Bring business analysis to streaming events
AptSoft's and iSpheres' complex event processing solutions provide effective ways to sift business meaning from system events in real time
If you get it right, CEP can be far more flexible, responsive, and cost-effective than using traditional BAM (business activity monitoring) and BPM solutions. CEP doesn’t require ripping out or recoding existing systems, and it is actually best applied in modest increments -- allowing for frequent and easy comparison of ROI metrics to rule sets.
Following is a look at products from two pioneers offering business-grade CEP applications. AptSoft Director for CEP 4.0 provides an infrastructure for CEP well-suited to apps such as fraud detection and CRM, whereas iSpheres Event Server 5.2 focuses on financial apps, RFID, and CRM. Both are doing great work applying CEP to their respective areas of expertise.
AptSoft Director for CEP 4.0
AptSoft took the wraps off its shiny new Director for CEP 4.0 release in February. The solution layers a Java-based event-processing engine atop metadata and policy modules for collecting and analyzing event stream data. Perhaps most importantly, Director provides easy-to-use, plain-English tools that business analysts can use to construct the complex rule sets and filters required to draw business intelligence from low-level events.
Factor in provisions for dynamic data retrieval, active insight and monitoring, and support for nonlinear, stateful workflow, and Director shapes up to be one of the more advanced CEP suites on the market.
Capable of processing roughly 1,600 events per second, Director is well-suited to small and midsize projects in need of flexible rule creation and maintenance. Included templates -- such as those for bridging communication with CRM applications Salesforce.com and Salesnet -- help put development over the top.
Setting up Director was a rather tedious process, requiring a good deal of manual tweaking to the underlying test bed and post-installation modifications. AptSoft would do well to beef up the wizard-driven configuration tools. Nevertheless, all went off without a hitch.
Event processing in Director involves capturing the message streams from your business systems -- or Touchpoints -- such as off a JMS (Java Message Service) message queue to create intermediate event objects for analysis. Successful matches to comparative rules, which can include relationship and temporal assessment, can invoke actions such as an alert or an e-mail to a customer, or they can spawn an entirely new event.
Touchpoints can come from any JMS-ready source, Web service, or via a custom adapter, allowing you to incorporate transactional data from your sales-force automation application, call center systems, EAI applications, or Web site. Although AptSoft doesn’t offer any custom integration adapters itself, partner iWay Software can assist, or you can do it yourself using the modest SDK.
Design is definitely a strong suit for AptSoft. The plain-English syntax and graphical tools used to create pattern matching rules and temporal filters are inspired. Compared with iSpheres EPL, creating rule sets and event flows was a snap. Nontechnical business consultants will be able to sit down and immediately become productive -- really. Deployment to the servers is a one-click process.
Director’s intermediate objects can also dynamically draw in static data sources without custom coding, so rules can easily combine RDBMS queries -- for a customer’s VIP status, for example -- with real-time inputs to produce finely tuned actions such as placing a customer service ticket on the call-back queue.