Monday, November 24, 2008

CEP and patents

I was recently updating my knowledge base around event processing, CEP and DSMS to have a better view on the current state of the art regarding patent applications around those topics, when I found a fairly recent pending application from Oracle named:

"Processing xml data stream(s) using continuous queries in a data stream management system".

The patent application is available online

It was filed in Nov. 17, 2006, published in May 22, 2008, and also claims to be related to a DBMS SQL/XML related patent filed in 2005 (is that an attempt to claim for anteriority?).

As far as I can sum it up, it organizes its claim around three fundamental findings:
(usual disclaimer here - this is my own view etc)
  1. CQL or SQL-alike continuous event processing languages fall short on dealing with structured data streams
  2. especially XML
  3. both as input event stream and as output event streams (out of the continuous query).
f.e. support for
SELECT RStream(count(*)) FROM StockTradeXMLStream AS
sx [RANGE 1 Hour SLIDES 5 minutes] WHERE XMLExists( ‘/TradeRecord[TradeSymbol = “ORCL” and
TradePrice >= 14.00 and TradePrice <= 16.00]’ PASSING VALUE(sx))

I was a bit surprised by this patent because there is an interesting positionning dilemna. Oracle has publicly advertised its wishes to standardize CQL in some ways, and this patent is now an advertised intent to lock a subset of it.
  • Is it a good way toward standardization consensus?: I don't think so - it blurs your motivation for standardization ("leave XML out, it's patented - more value in my own product and more FUD to yours")
  • Is it a good way to quickly empower the user? I don't think so - more locking deep down to the language (remember all the messy ANSI SQL derivatives right?)
  • Is it a good way to innovate? I don't think so - bring it to end users and call for participation
As to know if there is anteriority or not - let's list some of XML support in different DSMS / CEP products:
  • Coral8, back in Sept. 2006, support the same XMLAgg, XMLTable and alike - see also their XML cookbook
  • Esper, back in August 2006, supports for XML events. The Esper EPL actually does a very nice job at not exposing XPath or XML in the EPL and automates the XPath plumbing - so that the EPL is actually event representation agnostic. I think that is a superior design
  • As a generalization, Esper, since day 1 (somewhere in 2005), supports Object structured event streams - which is a generalization of xml structured streams obviously.
  • iSpheres (now at Avaya) - can't even have a date but likely 2003 or so
And I could keep the list growing...
I am not saying patents are good or evil or a bit of both - that's no the point here. But this one just strikes me for what it is. I'd be curious to hear from Coral8 folks as well as others.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


There has been some coverage in the blogosphere on how SOA, EDA and CEP relate to each others.
"So CEP is not EDA, EDA is more than CEP. Promoting CEP as being EDA is far too simple. And yet that is what is happening in the current IT space."
"Especially the vendors of event processors focus too much on CEP as being EDA".
Mark Palmer from StreamBase answered some
"CEP, in fact, is a really important element of an effective EDA. It's not a required element, but it sure makes it better"
That's how I presented it at JavaOne back summer 2007, and this still happens to be true - no matter how vendors are mashing up various concepts about it to try to differentiate one from each other (CEP and Grid, CEP and Web2.0, CEP and DDS, CEP and edge processing, CEP and SOA, CEP and BRMS, CEP and XTP etc.).
Here are two excerpts from the presentation I delivered with Thomas Bernhardt from Esper/EsperTech fame:

If you talk to folks using CEP (build or buy - does not matter) in some industries such as investment banking, they'll tell you this has nothing to do with SOA but has to do with XTP.

It's time to learn from past history.

A similar debates occurred not that long time ago around the SOA and ESB terms (2005 article on ComputerWorld). For the record, back in 2001 ESB and SOA did not even existed. Yet, some visionaries such as Sonic folks introduced ESB as a COTS product, despite established or maturing MOMs presence such as TibcoRV, MQ, or JMS-based/J2EE MOMs and a whole set of in house built solutions.

With no surprise, in 2008, I'd be curious to hear someone that would disagree with the statement below, which is in fact a copy/paste/replace from comments happening right now in the blogosphere rel. CEP and EDA as stated at the beginning of this post:
An ESB is not SOA, SOA is more than ESB. Promoting ESB as being SOA is far too simple. And yet that is what happened in the early days (back in 2001).
Got it now? Here is mine bold claim:
A CEP engine is to EDA what an ESB is to SOA.
(And it's also more than just that)

Esper - course on DSMS at University of Oslo

The University of Oslo, Norway, is running for 2008 some courses on Data Stream Management Systems (DSMS) - some of it based on Esper.
DSMS was the term coined by academic work as opposition to DBMS (database) in the "early days" before the more marketed Complex Event Processing CEP acronym was introduced. CEP is now more widely used by vendors, press and analysts as productization and real world deployment is taking place.

Some course materials are available online, and it is worth the read because it recaps on the key concepts, fit for purpose, and mechanics of DSMS/CEP engines such as TelegraphCQ, Stream, Borealis and Esper.

There are also 2 project assignments that plan to leverage Esper - which is an excellent illustration of how open source can be leveraged in the academic world.
  • Extending a DSMS benchmark
  • Online analysis of medical sensor data with the Esper Event Stream Processing System
There is obviously great confidence that the Esper project will not be closed down anytime soon for monetization purpose - unlike what happened with other such DSMS projects (if not all...). The direction around Esper and enterprise open source is already crystal clear and that's definitely a win-win for both academics, community, and enterprise practitioners.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Complex Event Processing and Data Fusion - Esper demo

I have put together a live demo of a CEP track and trace application based on Esper Complex Event Processing (CEP).

The entire scenario has been designed and developed by Data Fusion Research Center AG, a Switzerland based company "that is quickly becoming a leading center of knowledge, research, and development in the field of geospatial data fusion and analysis". DFRC has chosen Esper for their CEP solution, and has kindly made preliminary results of their work available. I have rewrapped their application bits into a single Java WebStart package so that you can run it securely in a sandboxed environment without installing anything.

The Scenario

The scenario illustrates:
  • Edge computing, with raw events coming from radio sensors or ground based radars at the boundaries of a classical IT infrastructure
  • Complex Event Processing, an automated way for deriving coarse events out of real-time event streams, using advanced concepts such as time driven computations and causality concepts. A CEP solution typically comes with an abstracted programming model or event processing language so as to empowers the application developers with a continuous query paradigm.
  • Data Fusion, a "set of techniques that combine data from multiple sources and gather that information in order to achieve inferences, which will be more efficient and potentially more accurate than if they were achieved by means of a single source" (wikipedia). Data Fusion can sometime appear as a conceptual superset of CEP. In the DFRC application, the CEP algorithm can be tuned in several ways - which directly maps to the "potentially more accurate" goal of the Data Fusion approach.
  • Rich client application, to empower the business user and represent CEP / Data Fusion derived information in the most efficient way (in this case a satellite map with real time moving icons for identified aircrafts). CEP + BAM or CEP + BI - it all comes down to materializing real-time information out of the CEP / Data Fusion engine.
The Problem

Assume ground radars are pushing position events from disparate non-identified sources flying all around (friends or foo, UFO, noise, doesn't matter):
PointEvent {
For the example app, the events are simulated from a raw flat file:
46.5 7.2
47 7.2
46 7.2
46.5 7.2
47 7.2
46.3 7.2
The challenge is to identify all the flight paths in real time and eliminate noise, so as to figure out where are the aircrafts, what are their flight path, and determine if further investigation has to be performed by humans or downstream systems.
It is all about turning real-time raw event streams into situational awareness.
A flight path is a directed sequence of position events that is extremely likely to represent a real aircraft trajectory. It will be displayed on an interactive map, and specific tresholds of the data fusion detection algorithm can be tuned in the client side application.
Relying on CEP and Data Fusion concepts ensures we can scale to a large number of aircrafts, a high troughput of position events, and truely empowers the business users, turning a raw stream of latitute/longitude tuples into a rich system.

The Solution

The solution is implemented using Esper. Esper combines
  1. A full featured EPL - event processing language. It can be for simplicity considered as an SQL-look-alike language augmented with time and causality. Main point here: this is a continuous query paradigm, and not a repeatedly executed query, and there is no database.
  2. An efficient, feature rich CEP engine, implemented in Java (also available in .Net/C#). Refer to the docs, presentations and website for more details and usage scenarios.
  3. An open middleware platform with open APIs, leveraging existing standards, that can be integrated into an existing infrastructure.
The algorithm designed by DFRC can be summarized as below (from their case study). Key capabilities, such as reusing existing geodesic distance and azimuth delta computation libraries straight into the Esper EPL language are also key capabilities being leveraged.
"Basically the algorithm was written to correlate events that are close enough together in distance and direction during a specific time frame.
Those events are considered as a potential flight path. Once it correlates events, it builds a flight path between connected events.

The algorithm compares flight paths, if any two paths share start or end points, which would mean that we have a longer flight path containing 3 points.

It then checks any 3 point flight path measuring the azimuth difference from the 1st to 2nd and the 2nd to 3rd. If difference is less than a predetermined number of degrees we consider it an identified aircraft."

Demonstration and Conclusion

Run the live demo (Java WebStart)
Quick howto:
Accept the Java Web Start security dialog
The rich client application launches and display a satellite map
Click the Start Button
Blue dots on the map are the raw position events. Red lines are the flight paths identified out of the raw data. Green arrows are the identied aircrafts

Read more from DFRC AG case study
Read more about Esper

The demo is entirely databaseless and serverless and fits in just 3 MB binaries. The very same concepts implemented here with Esper can of course be pushed out to the real world, with entire control of the architecture, its scalability and integration with fully fledged sensors/server/client setup.
Congratulations to DFRC for putting it together.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Complex Event Processing with Esper making its way to Java community

There has been some nice coverage around Esper and Complex Event Processing (CEP) in the Java community recently:
  • Complex Event Processing with Esper, on DZone and published by OCI Inc.' Paul Jensen. A nice introductory article that covers the basics of Esper 2.x.
  • Open Source SOA upcoming book at Manning, due for availability in March 2009 by Jeff Davis - see interview on DZone. The book will cover CEP with Esper, alongside ESB, SCA, BRMS, and BPM all with open source solutions.
"Jeff: Complex Event Processing is a somewhat emerging technology, at least in the open source space. With CEP, real-time business events are sent to the engine, which can then use correlation and pattern matching rules to determine whether any anomalies are occurring within your enterprise. The real-time analytical engine is what differentiates CEP from other more traditional BI vendors, which tend to evaluate events after-the-fact. CEP is very exciting, and can be used for anything from compliance, monitoring service levels, to real-time trending."
It's great to see that after the core Esper team - including myself - spent time doing some evangelization for the last 2 years with articles all around on OReilly, The Server Side, InfoQ and Java One, it is now being taken to the next level thru autonomic contributions. That is one of the great outcome of making things available under an open source model.

Monday, September 8, 2008

CEP standard, really?

The recently published paper by Oracle and StreamBase has triggered some deep echo in the CEP blogosphere.
The paper "Towards A Streaming SQL Standard" which was promoted in a StreamBase sponsored press release first appeared from the VLDB / Very Large Data Base Conference which took place on August 28, 2008 and is a joint work from Oracle, StreamBase and Stanford/Cornell universities (full paper).

Marc Adler from the user camp posted twice here and there on that matter, also asking Coral8 vendor to comment, which they did, and few days later, Apama also commented here although trying to move the debate "to mine (event processing language) is better than yours".

Overall, the comments are a mix of
  • "how that can be call standardization effort ?"
  • "how much an end user does care about the differences between X and Y engines as long as each engine documentation is clear about its behavior"
  • "how a new SPREAD operator would be more of a solution than an output clause" - a so called "big switch" approach that is available in Coral8, Esper, and likely others.
It all sounds like the title of the paper ("... standards") and its context (publication in a mostly academic conference (not a user conference)) got disconnected - on purpose or not.

There are some facts I would like to remind everyone:
  • Standards are not driven by having 2 actors work or study together (whatever there respective market caps or marketing loudness). Standards are driven by acceptance - which is in itself a de-jure or a de-facto acceptance. To date, neither StreamBase nor Oracle advertise a product that implements what they advocate.
  • This is an academic work ie mostly R&D from Oracle. This is not claimed as going toward product direction change for Oracle nor StreamBase. I think this is far from whatever road a company like Oracle would follow for a standardization effort and this is more close to StreamBase hooking on the elephant to issue a press release that ranks #4 on Google when searching "Oracle CEP".
  • Oracle itself has more than one event processing language and implementation. The one from WebLogic Event Server (which comes from BEA acquisition hence inherits from Esper capabilities given the relationship between EsperTech and BEA) does have the so called "big switch" approach that is illustrated in the paper. See docs from Oracle site about the Oracle Complex Event Processing 2.0 (ie rebranded WebLogic Event Server 2.0)
The Oracle product doc itself precisely illustrates this big switch like this:
which in Esper would be
select * from output every 1.5 minutes

A better title in that regards would have been "Unifying tuple based and time based processing in event streaming engines" (far less attractive), or simply the one used by to announce the paper "StreamBase and Oracle team on CEP research" (although not a suitable title for an academic publication) - nothing more, nothing less - and blogosphere should take some wisdom reacting to such an initiative. Collaboration is always a good thing, and obviously always starts with 2 actors.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Complex Event Processing meets Business Intelligence: CEP BI

EsperTech has announced a technology agreement with Business Objects, an SAP company. The news describes::
"EsperTech (...) unveiled that Business Objects, an SAP company and the world's leading provider of business performance optimization solutions, will incorporate EsperTech's Esper product, for evaluation, into Business Objects Labs' "Event Driven BI" prototype"

Beyond the headlines, you can actually download and run the real world prototype from Business Objects Labs that integrates BusinessObjects XI 3.0 ( XCelsius 2008, InfoView, BI Widgets) with Esper, and also access a recorded demo.

This is a really great combination, and it's great to see how BO worked on abstracting the Esper CEP into Business Intelligence semantics that is known by their user base and target audience rather than creating yet another CEP engine or claiming "we do CEP too" without true innovation.

Also interesting, Coral8 has also announced a "Marketing and Technology" agreement with Actuate. Actuate is a fairly smaller BI player, but well know for beeing the maker of the open source Eclipse hosted BIRT platform.

I am really a big fan of CEP + BI/real time dashboard integration, and it is great to see those two announcements, that further bring CEP into the hands of business users through various level of visual and semantics abstractions.

There are also some great side comments to draw from those 2 news showing up at roughly the same time:
  • Business Objects, Actuate (who are competitors), are probably right in their approach, and so are EsperTech and Coral8 (who are competitors): rising tide raises all boats.
  • It (again) demonstrates EsperTech has grown well beyond its initial BEA OEM relationship (Esper powers WebLogic Event Server / now Oracle), up to the point of beeing used by an Oracle top competitor: SAP.
  • If you haven't done so, checkout EsperTech EsperJDBC - a bridge between Esper CEP and any JDBC compliant tool. It shipped in May 2008 and includes a nice demo that is using ... BIRT!
EsperJDBC Sample code and recorded demo (follow the "EsperJDBC and Business Intelligence reporting and charting with Eclipse BIRT" demo link) available.

It seems that while EsperTech worked early in that area, beyond technology, Coral8 secured some more marketing ;-) Well done folks.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

On CEP and SaaS

There has been a few announcements recently around CEP solutions delivered as SaaS.
The first one to my knowledge is DataComplex, which is itself build upon Esper (read announcement here).
The second one seems to be RuleCore, which as far as I recall from previous posts from his lead is build upon the Mule open source ESB and Oracle BerkeleyDB.

DataComplex is pretty open on its capabilities and you can sign up for a free trial. It is also interesting that the focus is "business users", with f.e. google doc integration (ie a line in a google doc sheet (excel like) can be an event in itself), and other interesting things to come out of it.
The pricing is well aligned on any SaaS business. It is a mix of per user and technical capabilities:
  • account number (access to management console)
  • number of event stream types (not event count)
  • unlimited statements and events count (up to the point you overload your instance)
  • given memory size for the server instance
The price range from $10/month to $400/month
(details here)

RuleCore on the opposite is really vague on its exact solution despite rants like "for situation detection I actually think we are one of the leaders among the CEP vendors". You cannot access any docs, screenshot, architecture diagram, customer reference, or any trial at all. It is thus difficult to figure out who is the target user, but it seems the only supported transport is JMS - so a fairly technical requirement.
Despite low advertised prices at 0.0001 euro/event there is actually a 500 euro/month fixed subscription.
Otherwise you can stick to a 50 times more expensive pricing per event for a 50 euro/month fixed subscription.
The model does not provides any details about actual technical capabilities (shared platform or dedicated instance like DataComplex, etc)
(details here)

In both cases I think such offerings are worth tracking but without clear business user value and clear abstraction of the entire technical details, the value proposition is seriously impacted.

DataComplex is definitely well ahead RuleCore on building out a value proposition. There are certainly benefits in putting CEP based solution as SaaS offering, but I believe it makes sense when you empower your business users almost immediately. It is not about being affordable as RuleCore seems to argue around, it is about IT agility and business alignment. This is what successful SaaS vendors do: SalesForces, Postini (acquired by Google), etc. SaaS is not just about externalizing hosting.

You might want to read here for some basics

If you are like RuleCore a technology provider more than a SaaS provider, you certainly should consider do what Microsoft just announced: provide new licenses on a per CPU/month or per Subscriber/month basis for the real SaaS business focused vendors themselves.
(details here)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Esper maturity and open source maturity models

Esper has definitely reached an exciting maturity already. There are many things happening, both controlled and uncontrolled, and this is what makes open source so powerful to widespread new paradigms such as CEP.

There has been some thoughts and criteria on what makes an open source project or product mature or not. The common criterias are:
On the community side (ie widespread interest and growing number of knowledgeable people around it)
  • coverage in leading conference, by the core team (somewhat sponsored then) or by virtually any volunteer speaker ("raise your hand if you have some smart thing to say")

  • use by/integration with/ other open source projects or initiatives in a loosely controlled/sponsored way ("innovation happens elsewhere" kind of effect)

  • coverage in good old technical books

On the enterprise side (ie more and more real-world deployments)

  • existence in a supported form, with full IP liability and possibly enterprise level certifications and features

  • actual real world use in such a form

  • apparition in technical requirements for job descriptions

  • actual roadmap and feature delivery

Here are some links of maturity models with such criterias:
industry analyst views
HP content

All those maturity criterias are matched today by Esper, and this is very exciting to watch and act upon this.
Here is what I can already wrap up:

  • dedicated coverage in JavaOne, TheServerSide, NoFluffJustStuff, JAX conference, and more coming. Half of the coverage was from volunteer speakers: Brian Sletten (Zepheira) and Papick G. Taboada. Links are:
    Esper slideware
    JAX 2007

  • integration prototype with Apache WS02 by Paul Fremantle (Co-Founder and VP of Technical Sales at WSO2), and Apache/IONA Camel/ActiveMQ by James Strachan (Technical Director at IONA), David Greco and team. There is way more to do on that area of course.
    See WSO2 and Apache Camel

  • dedicated chapter in "OSWorkflow" by Diego Adrian Naya Lazo, available on Amazon bookstore and any good bookstore. It covers Event Driven SOA, Event Driven BPM and Esper enabled BAM in a dedicated chapter!
    Here at Packt or on Amazon

  • growth of EsperTech as a company with a dual licensing and professional support model, including a wider product portfolio with f.e. EsperHA

  • more OEM agreements, more supported customers (see a few referencable names)

  • apparition in job descriptions f.e. here by SunGard / Finetix
    Here on MySpace or from Finetix directly
  • Esper is now in version 2.0, with 2.1 at the corner, with a version about every 3 months with a chunk of features that is most often here to match real-world demand

On the common things I hear is that NEsper, the Esper .Net/C# version is "lagging a bit behind". For one reason this is because the NEsper team is somewhat iterating on it as a port initiative thus always slightly with a version behind, and for another reason is perhaps that the .Net community is not as large and disparate as the Java community to digest new concepts somewhat that fast (and so is it with NHibernate, Spring Net, and a bunch of other products initially started in the Java world)

I am really looking forward to 2008 and beyond!
and I am already pleased to announce that Esper will get coverage at JAX India 2008 (nice job Papick) - abstract available here and that Tom' TheServerSide Symposium 2008 Las Vegas slides are available online.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Esper adds HA, local cache and resiliency to CEP with EsperHA

EsperTech has released its first non open source product EsperHA.
EsperHA is an extension to Esper the leading open source ESP/CEP event processing engine for Java. It essentially adds key features to match common enterprise deployments requirements:
- continuous query results can be made resilient and recovered if a crash occurs
- they can deal with large data window with an overflow / page out to disk option (f.e. keep a 20 days moving average VWAP, or find causality between events over long periods of time - countless of use cases)
- can simply make EPL statement durable so that they are re instantiated upon recovery / restart

From the announcement there is much more to look at, and the fact that all this comes at no code change, with fine level statement-level and stream-level configuration means that one can scale up or down its Esper applications with minimal effort.
By contrast, Esper keeps everything in live memory which provides excellent throughput and low latency (see some figures here) but is 1/ bounded (few G or more likely 32G to 128G in real deployments) and 2/ is dropped upon shutdown / crash.
EsperHA ensures one can trade-off low latency, high throughput and full resiliency in one system.

This is an interesting crossroad for EsperTech as a company as it further strengthen its positioning and readiness for real world deployments, and nicely complements its so far professional open source / dual license model with a classic software vendor one.
There was already great evidence of Esper fit for purpose in real world situations, as OEM and actual deployments demonstrated so far, but having this HA / resiliency option will certainly reinforce this.

There is common FUD from classic / elephant vendors thrown at open source software - essentially saying that it is not enterprise ready, not operable, as it is made by a bunch of volunteers that don't care about production reliability. This seems EsperHA and EsperTech proof point how much of FUD are that kind of claims.

You can sign up for a free trial and gain access to the download, docs and samples here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lab49 - have you looked at Esper?

Lab49 folks have been quite verbose in the Complex Event Processing (CEP) arena for financial services. They basically ended up partnering with pretty much anyone and almost every single month, skip to another CEP vendor to partner with.
Nice but certainly tough to build up and scale up product expertise especially given there is no much standard in the CEP arena so far - but that definitely gives them a nice view on each products.

To complete their 360° they should definitely look at Esper and EsperTech offering, including also NEsper as they seem to be quite involved in .Net as well. They probably know where to reach out for that, and will certainly hear about it anyway as the number of deployments of (N)Esper in financial services is growing nicely.

Few history on Lab49 ' somewhat fuzzy logic about partners:
- February 2008 - Aleri and Lab49 Partner on Tool to Visualize Market Liquidity
- January 2008 - BEA-Intel-Lab49 Whitepaper on CEP in Capital Markets (you can also find a more recent much vendor influenced podcast)
- November 2007 - Real-Time Trading and Industry Networking Event with Lab49 at StreamBase
- June 2007 - Coral8 and Lab49 Partner to Provide Algorithmic Trading Framework on the Microsoft Software Platform

Now you know what partner means. We are all partners to make the point that CEP brings business value, and Lab49 does it well in financial services I think.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Open Source ESBs and Esper CEP

Stefan Ried, a former SoftwareAG now at Forrester has given an interesting take on possible strategies for Open Source ESBs during a recent Expert Meeting on BPM/BAM/CEP/SOA/EDA.

You can read it from there.
It is interesting to see CEP in the ESB capabilities list for 2008 (as a reminder 2008 is this year). This trend is definitely an interesting one, and folks like WSO2/Synapse have actually already done some prototype work with Esper - as described here on Paul' blog.

You can definitely bet you'll hear much more about those ESBs / CEP integration with Esper throughout this year, despite it is already doable without federating capabilities in one server but using an ESB and an Esper event server bridged together with any kind of transport(JMS f.e.). This has the benefit of keeping the ESB stateless, rather than making it stateful (I consider CEP to be of a stateful kind) but certainly makes the architecture slightly more advanced so I am sure either ways will find their fans.

Open Source Event-Driven SOA is right on Esper' track and WSO2/Synapse has definitely made some good steps forward already despite productization is not yet there right now. Let's wish Mule and JBossESB catch up so as to provide users choices yet consistent CEP semantics - thru Esper of course!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Backup your data with MirrorFolder

I thought I'd blog about a great affordable piece of Windows Software: MirrorFolder. It provides a software level real-time RAID-1 mode that can backup files in real time, and I am also largely using the option to auto-synchronize my backups upon connection of my USB hard drives. There is also a whole bunch of options for fine grained configuration.

The 4.x version now includes a centralized GUI that is a great complement to the Windows shell integration (right click on a folder to configure its backup strategy).
Get it from Techsoft. It's 39 US$ so close to just 20 euros these days. Lucky me.

Friday, January 4, 2008

CEP vendors: RIP Kaskad, new Pion, and same IBM

End of 2007 has been an interesting time for the Complex Event Processing (CEP) ecosystem.
First, Kaskad adds itself to the RIP list and closes business as reported by Marc and confirmed by Kaskad former CTO Colin Clark. This was 16 employees. So for those who would argue that a company with 16 employees is going to sustain better than one with less than 5 in the same market, well, not that obvious.
I am not surprised by the news. Back in February 2007, Kaskad had announced it would open source part of it offering. I had asked them for more details both privately and publicly several time as I found the news interesting especially from an Esper and EsperTech perspective but never got any answer from Kaskad team. I wonder if they weren't already dead back that time...

Other news I could spot thanks to Marco: some Californians have started to chase the CEP market with an open source approach ala Esper - Pion from AtomicLabs: Our goal is to build the world's #1 open source platform for complex event processing.
It is actually quite far to compare to Esper, might be implemented in C++ and not Java / .Net, and has yet to be proven and most importantly has yet to expose some real CEP features especially some Event Processing Language (EPL). Data or event processing is not CEP. Welcome aboard guys and good license choice by the way (Affero GPL will ensure SaaS customers will have to buy something from them as well).

Finally, IBM just woke up with WebSphere CTO saying CEP is SOA next big thing. Once again few notes here... What Jerry Cuomo says is actually ...I really believe it's the next big thing in SOA, and that's event processing. So he jumps on the CEP wagon but in fact extends its scope to event processing to make the point. Well, who would disagree with that then?
I actually talked about the CEP - SOA - Event Processing relationship in my JavaOne Esper presentation back early 2007.
I am really looking forward to see what IBM will really deliver in that space, beyond research, research, research, forward looking announcements like SystemS or tiny limited features additions here and there (see ObjectGrid CEP f.e.).
I bet the next CTO will finally acknowledge that XTP meets SOA precisely through CEP and this one is really the next big thing - ie CEP is far from being just in SOA.
For some reason Jerry forgot to add XTP to his mix ;-)

2008 is going to be an interesting transition year for the CEP space as everyone is basically working on it growth, be it with open source, evangelizing, use case solving, or SOA bandwagon.