Thursday, December 27, 2007

On Business Intelligence and Event Processing

This is a quiet time, although we do not have holiday period in Israel, those of us, like myself, in which major part of the work requires interaction with the rest of the universe, it is quiet time since my colleagues are away - much less Emails, no conference calls, today I've spent the day in Rehovot known for its famous "Weizmann Institute" but this time (a famous building from the institute is in the picture above) I have visited an IBM site not far this institute, IBM has acquired in the recent years several Israeli companies, and they are now fused into a single lab ILSL - Israel Software Lab (well - ISL was already taken in IBM by India Software Lab).

Anyway, coming back, I saw that the blog world of event processing is also alive these days, but this time I would like to give a few comments to "operational analytics: yesterday today and tomorrow" by Colin White
In this article Mr. White has some interesting assertions (at least, my own interpretation of these assertions):

(1). CEP is a buzzword which stands for a kind of operational analytics that should be used in extreme cases.
(2). BAM has failed since it has been independent of BI
(3). Hint at the fate of CEP (or ESP, it is not clear from his article what is the difference) will be the same if not be part of BI.

While I am sure that Mr. White is a big expert on BI, it seems that he also falls into the "hammer and nail" trap that has been discussed by myself and several other bloggers in this area. So here is some preliminary responses to his assertions:

(1). CEP is a technology, it has roots in multiple disciplines, and some of it has roots in BI, but there is a distance between this and the assertion that it is part of BI. CEP has different uses that may not be even connected to BI (e.g. network management diagnostics or situational awareness), here again we get back to the issue of motivation for using CEP - the consistent view of database people is that the only reason to use CEP is extreme latency/throughput otherwise one can use the right religion of SQL databases, I think that this issue has been discussed also in the EP blogs that there are multiple reasons for using CEP and the high throughput / low latency is one, but not necessarily event the dominant one.

(2). As far as the "BAM has failed" -- is that a fact or a wishful thinking ? in the Gartner BAM and EP summit we have heard some success stories of BAM, and saw some prospering BAM products. While there are synergies and relationships between BAM and BI - I wonder what are the success / failure criteria used to derive this assertion ?

(3). I have already stated my opinion about the question - whether event processing is a footnote to databases
While I spent many years as part of the database community, I am in the opinion that event processing is a discipline by its own right, with some interaction and intersection with the database area, as well as other areas (business rules, distributed computing, middleware, software agents).

This is a preliminary reaction - mostly giving some comments to the article, which does not free me from writing a "positive" article about - the relationships between event processing and business intelligence, and I'll do so in one of the next postings - more later.


avi said...

Hi Opher, what would you say about the future of BAM? There certainly is a market need for it, isn't it?

Opher Etzion said...

Hi Avi. I certainly don't agree to the statement that BAM has failed, on the other hand, I don't think it has been a smashing success so far. I'll write about BAM in one of the next postings, need to gather some material.