix.

Once Tibco and Citrix were merged, Vista reorganized Tibco in late 2022. The move included forming a company named Cloud Software Group (CSG), headed by CEO Tom Krause, that includes Tibco and breaks out capabilities that were previously part of Tibco.

Tibco, founded in 1997, over the past two decades acquired such analytics platforms as IBI (formerly Information Builders), Spotfire and JasperSoft. Now each of those technologies are their own business units under the umbrella of CSG.

Tibco, meanwhile, is now more closely focused on managing data, including integration of data from disparate sources and data virtualization to unify data across different systems.

Beyond breaking out Spotfire, JasperSoft and IBI from Tibco, CSG's formation included laying off about 15% of its workforce after the merger of Citrix and Tibco.

New capabilities

Tibco Data Virtualization is the vendor's platform for managing data from disparate sources in a unified environment.

The updated version now includes capabilities aimed at better enabling customers to manage data from multiple clouds as well as improved smart mapping to help organizations unify data scattered across different systems.

Specifically, a new user interface includes a homepage on which customers can access data cataloging capabilities as well as control user access and other security measures.

The updated capabilities stand to benefit customers, noted Doug Henschen, analyst at Constellation Research. But they don't represent significant innovation, he continued.

"It's about improvements in mapping of data as well as visualization, search and security capabilities across virtualized sources," Henschen said. "I'd describe [them] as incremental improvements in the speed and ease of bringing together distributed data sources and making that data accessible in a secure way."

I'd describe [them] as incremental improvements in the speed and ease of bringing together distributed data sources and making that data accessible in a secure way.
Doug HenschenAnalyst, Constellation Research

One particular goal of the capabilities is enabling customers to manage data from multiple clouds to help customers keep cloud computing costs under control, according to Rajeev Kozhikkattuthodi, Tibco's head of product management, UX and tech alliances.

Cloud computing often costs more than organizations initially expect, with cloud-based vendors charging users for the time they spend using a given tool and the compute power they consume -- costs that are difficult to plan and track.

"We are working with our cloud partners to make sure that as they become the de facto destinations for users, we have an optimized infrastructure … for better performance and better cost controls," Kozhikkattuthodi said.

Beyond the new virtualization capabilities, Tibco's Cloud Data Integration update includes improved data transformation and mapping tools and a new real-time change data capture (CDC) capability.

CDC is the process of identifying and capturing changes to data within a database and delivering insights about those changes to other systems in a data pipeline in real time to keep data current.

Historically, Tibco has focused on batch application integration, Kozhikkattuthodi noted.

The new CDC feature adds real-time CDC capabilities to those pre-existing batch capture capabilities and unifies the two in a single data integration environment so organizations don't have to separately integrate real-time data and batch data.

"This new capability [gives us] the ability to bridge the real-time world with the batch world," Kozhikkattuthodi said. "We view real-time change data capture as a key ingredient in that. We are enabling [customers] to simplify bringing them together so that what used to take days to come to life on a dashboard is actionable in seconds on a real-time data fabric."

The improved data mapping and transformation tools, meanwhile, use AI and machine learning to provide automated recommendations. The tools learn over time based on users' behavior and recommend actions regarding how to map and transform data.

The advantage will be improved efficiency, according to Henschen.

"The ML/AI-assisted improvements in mapping are important in both virtualization and integration scenarios," he said. "Just seeing and understanding what's available and getting recommendations on best-fit data sources is a huge boon to productivity."

Generative AI plans

While Tibco updated its Data Virtualization and Data Integration platforms with new tools aimed at helping customers better view and unify their data, the vendor did not include generative AI capabilities that many other data management and analytics vendors are working to incorporate into their platforms.

Just since the start of May, Informatica, Snowflake and Alteryx have been among data management vendors that have unveiled plans to add generative AI capabilities. Among analytics platforms, Tableau, ThoughtSpot and Microsoft Power BI all have generative AI capabilities in the works.

Therefore, the absence of any concrete plan to add generative AI to Tibco's existing capabilities is unexpected, according to Henschen.

"There have obviously been more than a few generative AI announcements in the integration space this year, so it's somewhat surprising to see no mention of such capabilities in this release," he said.

However, Henschen noted that the vast majority of generative AI capabilities unveiled by data management and analytics vendors are still in preview, so Tibco is not yet behind its competition when it comes to actual use of generative AI and the potential it has to expand data use within organizations.

"There's plenty of time for Tibco to be a fast follower and perhaps learn from the early experiments on where the technology really drives value," he said.

Tibco does have plans to add generative AI capabilities to its data management tools, according to Kozhikkattuthodi.

Before making any formal announcement, however, the vendor is taking a cautious approach to generative AI given concerns about the security and accuracy of tools such as ChatGPT from OpenAI, according to Kozhikkattuthodi.

"We're super excited by the potential of generative AI," he said. "But at the same time, we are making sure there is a lot of focus on privacy and governance and enabling the enterprise customers control over their destiny."

Tibco is a close partner of Microsoft, which is an investor in OpenAI. Through that partnership, Tibco can potentially integrate easily with ChatGPT and OpenAI's other generative AI tools.

One part of its platform that Tibco plans to eventually infuse with generative AI is semantic lineage, Kozhikkattuthodi said.

Beyond eventually adding generative AI, he added that Tibco's roadmap for its data virtualization and integration tools includes a heightened focus on providing its enterprise customers with a unified environment to view and manage their data. Further investment in cloud-native technology and tools for developers are also areas of focus, according to Kozhikkattuthodi.

Henschen, meanwhile, stressed that generative AI needs to be an important part of Tibco's data integration and virtualization roadmap.

"Generative AI has huge potential to aid low-code/no-code integration by so-called citizen developers, so I think it's important for vendors to let the experimentation begin," he said.

Eric Avidon is a senior news writer for TechTarget Editorial and a journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He covers analytics and data management.

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