Recently, Tibco announced version 3.0 of their complex event processing (CEP) product, BusinessEvents. There's a lot of very nice marketing on their website, including an interview with Alan Lundberg - Alan is a very nice guy and a great evangelist for CEP. But unfortunately part of TIBCO's marketing department has gone too far, because the 3.0 release lays claim to "new and revolutionary" features that are actually quite mature and advanced in many of the leading CEP platforms. Since I've run two of them, I thought I would comment on TIBCO's claims of newness and revolutionaryness.
Let's examine the features" listed in the BusinessEvents 3.0 press release:
#1: "Decision Manager: New business user Interface provides simpler access for business users to write rules in their domains of expertise."
Business user oriented interfaces have been central to many CEP products for years, so this is neither new, nor revolutionary. For example, StreamBase Studio is the graphical CEP development platform interface for the StreamBase platform, and was part of the StreamBase product since release 1.0. Apama's "Event Modeler" graphical environment, which is an optional development tool and generates MonitorScript code, was added to the Apama product a number of years ago as well. And Agent Logic, a CEP vendor that specializes in the government market, is well known for excellent graphical CEP rule creation.
#2: Events Stream Processing: BusinessEvents query language allows you to continuously query event streams in real-time and take immediate action.
#3: Distributed BusinessEvents: Distributed cache and rules engine that provides practically unlimited scalability letting you monitor twice the magnitude of events previously possible.
Again, the original concept behind early CEP research was rooted in the assumption that event sources are exploding, and that any event-based computing fabric must be designed to support tremendous volumes of events, with low latency. Most of CEP vendors have supported distributed caching for years, and have moved on to much more advanced scalability techniques, including support for grids, low-latency connectivity options like binary FIX or Infiniband, and more. The historical context on distributed caching in CEP began long ago. StreamBase, for example, has been multi-threaded since day one, and supports grids, 64-bit, and a variety of other scalability options. Coral8 is also reputed to be very fast, and is multi-threaded. Apama, which has been around the longest, is single threaded, so Tibco has at least beaten them to the scalability punch.
And in addition, some platforms have very sophisticated functionality that allows application developers to develop CEP logic without needing to worry about the complexity of threading behavior (MUTEXs, critical sections, etc.) - and that's an interesting area of potential "revolution," but Tibco didn't describe what ground they have broken.
Once again, "first" is not necessary "best." But as more and more technologists become exposed to CEP and the different approaches vendors offer, a discussion can help prospective members of the CEP user community make more informed purchasing decisions.