Software // Information Management
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3/18/2009
10:11 AM
Curt Monash
Curt Monash
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Complex Event Processing Vendors Flounder

Independent CEP vendors continue to flounder, at least outside the financial services and national intelligence markets... So far as I can tell, this is a new version of a repeated story. A clever alternative to relational DBMS was invented... Initial high hopes got dashed, companies failed to grow rapidly, and shareholders grew tired.

Independent CEP (Complex/Event Processing) vendors continue to flounder, at least outside the financial services and national intelligence markets.

  • StreamBase once planned to conquer the world, making an impact as big as database management's. Now it has retreated into niche markets.
  • Progress Software, a decent-sized company, put a large fraction of its energy into Apama. Little has happened outside the financial service sector.
  • Coral8 has some great-sounding ideas. But Coral8 now has merged into Aleri, basically a financial-markets specialist.
  • Mike Franklin says some ambitious things on behalf of Truviso, but I haven't noticed much traction there either.
CEP's penetration outside of its classical markets isn't quite zero. Customers include several transportation companies (various vendors), Sallie Mae (Coral8), a game vendor or two (StreamBase, if I recall correctly), Verizon (Aleri, I think), and more. But I just wrote that list from memory -- based mainly on not-so-recent deals -- and a quick tour of the vendors' web sites hasn't turned up much I overlooked. (Truviso does have a recent deal with Technorati, but that's not exactly a blue chip customer these days.)

So far as I can tell, this is a new version of a repeated story. A clever alternative to relational DBMS was invented. It proved superior in some specific applications and vertical markets. It failed to achieve much broader adoption. Initial high hopes got dashed, companies failed to grow rapidly, and shareholders grew tired.

So where will things go from here? My best guesses include:

  • The financial trading market isn't going away for CEP. Super-low-latency is really needed there.
  • As much as I love the idea of CEP-infused BI, it will be adopted only at the rate broader-based BI vendors can support.
  • A few niches will generate some business for CEP in data reduction. Leading candidates are the ones where there's been a little traction to date -- national intelligence, transportation, web analytics, and so on.

Sadly, that's about it.Independent CEP vendors continue to flounder, at least outside the financial services and national intelligence markets... So far as I can tell, this is a new version of a repeated story. A clever alternative to relational DBMS was invented... Initial high hopes got dashed, companies failed to grow rapidly, and shareholders grew tired.

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