Sunday, February 7, 2010

Event processing - stand-alone, part of a bigger game, or both?


Following my previous posting, somebody told me that I was vague about whether I think that event processing as stand-alone technology is good or bad. Well -- when I was a student I took "image processing" course, and we worked on a graphical screens with 256 gray levels, since then I realized that even in "black and white" picture there are a lot of gray area Thus, I cannot classify it as "good" or "bad". But I'll provide some observations:

  1. The event processing area started as "stand alone" engines, this has been obvious, since it started by start-ups and not by big companies as part of other frameworks
  2. There is a gradual shift in the market from stand alone event processing solutions to event processing capabilities embedded in larger frameworks, when bigger companies got into the picture, and this trend has intensified.
  3. "Stand alone" products may have to implement functions that "embedded" products can use existing functions in the original framework, such as: routing, transformation, filtering...
  4. Unlike some software components that may need tight integration, event processing work in loose coupling relative to other components -- sending and receiving events --- thus this supports the possibility for having stand-alone EP.
  5. However, there are no interoperability standards which requires to provide adapters for each producer and consumer, which makes stand-alone EP more difficult, relative to a single framework -- the level of difficulty is a functions of the quantity and diversity of producers and consumers. Enterprise integration framework may already include variety of adapters that the embedded EP can get "for free".
  6. Event processing is in many cases part of a bigger application, and in this case, there is a benefit of having a single programming model for the bigger application, and not using different programming models/languages/user interfaces for the various part of the system, this also goes against stand-alone EP; In cases where the system is pure EP, this consideration may not be valid.
  7. Stand-alone EP may support heterogeneous components -- e.g. work with DBMS from one vendor, messaging system from another vendor, and connect to BPM system from third vendor, while embedded EP is typically homogeneous, since it all comes from one vendor. This may be true, though today there are a lot of cross-adapters among various components that enable framework to support other components (say DBMS) from other vendors, especially where there are standard interfaces.
Is there a bottom line here? --- I guess that the gray area is that there is some segment of the market in which stand-alone EP can live, but I also think that the trend of moving from stand-alone to embedded will continue to exist.

1 comment:

Marco Seiriƶ said...

I'm betting that CEP and more importantly EDA will change how bits and pieces are connected together. In an event driven world it is much easier to use building blocks. When everything is easy to connect together is should become more attractive to use building blocks which are connected to a bigger system. If so, there's a big market ahead for event driven components. So my bet is that standalone CEP components and companies will be needed. Provided that this event revolution does indeed take place.