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Vitria debuts smart pull server

The Vitria Velocity server software broadcasts information to personal computers, pagers, and other devices as soon as it happens.

With competition in the push technology market reaching a fever pitch, companies are beginning to distinguish between "true push" and "smart pull" technologies.

Today, one of those companies, Vitria Technology, introduced Vitria Velocity, a server that broadcasts information to personal computers, pagers, and other devices as soon as it happens. The server is strictly oriented towards business applications such as real-time broadcasting of inventory updates to equipment suppliers or stock feeds, company executives said today.

Vitria's approach to push contrasts with technologies from PointCast, Microsoft, and Netscape. All of those companies provide client technology that checks in with servers for new information, such as news headlines, at scheduled intervals. Although users may get the impression that information is being transmitted to them in real time, it is actually being pulled from Internet information sources by their client.

"This is not pull," said Carl Tsukahara, vice president of marketing at Vitria. "We only use bandwidth when we need it."

The underpinning of Velocity's timely information broadcasts is something called publish-subscribe, a technology that provides the backbone of the data delivery systems for financial traders. Tibco, a company mostly owned by Reuters Holdings, was one of the pioneers of publish-subscribe in the financial services industry. It has been moving quickly to rework the technology for the Internet.

Two of Vitria's founders also founded Tibco, so Vitria thinks it may know how to improve on the technology. Vitria claims that Velocity is more scalable than Tibco's software and that it works better over wide area networks.

Velocity costs $4,995 and is shipping for Windows NT and Solaris.