Jabber Upgrades IM Platform

Version 2.7 provides more features to help companies comply with regulations from major stock exchanges.

With a focus on new archiving and presence features, Jabber Inc. on Monday released the latest version of its instant messaging platform.

Aimed at enterprises and telecommunications carriers, the 2.7 release of the Jabber eXtensible Communications Platform (XCP) provides more features to help companies comply with regulations from major stock exchanges, Jabber officials said. The Jabber platform includes the XCP enterprise server and two clients—Jabber Messenger on the desktop and the Jabber WebClient for use through the Web.

Much of the improvements in the latest release are based on feedback from financial services customers, who have some of the toughest requirements for IM because of stock exchange and federal regulations, said Frank Cardello, Jabbers vice president of business development.

One of these stringent requirements is that "all message traffic that passes through the network has to be archived just like e-mail has to be archived," Cardello said.

To achieve this, Jabber in the 2.7 release has added greater archiving support with integration into Oracle Corp. databases, allowing IM content to stream directly into a database. Before the end of the year, Jabber should add another database to the archiving feature, Cardello said.

Already, enterprises often attach third-party archiving software from companies such as FaceTime Communications Inc. or IMlogic Inc. onto common consumer IM services such as AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger, he said. Those tools also work with Jabber. But with the database integration, enterprises gain more options for archiving, including building their own applications to meet their specific requirements, Cardello said.

Another feature called "presence mirroring" allows companies to export a copy of presence information about Jabber IM users into an Oracle database so that other applications can draw the information about whos online directly from the database, rather than from the Jabber XCP server.

Also particularly helpful for financial services companies is a new topical text conferencing feature in Jabber 2.7. It enables a multi-user chat session that is persistent, so users can come and go from a forum and still be able to follow a discussion on a given topic.

This feature is an example of the outgrowth of IM into a fuller set of real-time communications that enterprise IM is allowing, Cardello said.

"Instant messaging is really just the first thing an enterprise asks of a real-time messaging infrastructure," he said.

Jabber 2.7 is available now on Sun Solaris, Linux and HP-UX, and a Microsoft Windows version is expected to be available in early October. Pricing begins at between $30 and $40 per seat, Cardello said.

Along with the new product, Jabber also announced a set of initial customers for the 2.7 release. They include Lehman Brothers, Earthlink Inc. and European carriers France Telecom and Orange.