Looking to extend the reach of its real-time data communications network, PubNub this week announced a partnership with IBM through which its software will be integrated with the Bluemix cloud integration platform. This partnership, along with PubNub's recent announcement of an SDK for the Internet of Things, shows an increased emphasis on IoT.
Announcing this at the IBM InterConnect 2015 conference, Doron Sherman, Vice President of Business Development at PubNub, says that even though PubNub has existing partnerships with a wide variety of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) platforms, the alliance with IBM is significant because IBM also gives organizations access to a broad range of analytics applications, including the IBM Watson analytics platform.
Sherman says rather than using a request/reply architecture based on REST APIs, PubNub makes available a simple API that allows applications to communicate in real time. To accomplish this, PubNub keeps a live TCP/IP socket open. When new data becomes available, it gets automatically streamed to that open socket once the client is authenticated by a third-party software or service.
That approach, says Sherman, eliminates the need for clients to continually poll servers to see whether there is any new data available. That’s an especially critical consideration as the number of endpoints that are going to be deployed in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) is about to increase by several orders of magnitude: constant polling of servers across the network wastes computational resources.
PubNub’s API portfolio includes presence detection, message storage and playback, stream syndication and data synchronization, which Sherman says provide building blocks for creating applications that can be accessed via more than 70 SDKs.
With pricing for the service starting at one dollar per million messages delivered via 15 global data centers, Sherman says it’s unlikely that any organization could build their own secure real-time data streaming network at a lower cost. But Sherman says the biggest challenge that PubNub faces today is getting traditional IT organizations to think beyond message queuing services provided by traditional approaches to middleware. Because data can be streamed via specific channels, organizations can now build applications using a real-time publish and subscribe model that they previously would not have thought to be possible. As a result, Sherman says developers need to start thinking more in terms of business processes that can be improved using a real-time data streaming network.
None of this means that RESTful APIs are going away any time soon. But it does mean that the diversity of APIs that developers have at their disposal goes well beyond simple request and reply interfaces.