Saturday, January 5, 2008

On Trifecta and Event Processing

Reading the educated blog of my friend Tim Bass
I had to admit that I don't have any clue what a "Trifecta" is, and rushed to wikipedia
for help to find out that in horse races - it is a bet on the first three horses. I must confess to my ignorance - I have never watched a horse race, neither have I gambled on horses. I have made a major technological gamble though, around 10 years ago, to bet around "complex event processing" (without using this name and without knowing on the three others who have worked in parallel on the same topics - will have at some point postings about the history), and after suffering some frustration periods, it seems that the reality also slowly getting there, and I still hope it will be the "next big thing" - but we have some work to do in order to get there -- again, a topic for another posting. Now the question posed both by Tim Bass, and by Joe McKendrick
is - whether CEP is depended on SOA, and in turn - does it require the coupling of SOA and BPM - which is by itself a problematic concept.
My answer is -- CEP is an horse that is indepdent in any other horse, donkey, mule or tiger. As I noted in earlier postings, SOA and EDA are orthogonal - SOA is about modularization or componentization of the enterprise, and hence it IT systems, introducing modules as "services". Now let's talk about the relations between SOA, CEP and BPM.
(1). Services in SOA can be producers and consumers for "Event Processing Agents"; as a producer - the service is instrumented to emit events, as a consumer it can be notified or triggered by an event; Services are one type of consumers and producers but not the only type - every application can be consumer or producer, thus there is a loose coupling.
(2). In SOA environment there is an ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), whose functions have some overlap with event processing (especially mediated event processing) - can be a natural host for the "event processing network" (I'll write more on ESBs in another posting). However, again Event Processing Agents can also run outside ESB.
(3). Workflows (BPM) are special type of consumers and producers. In the SOA world, BPM orchestrate services, and thus, BPM can emit events about the status of the workflow, while as a consumer it can add/modify/delete one or more workflow instances. Some of the Event Processing applications (e.g. some types of BAM applications) are based on business processing - however, even in SOA environment this is only one type of consumer and producer, and there are other types (e.g. RTE applications which process events in-line and not in observation mode).
Bottom line --- Event Processing can have different interactions with SOA, and when IBM's announcements in this area will be available you'll realize that there are different entry points. Event processing can also work in legacy and non-SOA environment.

So today I have learned about horse races and promised some more postings (not promising when) -- more, later.

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