Exclusive: Coral8 presents a sea of CEP opportunity
Coral8 Engine 4.6 speeds deployment of complex event processing with easy SQL-like programming
As event-driven architectures continue to proliferate in the business landscape, a company’s agility and ability to drive big wins are becoming increasingly burdened by indecipherable data and unrecognized signals. That’s where CEP (complex event processing) comes in. CEP solutions continuously troll your real-time data streams in search of defined event patterns, then fire off alerts to your enterprise systems to automate a follow-on process or corrective action.
Among the offerings in this budding field is Coral8 Engine 4.6, the latest release from the company of the same name. The application comprises the Coral8 Server — a stream-processing and correlation engine based on Coral8’s own CCL (Continuous Computation Language) — and an updated Coral8 Studio, an IDE for building and debugging in CCL that doubles as a monitoring UI for the runtime engine.
The new release focuses on improving developer usability with updates to the Studio IDE, such as dockable palette windows and improved project metadata. In addition, new language constructs and engine enhancements are geared toward improving pattern-matching and reliability.
On the downside, Coral8 offers none of the graphical development features found in competitors such as StreamBase. For an application that is otherwise extremely usable, this is a conspicuous oversight.
Compared to the well-provisioned dashboards and wizards in products such as Progress Apama, Coral8 also comes up short. Coral8 is now previewing an Adobe Flex-based approach to dashboard delivery, which is encouraging.
Further, Coral8’s simulation tools would benefit from the ability to create parameters of random data feeds, although playback of canned CSV (comma-separated value) streams is available. Administration and monitoring features also could stand improvement. Moreover, you won’t find any industry-specific functions in this box. This is a generic engine, so be prepared to build your own C/C++ filters for any in-process plug-ins.
On the plus side, this CEP solution is more affordable than many of its competitors, it includes basic fail-over and clustering features, it sports a well-documented SDK, and it provides good SOAP hooks into the engine. You could clean up by starting with Coral8 as your foundation and building out the feature set to address your specific needs.
In all, Coral8 Engine is perhaps the easiest CEP application that I have used for getting started. There should be little lag time for most developers to become productive.
Easing into CEP
Getting started with Coral8 Engine installation requires little effort, thanks to its well-designed setup routine. The IDE gets you going with a solid set of tutorials and examples that ease the learning curve. The well-documented help facilities are also a plus, although they would benefit from more technical depth.
Development projects in Coral8 center on defining the schema of your incoming data streams and constructing CCL queries of that data in the built-in text editor. About the only niceties of the editor are its color-coding of language keywords and a type-ahead facility. I’d prefer a tool that is a little more intuitive, and that provides better design-time validation against my schema constructs.