Saturday, December 19, 2009

More on the ecosystem of event processing systems

The one week school break for children ends tomorrow, and today I went with my two younger daughters to see Avatar, a very ambitious movie with a lot of advanced 3D graphics. The downside is that the film spans over 3 hours without a break -- could cut 1 hour easily, but nevertheless the graphics is very impressive, the plot is kind of paraphrase on other movies.

In my previous posting I've written about event processing functions, one of the frequently asked questions is whether event processing has a value by its own right, or as part of a larger ecosystem. Let's look at another question: DBMS software deal with update, retrieve, store, organize, backup and restore data, it also supports concurrency control, transaction management and other stuff. DBMS itself does not have value, the value is in the use of data.

In a similar way, event processing software deals with transferring, filtering, transforming, pattern matching, and situation discovering, it also provides execution control and support of some non functional properties, but the aim is to receive event process them and derive more events. The value is not in derivation of events, but in the way it is used.

In order to complete the cycle we need two other types of software: event producers that produce the raw events, and event consumers that consume the derived events and execute the actions triggered by these events -- the consumers are those who are driving the value.

The producer can be any type of software or sensors. One example of event producer I've written about in the past is the "EDA extension of CICS" that I have written about before. It is an example in which a software is instrumented to produce events. We are seeing more software of this type in the sensor area, and other areas as well.

Consumers are the part of ecosystem that utilize the events flowing from the event processing systems. I've posted before about the consumer chapter in EPIA, There are many ways to consume events, they can also be connected with other types of enterprise software: Events can drive decisions, and can serve as input to business rules; events can drive KPI (Key Performance Indicators) metrics and can be input to BAM systems, it can have various actions related to BPM systems, events can drive real-time analytics and be input to BI systems, it can post on Twitter, and update Ambient Orbs (see the posting about the EPIA chapter), or if it is part of a "smart house" it can turn off lights or control the temperature using some actuators.

Like DBMS that requires somebody to feed the data, and somebody else to use it, event processing requires its ecosystem, we'll see more of the ecosystem software both in the producer side (like the CICS example) or in the consumer side (like BAM software). More on event processing ecosystem later.

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