The complex event processing (CEP) landscape continued to evolve last week as Informatica acquired low-latency middleware specialist 29West. The acquisition puts Informatica in competition with IBM’s low latency offering (WebSphere MQ) and Tibco (Rendezvous). But how will this move change the low latency landscape? What are the implications for CEP?
29West is well-respected for low-latency messaging (actually their specialty is ultra-low latency, on order of microseconds). Former Talarian executive Mark Mahowald founded 29West in 2002 after Tibco acquired his old company. 29West's flagship customer, Wombat Financial Software, was acquired by NYSE Technology in 2008. Wombat is optimized for 29West and heavily in use in the capital markets, and by StreamBase customers. Also, last September, Informatica acquired CEP specialist AgentLogic.
In "9 predictions for the future of event processing (CEP)" from January, our predictions included that software stacks will continue to miss the [CEP] mark, and that a new event processing stack will emerge. Informatica's recent moves might prove both of these predictions to be wrong.
Informatica now owns two key unique pieces of a low-latency "stack": CEP and messaging. So Informatica may “hit the mark” if they combine 29West and AgentLogic (by contrast, Progress Software is steering Apama away from low-latency toward high-latency business process management applications by merging CEP with BPM in order to compete with IBM and Oracle).
So the 29West acquisition is a step toward a new event-based software stack for Informatica. But what comes next?
1. Will Informatica target low-latency messaging or low-latency everything?
29West instantly makes Informatica a formidable low-latency rival to Tibco Rendezvous and IBM WebSphere MQ. But their CEP engine AgentLogic is more of a desktop CEP platform, not low-latency CEP, and is typically used by federal government intelligence analysts.
So will Informatica evolve AgentLogic to become an enterprise-class, low-latency CEP engine? And, if they do, might they combine AgentLogic with 29West into one low-latency event processing stack?
2. Will Informatica break out of the federal market with CEP?
Informatica’s AgentLogic CEP product has a fine reputation and customer base in the federal market. 29West’s most dominant customer base is in the capital markets (30% of their customers). Will Informatica attempt to cross-sell CEP to 29West customers in the capital markets?
3. Will Informatica’s CEP be middleware-agnostic or 29West-specific?
General-purpose CEP platforms are middleware agnostic - over 75% of StreamBase customers use more than one type of middleware. For example, foreign exchange (FX) trading applications frequently connect to 2-10 venues simultaneously, and rarely over 29West. Orders are emitted via FIX, rarely via 29West. Will Informatica spend the effort to build the connectivity users outside the federal government demand?
Depending on the answers to these three questions, Informatica’s direction with AgentLogic and 29West could begin to clarify their low-latency event processing strategy, and create a significant entrant into the race to build the next big software powerhouse based on events.