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Complex Event Processing Special Report

Learn about Complex Event Processing (CEP) Technology, how combining CEP with SOA offers business benefits, and what architects need to consider when evaluating a CEP solution.

Complex event processing (CEP) has had success on Wall Street, where the world's financial markets are heavily computerized and there are massive bits of information that can be aggregated into events, analyzed and programmatically acted upon to gain profit. Even in 2008-2009, with the economy flagging, CEP systems paid for themselves on Wall Street. But Wall Street is a unique use case, and CEP has had a slow haul trying to expand beyond the financial market. CEP systems have made some progress away from Wall Street, and even overseas. As deregulation changed the face of ocean shipping, Orient Overseas Container Line employed CEP to track their containers at sea.

In or out of the financial sector, the marriage of complex event processing systems and a service-oriented architecture has the potential to provide a severe boost to enterprise agility. According to Gartner analyst and CEP expert Roy Schulte, the progress of the past decade has brought enterprise architecture up to nearly real-time visibility. Tools such as BPMS suites are making the process of tracking and reporting events simpler and bringing it up from down-in-the-weeds programming to a higher level of modeling with processes and rules engines.

However, for most enterprises CEP is still not a simple matter. The C in CEP still stands for complexity. Some trading systems, for example analyze thousands of events per second in order to stay up to the moment with stocks, bonds and exchange rates around the world. Dealing with this high volume of complex events requires a dedicated CEP engine under the hood, but oftentimes users are more interested in the higher level modeling tools that the user interface provides than the inner workings. Business users' first concern is what they can do from the interface and how the CEP engine boosts their performance.

Depending on how enterprise architects implement event-based programming systems, business users may find they can see and do more than ever with advanced event-driven architecture. As EA and SOA governance expert Todd Biske looks to the future he sees that event processing is likely the next big thing in enterprise architecture. He backs up his claim with the popularity of three major forces: mobile applications, the need to navigate an ever increasing plethora of information, and a new set of JavaScript libraries called node.js (which may not take the Web development world by storm on its own, but could still herald the coming of a new way of presenting Web applications).

According to Biske there is no shortage of information streaming into the enterprise, but much of it may come across as pure noise unless it is properly processed - which is where CEP comes in, analyzing huge amounts of data as it changes and pointing out important shifts. One relatively simple use case that Biske points out is with mobile device applications that may soon rely on geolocation to turn them on and present the user with information based on GPS coordinates. That type of cell phone feature is only the start of what event processing can do for the agile enterprise.

Let us know what you think about complex event processing; email Jack Vaughan, Site Editor.

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How CEP, stream processing and hybrid clouds meet

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