Wednesday, September 3, 2008

On event processing as a paradigm shift

The readers are probably familiar with this picture where it shifts between seeing two faces facing each other (in black) and a white vase. I came across a (relatively) new blogger in this area, Pern Walker, blogging for Oracle's "event driven architecture". The title of the posting is:
Event servers, a disruptive technology. It describes the components of the (former) BEA framework, nothing new here, but the interesting part is the conclusion - event processing COTS is a disruptive technology, it displaces custom code in event processing, since it is more cost-effective.
This reminds me of a discussion we had in May 2007 in the Dagstuhl seminar on event processing, it was a night discussion with wine, and was lead by Roy Schulte, the question that Roy has posed to the participants : "Will Event Processing (EDA) become a paradigm shift in the next few years or not?”.
Today, I don't intend to answer this question, instead I'll post part of the discussion in Dagstuhl that included observations about "paradigm shifts" (thanks to my colleague, Peter Niblett, who documented the entire Dagstuhl seminar). I'll return to this topic again, with my (and maybe other) opinions about the answer, after the EPTS event processing symposium
Observations (from the Dagstuhl discussion):
  • Paradigm shifts can’t happen if there are too many barriers; have the entry barriers for "event processing" already been removed? ;
  • Paradigm shifts are more likely to happen when adopters decide they need a whole new avenue of applications; they are less likely to happen as a way of re-engineering existing systems. For example the German population will reach 1:2 old: young ratio by 2020 so this requires a paradigm shift of healthcare models. Can we identify new avenues of relevant applications?
  • Paradigm shifts usually happen as a result of some external change, not just because of innate strengths of the technology itself. Can we identify such external changes?
  • Standardization is not necessary for a paradigm shift, but good, appropriate standards (de facto or otherwise) certainly help

Another question is to where in essence is the "paradigm shift" - is it the decoupled "event-driven" paradigm ? is it the "complex event processing", i.e. ability to find patterns on multiple events? is it the entire processing framework as the Oracle's Blog claim?

More - Later


Richard Veryard said...

Hi Opher. It is often helpful to think of technology change management in terms of navigating some topological space - avoiding barriers and finding new avenues. But why call it a paradigm shift? See my post Shifting Paradigms and Disruptive Technology.

Opher Etzion said...

Hi Richard. I agree that we, the computer software people, abuse terms from other disciplines; I have a relative who is a real architect - graduate of the architecture school in the Technion, who was quite amused to hear about software architecture, likewise we probably abuse the term paradigm shift, which is kept for scientific or conceptual revolutions. What we have tried to discussed that night in Dagstuhl (consuming wine and beer in the process) is what is considered "paradigm shift" in our frame of reference... I guess that from organizational point of view, switching technology has aspects of change management.