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
The functions for time-based correlation and sequencing are superb. For capturing events in nonlinear flows, the optional workflow designer module’s graphical tools proved quite nimble. The Interact module, also available at additional cost, allows you to build human interaction into the system: An exception alert -- anything that requires human intervention or approval -- fires off an e-mail that solicits responses for continued processing.
A number of other features make Director stand out. In-memory queuing of the event dispatcher improves nonpersistent rules processing and transaction speed. Hot fail-over boosts reliability, and newly improved clustering capability helps ensure availability of mission-critical processes.
An onboard rules repository provides basic check-in/check-out, and template adapters for parsing IBM Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise e-mail help Director slip into enterprise communications infrastructures.
Nevertheless, Director has room to grow. Event flow simulation would be a useful addition, and I would like to see the opportunity to import processes from external modeling tools. AptSoft indicated it would begin adding BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) support in the near future.
Furthermore, although the browser-based dashboard provides decent real-time monitoring of run-time activities, reporting facilities proved lackluster. In most cases, reports amounted to little more than static data dumps. Support for user-customizable reports and tools for onboard data analysis, as well as deep drill-down capabilities with correlation and grouping, would go a long way toward unearthing the wealth of event data buried in noisy messaging environments.
Using AptSoft Director for CEP 4.0, businesses can begin to comprehend the real patterns and trends developing within their event-based ecosystems. Requiring no modification to existing systems, and priced at a fraction of the cost of less-flexible BPM solutions, Director makes it possible to draw meaningful correlations among the blizzard of low-level events otherwise obscured from decision-making processes.
iSpheresEvent Server 5.2
The iSpheres Event Server 5.2 and its companion IDE, EPL Studio, deliver a lightweight but sturdy platform for CEP applications focusing on activities within relatively narrow time windows.
Clocking in at more than 470,000 events per second, this Java-based package -- adapted from research out of a Caltech/U.S. Air Force project in the late 1990s -- can burn through streams of real-time data with exhaustive analysis. On the downside, Event Server lacks the comprehensive persistence, clustering, and load balancing capabilities of AptSoft Director. Limited means to uniformly administer distributed CEP farms and only bare-bones reporting also make Event Server a rougher ride than Director, but still well worth a look.
Installation and setup of the Event Server was a swift and truly painless process, due in part to the lightweight infrastructure on which it runs. Event Server consists of an event-monitoring engine -- capable of capturing and processing JMS and SOAP data streams -- and several console and browser-based management interfaces for basic local and remote server administration.
As opposed to AptSoft Director, Event Server neither requires nor supports an RDBMS for persisting events. Instead of pushing data out to a relational database, Event Server uses a flat file on disk. Nor is there a need for a Web or application server, as iSpheres bundles the Jetty HTTP Server and Servlet container.