EPTS, the Symposium of Trento
Posted by Louis Lovas
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I suppose that was a question debated at the Council of Trent that took place in Trento, Italy back in the 16th century. However, the Event Process Technical Society's (EPTS) annual symposium just last week took up residence in Trento to discuss and debate a host of lofty topics on event processing.
- CEP's role and relationship to BPM (or more appropriately event-driven BPM)
- Event Processing in IT Systems management
- Event-based systems for Robotics
- EPTS Working Groups ...
Granted, not everyone approaches it with the same viewpoint. IT Systems Management people don't think about processing and correlating events, they think about device management, KPI's, Alerts and the like. Someone building, managing a business process is likely concerned with managing Orders - validating them, stock allocations, warehouses and shipments. Nonetheless, a common framework model behind these systems is event processing.
Two of my favorite sessions at the EPTS Symposium were a panel session on the EPTS Mission and an open forum on Grand Challenges, a brainstorming session focused on identifying barriers to the adoption of CEP.
Four panelists, myself included presented their expectations of the EPTS and it's role as an industry consortium, it's goals and what improvements can be made. As a baseline, the EPTS does have a existing mission statement defined as ...
Given this mission statement and my own expectations there are a number of basic intentions the EPTS should provide to the uninitiated to event processing:
|Awareness||Provide commercial business and industry the necessary knowledge of event processing as a technology supported by numerous vendors with continuing research in academia.|
|Definition||Provide a concise and definitive meaning of event processing, a Taxonomy of Event Processing so to speak. This is both from the horizontal technology perspective and also a vertical focus for a handful of specific industries. It's often difficult for business people to understand technology without the context of a business or application focus.|
|Differentiation||Provide a clear distinction that defines event processing and distinguishes it from other technologies. Event processing is available is many forms, this symposium provided evidence of that. Much of it is available in specialized form as in IT Systems management. There are also pure play event processing (CEP) vendors, such as Progress/Apama. But there are also Rules engines, Business Intelligence platforms, Analytic platforms, etc. This easily presents a bewildering world filled for choice, conflicting and overlapping marketing messages. The EPTS is in the perfect position to provide that clarity behind defining what is CEP and what isn't.|
|Cooperative||Event Processing rarely operates in a vacuum. There are many synergistic technologies that closely pair with CEP. Often this can have a specific vertical business flavor, but often it's other platform technology such as BPM and temporal databases.|
The EPTS has four working groups that have been active for the last year: Use-cases, Reference Architecture, Language Analysis and Glossary. To a large extent the working groups have provided and are working towards the definition of CEP that is clear. However, there still a need to highlight the salient value of event processing. For specific vertical domains, the value of CEP is clear-cut simply because the fit and function is tailor made. In Capital Markets, for example algo trading has all the hallmarks of a CEP application - high performance, low latency, temporal analytics and a streaming data paradigm fit-for-purpose. However, there are other application domains where CEP is equally viable but much more subtle. I believe the EPTS can provide a vendor-neutral taxonomy of event processing - from the basics to the advanced. Explain why it's unique and different, why language is important and how it is synergistic with a host of other technologies. To this end, the group has decided to form two new working groups to focus on many of these areas. Clearly a forward thinking move.
The Event Processing Technical Society is an organization made of up both vendors and academics. We're held together by a common thread, a goal that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and our collective will benefit all even as many of us are undeniably competitors.
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