Ever since SAP announced its acquisition of Sybase last May, I’ve been curious as to the future of Sybase’s event processing assets. At the time of the acquisition, it appeared as though CEP was a footnote to Sybase’s database and mobile offerings:
“Both SAP and Sybase will benefit from synergies across product lines and markets. SAP will accelerate the reach of its solutions across mobile platforms and drive forward the realization of its in-memory computing vision. This will drive higher user adoption of SAP software and unlock significant business value out of existing customer investments. In addition, Sybase’s innovative mobile platform can connect all applications and data (SAP and non-SAP) and enable them on mobile devices. SAP, Sybase and their customers will be able to tap into Sybase’s messaging network to reach 4 billion mobile subscribers through 850+ operator relationships worldwide and engage their consumers via alerts, transactions and promotions on their mobile devices.
For Sybase, SAP in-memory technology will provide the opportunity for dramatic performance improvements to its analytic processing capabilities. Sybase will also be able to bring its complex event processing and analytics expertise, which was built in the financial sector, to customers in other industries, markets and product areas in which SAP has a complementary, strong presence. Finally, Sybase’s core database business will be enhanced by SAP in-memory technology to deliver integrated transactional and analytical capabilities. At the same time, SAP reinforced its dedication to customer choice by stating that it will continue its commitment to supporting leading database vendors.
The synergies between the two companies will also expand opportunities for the SAP and Sybase ecosystems. Software and implementation partners can capture new opportunities by innovating on Sybase’s market-leading mobile platform, which will make it easier to create, deliver and securely manage mobile enterprise applications across major device types.”
Recently, as a result of an inquiry from a SAP-curious client of mine, I’ve had the opportunity to get involved with SAP’s blogger program. [Non-compensated outreach program]. In discussing my interests with SAP, I emphasized event processing and inquired about the fate of not only Sybase’s RAP, but also the assets of “CorAleri“.
Sidenote [corrected*]: In March of 2009, two of the original independent CEP companies products, Aleri and Coral8, merged came together under the Aleri brand, as the result of an asset sale. Less than a year later, in February 2010, Sybase purchased the assets of Aleri, retaining hiring key players and supporting the product development direction to combine the best of Aleri and Coral8 products. A few months later, SAP purchased Sybase, leaving many of us to wonder what would happen with Aleri and Coral8.
Last week, I had the opportunity to connect with Jeff Wootton of Sybase, formerly Aleri, who is responsible for Sybase CEP and RAP. In addition to chatting about the ever widening applicability of event processing, Jeff answered my questions on product direction and market positioning.
Jeff began by sharing that CEP (event processing) is viewed as a strategic growth technology within Sybase. Currently, CEP is offered on its own (Sybase Aleri Streaming Platform) and as part of Sybase RAP.
While heavily utilized in financial services, Jeff spoke of adoption in other industry verticals, including telecommunications and healthcare.
Event processing isn’t limited to the Sybase product line. SAP’s new BusinessObjects Event Insight product embeds the Aleri engine to provide the complex event processing capability:
“SAP BusinessObjects Event Insight is a new EIM solution that enables business users to discover and understand the business impact of events in real-time by delivering:
- A unique intelligent event grid (patent-pending) that distributes the processing and monitoring of events in real-time from multiple data sources across a distributed network
- A complex event processing (CEP) engine that processes event streams ( in excess of 500K per record) to identify complex patterns that may represent business opportunities or threats
- Integration with the semantic layer in SAP BusinessObjects BI platform, which supports queries on top of event streams, correlation of event data with transactional data, alerts to business users, and delivery of information to BI tools, such as SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards and SAP Crystal Reports
- An administrative UI enabling you to set up event agents on multiple data sources (e.g. data warehouses, applications, sensors, message-driven middleware) to monitor structured or unstructured data without programming”
Embedding the Aleri engine within BusinessObjects reminded me of my very first CEP product briefing, in early 2006, with Terry Cunningham, founder of both Crystal Decisions (Crystal Reports) and Coral8. Cunningham’s vision for CEP engines followed the path set by Crystal Reports, a CEP engine embedded in every business application. It has taken awhile, but we are on the way.
Lastly, Jeff spoke to product development. Sybase’s acquisition of Aleri significantly increased engineering resources and investment. As a result, a major release is underway, planned for August. And yes, this release begins delivery on the plan to combine the best of the Aleri and Coral8 product lines. Jeff shared some details, but alas, I’m not at liberty to share at this time.
The bottom line: CEP and event processing is alive and well at Sybase and expanding into SAP. I plan to keep an eye on these developments. You might want to as well.
*Note: After I posted this, Colin Clark shared via Twitter that Aleri-Coral8 and Sybase-Aleri weren’t mergers, but asset sales. Thanks Colin!