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Sybase Acquires Event Processing Vendor Aleri

Deal complements Sybase IQ analytic database with real-time stream analysis technology.

Sybase yesterday announced an agreement to acquire Aleri Inc., a complex event processing (CEP) vendor entrenched on Wall Street and growing in other industries. The deal bolsters Sybase's position in financial services as well as its ability to support real-time analytics.

"If we can be the leader in real-time analytics in the capital markets, customers will turn to us as real-time analytics becomes a must-have technology in other markets ," said Neil McGovern, director of marketing at Sybase.

CEP is used to spot patterns in fast-moving, high-volume data streams as they course through business systems, rather than after the data is stored and becomes a matter of history. The technology was pioneered on financial trading floors and in national intelligence circles, but CEP is now being adopted for telecommunications network monitoring, smart power grid management, real-time Web clickstream analysis and adaptive supply chain/shipping logistics planning.

Aleri actually has two CEP platforms and customer bases, having acquired Coral8 in March 2009. Prior to that deal, Sybase had acquired the rights to use the Coral8 CEP engine as the basis of its own Sybase CEP product, which was introduced in May 2008. Sybase says it will embrace Aleri's strategy to integrate the best of the Aleri and Coral8 products into a single server.

"For now we're calling it the Sybase Streaming Platform, and it's going to be the upgrade path for all of the Coral8, Sybase and Aleri CEP customers," McGovern said.

Aleri gives Sybase application templates and data adapters it previously lacked. It will also complement Sybase IQ, the vendor's column-oriented analytic database used for fast querying in high-data-volume environments. Column-oriented databases are faster than conventional relational databases (such as Sybase ASE, IBM DB2 and Oracle) in most analytic applications because they can query selected attributes without wading through non-relevant data in each row.

"The customers that have purchased IQ for network analytics also want to be able to anticipate what's going to happen in the next five minutes so they can react, and that's where CEP comes in," McGovern said.

The main competitors to Sybase and Aleri are Progress Apama in the capital markets and TIBCO in other markets, McGovern said. Streambase, IBM and Oracle also offer CEP technology. Sybase says it has 40 customers of its own CEP product and it more than doubles that total with the Aleri acquisition. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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