"We appreciate our successful collaboration with Logimethods in our Enterprise Integration program. With their pragmatic approach and their leading-edge expertise in strategy, architecture and implementation, Logimethods has helped us to reach our goals faster and to lower our TCO."
Linda Michaud, Vice-President Information Technologies
Complex Event Processing (CEP) is a technology for low-latency filtering, correlating, aggregating, and computing on real-world event data. CEP uses techniques such as detection of complex patterns of multiple heterogeneous events, event streams processing, event correlation and abstraction, event hierarchies, and relationships between events such as causality, membership, and timing. CEP does not compete but rather can complement and contribute to technologies such as service oriented architecture (SOA), event driven architecture (EDA) and business process management (BPM).
The goal of CEP is to enable the information contained in the events flowing through all of the layers of the enterprise IT infrastructure to be discovered, understood in terms of its impact on high level management goals and business processes, and acted upon in real time.
BPM and CEP
BPM mainly focuses on end-to-end business processes, in order for a company to align and continuously optimize its activities in its operational environment. However, the optimization of a business does not rely solely upon its individual, end-to-end processes. Seemingly disparate processes can affect each other significantly. With processes that are unpredictably non-linear, dynamic, and continuously influenced by outside events, the precise process path often cannot be known in advance because the process itself has multiple starting and ending points, is constantly changing, and can be influenced by activity that is not defined within the process and not known until execution time. For example, late flights may drastically change the routine operation of baggage handling (everything from arrival gate locations to crew staffing assignments), making the advance modeling of a linear process meaningless. CEP excels at executing this type of process.
SOA and CEP
Traditionally, architects faced with application design looked at SOA technologies such as business process management (BPM), business rules engine (BRE), and business activity monitoring (BAM) tools. These tools, however, are best suited to problems where the process steps are linear and predictable and do not require contextual information about timing and sequence of event patterns.
While CEP includes functionality that seems similar to the more traditional tools listed above, when used by a platform for designing and executing event-driven processes, this functionality supports a larger capability that goes far beyond what traditional tools can do to address these new types of business problems.
When implemented inside an SOA, CEP extends and enhances it to cover event-driven applications and hybrid applications involving events and services. First, CEP capabilities augment the ability to orchestrate services by enabling event-pattern triggers. So rather than simply being called sequentially, services can be called based on complex patterns of system and human activity.
Second, CEP technology includes functionality to allow services to generate events, something they do not natively do. This provides extremely powerful capabilities when building application that involve both event-pattern trigger AND sequential process management, such as IT security.
In a typical IT security application, a complex pattern of events may trigger the opening of a “case” for investigation. This case follows a predictable, sequential pattern of approval and escalation and is ideal for standard process flow. When this is enhanced with the event correlation features of CEP in identifying suspect patterns, a more complete SOA platform emerges with superior capabilities.
CEP is an emerging technology uniquely suited to solving a new class of business problems found in multiple industries. CEP enables the automated detection and understanding of often subtle and shifting patterns of human and system activity flowing through an IT infrastructure as well as the orchestration of timely responses.
Companies that adopt CEP will be in a position to create truly innovative and cost-effective applications that traditional tools cannot deliver at a comparable level of investment and risk.