Monday, August 29, 2011

Transactions and events: old world vs. new world

Paul Vincent posted on the TIBCO Blog some thoughts on transactions and events.  His story was mainly about bookings in a sleeping train that should have been in the same cabin, but the system did not have any way to do it in a single transaction,  In DEBS 2011 one of the keynote speakers Johannes Gehrke talked about similar things, of not being able to coordinate travel reservation of two co-workers who want to fly together (but still want to have independent reservations for the rest of the trip).   This is a symptom of the "old world" vs. "new world" phenomenon.    The "old world" in IT is the world of OLTP, which is centered around ACID transactions (maintaining: atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability).   The "new world" is a world of mobile apps, social media, NOSQL, Web 2.0 and more - this world has started from scratch,  the "cool" geeks who created it don't want anything to do with the nerds that work in the old world (slang I got from watching American TV programs, starting from "happy days"),    Anyway -- it seems that some relations do exist between the old and new worlds:  

  1. New world applications should use some old world techniques like transactions, but this is not necessarily ACID transactions.
  2. New world applications should sometimes talk with old world applications
  3. Old world applications should support some of the new world characteristics -- and have to evolve.

All these three relations do exist, I'll write in the future about each of these topics.    

Last but not least -- back to the title of transactions vs. events.   Event processing seem to have some of the characteristics of the new world, however, there are some synergies again between transactions and events. 
One of my earliest posts on this blog, in 2007 had the title: "Event processing and transactions - real, real time, and real time enterprise", where I discussed briefly the idea of event processing within transactional system.   Since then there was some progress in the thinking - I need to revisit this issue on the blog.  
So made some promises on future posts on this Blog - and now back to the new world of  looking at what is new on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn...   More -later

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