The final podcast from the SOA Consortium’s SOA and event processing day is a hot topics roundtable discussion featuring Ian Foster of Cisco, Bruce Henderson of Savant, Ed Lynch of IBM, and Greg Peres of Sun Microsystems. As moderator, I asked each to start by sharing their thoughts on SOA & event processing business drivers, technology challenges, human/organizational elements and event processing’s market timing – new or retro-technology strategy.
In their remarks, each roundtable leader called out at least one business scenario for SOA and event processing, these included manufacturing floor management, real-time customer loyalty programs, healthcare and electronic records management and business visibility. In respect to technology challenges, the conversation centered on dealing with massive amounts of information, and the requisite implications on volume, scale, filtering and security. An interesting point on the human aspect is that today’s teenagers, with their ubiquitous use of texting, are already very event aware, quick to respond to problems or opportunities delivered via an event-based mechanism.
After the opening insights, the roundtable leaders engaged in discussion with each other, and meeting attendees on a variety of topics including event-based information proliferation and privacy, event and event emitter standards, recognizing event patterns and business trends, and business confidence in automated, event-driven reactions.
As the session closed, I asked each roundtable leader to provide a design tip to architects and developers whose services need to either emit or respond to events. Essentially, the tie between services, instrumentation and events. Their responses follow:
Ian Foster: “I think it starts with the business user, a conversation with the business user about the key events that they would want information on. You know, is it a key event, the location of that part on the manufacturing floor? Is a key event the temperature of that truck coming across the country? What are the key events? And then look at how you measure to instrument.”
Greg Peres: “Make sure that as an architect, you are choosing technologies and platforms that are open, so that the event that you generate and design are open to other technologies and integrate, so that you can process them in a variety of different ways.”
Ed Lynch: “In my experience, the technical aspect is to make the event emission extremely lightweight…Do not make it intrusive, because at the end of the day you do not want to have somebody make a performance trade-off between the emitting of the event and the driving of the transaction. On the consuming side, make sure that the event correlation engine can drive services with a standard interface. Once you do that, I think the standards on the driving side and the standards on the event emissions side – as long as they are lightweight – it becomes a ‘synthesize the infrastructure mechanism’, as opposed to an ‘integrated into the infrastructure’ mechanism.”
Bruce Henderson: “Do not be afraid to create event models. I know it is sort of the bastard child of UML to draw these little blob boxes and put event transitions between them, but I have found in the past that that is a very powerful means to be able to identify and really get a handle on what your events could and should be. And working with the business user is a tremendous leverage in that.
And I would also say that do not treat your event pipes and your event information as stovepipes. Decorate them with meta data, because at some point down the road as it was mentioned before, when you put these things out, you do not really actually know necessarily who is going to consume them or why. So make them as interesting as possible without overloading them so that they can find lots of neat homes and friends to play with.”
To listen to the roundtable podcast or download the roundtable transcript please go here.
[Disclosure: Cisco, IBM, Savant & Sun are not clients of Elemental Links, however they are sponsors of the SOA Consortium, which is an Elemental Links client].