Then, once I had a handle on this complex multifaceted “event,” I banged out the CIR in the standard Current Analysis format. Here’s an abridged final text of what I published that day (almost final, that is—I’m sure my editors corrected typos etc prior to publication:
Competitive Intelligence Report
Module Data Management
Report Title StreamBase Launches Next Generation Complex Event Processing Platform
Analyst(s) James Kobielus
Date June 20, 2007
Peer Reviewed By
B2B Communities, End Users, Global 2000, IT Implementers, Large Enterprises, Small to Medium Enterprises, Systems Integrators, Third Party Implementers
· Current Perspective: Positive on StreamBase’s announcement and preview of the forthcoming version 5.0 of its flagship complex event processing (CEP)/event stream processing (ESP) product platform. The vendor has further differentiated its CEP/ESP solutions by announcing a wide range of enhancements in connectivity, scalability, performance, development, presentation, security, administration, deployment, and platform integration.
· Vendor Importance: High to StreamBase, because it needs to continue differentiating itself through deep functionality in the fast-emerging but overcrowded CEP/ESP market, in which major SOA vendors—such as TIBCO, BEA, Progress Software, and IBM—have flagged as a high priority in their ongoing product strategies.
· Market Impact: High on the BI and DI market, because CEP/ESP—also known as “event processing”--is a high priority in the evolution of the service-oriented architecture (SOA), enterprise service bus (ESB), business intelligence (BI), data warehousing (DW), and data integration (DI) markets; because StreamBase is a fast-growing CEP/ESP pure-play with a strong product family; and because the next-generation of StreamBase’s product family, now in advanced beta, will include a broad range of enhancements that raise the functionality bar for it many competitors,
We are taking a positive stance on StreamBase’s announcement and preview of the forthcoming version 5.0 of its flagship complex event processing (CEP)/event stream processing (ESP) product platform. The vendor has further differentiated its CEP/ESP solutions by announcing a wide range of enhancements in connectivity, scalability, performance, development, presentation, security, administration, deployment, and platform integration.
StreamBase’s announcement confirms trends discussed elsewhere (see the Business Intelligence and Data Integration market assessments under Data Management). First, real-time, event-driven application architectures are becoming more important in e-business environments, a long-running trend that continues to stimulate the development and growth of the CEP/ESP market. Second, the volume of time-critical events, messages, and other data that enterprise and carrier networks must process, store, and manage continues to grow, a trend that places a high priority on robust, scalable, high-availability, high-performance CEP/ESP. Third, open-source platforms such as Eclipse continue to grow in importance, thereby spurring vendors to incorporate those platforms into their product architectures. Fourth, interactive browser-based visualization is becoming a standard feature of many data-rich applications, a trend that is causing vendors to implement a growing range of rich Internet application (RIA) standards.
StreamBase’s announcement offers the following value points for its customers. First, StreamBase announced that StreamBase 5.0 will be generally available by September 30. Second, the release will full integrate Eclipse into the StreamBase Studio development tool. Third, the release will include an extended industry-specific Application Framework for algorithmic equities trading. Third, the release will support multi-event CEP pattern matching through an enhanced rules syntax. Fourth, it will add support for processing and persistence of binary large objects (BLOBs). Fifth, it will introduces integration with several third-party RIA environments. Sixth, it will include an upgrade to the Chronicle persistence framework for time-series data, supporting optimized read/write integration and bulk loading with third-party repositories from IBM, Sybase, and Vertica. Seventh, it will include new advanced security capabilities, including event-level security support, network data encryption, and secure, role-based authorization. Eighth, it will introduce an Eclipse-based Adapter Toolkit to connect StreamBase CEP applications to virtually any data source. Ninth, it will introduce many enhancements in administration and deployment.
StreamBase’s announcement was a necessity for the vendor to continue differentiating itself through deep functionality in the fast-emerging but overcrowded CEP/ESP market. In addition, StreamBase continues to scale its CEP/ESP software and optimize its architecture more tightly with its principal hardware and software partners’ platforms. Furthermore, the vendor is providing application developers with a more flexible pattern-matching rules syntax for creating optimized CEP/ESP algorithms for processing and persisting massive amounts of time-critical data. And StreamBase has integrated its CEP/ESP development tool fully with Eclipse, allowing customers to leverage and extend their commitment to that open-source platform.
However, StreamBase, like all CEP/ESP vendors, has staked out a narrow market segment that has not yet been able to penetrate the enterprise mainstream in most customer verticals. Also, the vendor is vulnerable to diversification by its hardware partners—and by SOA, ESB, BI, DW, and DI vendors generally--into the CEP/ESP market. Furthermore, StreamBase has not provided a roadmap under which it will roll out industry-specific CEP/ESP application frameworks for any verticals other than financial services. And it has not introduced any interfaces to third-party business process management (BPM) environments that would enable its CEP/ESP platform to support real-time, event-driven workflows or “closed-loop” operational BI.
StreamBase’s announcement sends a signal that it intends to continue evolving its CEP/ESP platform rapidly to differentiate itself from rivals in this crowded, competitive segment. Rival CEP/ESP vendors should immediately state how they match or surpass StreamBase’s latest release in connectivity, scalability, performance, development, presentation, security, administration, deployment, and platform-integration features. Vendors of SOA, ESB, BI, DW, or DI offerings that lack CEP/ESP products should scout for strategic acquisitions from a very promising field of startups. Existing StreamBase users should begin to evaluate the current beta of StreamBase 5.0 right away and urge the vendor to make good on its promise to make this new version generally available by the end of September.
In summary, StreamBase remains a pacesetter in the emerging CEP/ESP marketplace, and its forthcoming version 5.0 release of its flagship product platform will help it to hold existing customers and attract prospective customers who are new to this market.
Positives and Concerns
· StreamBase has further differentiated its complex event processing (CEP)/event stream processing (ESP) platform by announcing a wide range of enhancements for the forthcoming version 5.0, which is due to be released by the end of the third quarter. StreamBase 5.0, which was previewed this week at a financial services industry conference, offers new functionality in CEP/ESP connectivity, scalability, performance, development, presentation, security, administration, deployment, and platform integration.
· StreamBase continues to scale its CEP/ESP software and optimize its architecture more tightly with its principal hardware and software partners’ platforms. StreamBase 5.0 enhances the vendor’s Chronicle persistence framework, which further improves the platform’s read/write integration with high-capacity, time-series event-data stores, such as IBM DB2 9, Sybase Real-time Analytics Platform, and Vertica. This release will also add support for processing and persisting binary large objects.
· StreamBase is providing CEP/ESP application developers with greater flexibility in writing custom rules for real-time, low-latency, complex event processing with sophisticated pattern matching. StreamBase 5.0 will introduce an enhanced pattern-matching syntax, which will help developers to define rules that recognize the order, presence, or absence of complex combinations of real-time events. This release will allow patterns to be identified within single event streams or across multiple parallel streams over any given period.
· StreamBase has integrated its CEP/ESP development tool fully with Eclipse. In the upcoming release, the StreamBase Studio tool is being enhanced to support graphical CEP/ESP application development involving Eclipse plug-ins, Java code, and the vendor’s StreamSQL query language. From within the tool, application developers will be able to access a full set of StreamBase-provided Eclipse plug-ins for source-code version control, task management, graphical UI development and integration, XML editors, and SQL design.
· StreamBase has integrated its CEP/ESP platform with a broad range of rich Internet application (RIA) environments, supporting more interactive, browser-based visualization of complex, real-time patterns and trends. StreamBase 5.0 will integrate with Adobe Flex, Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation, Java Swing, and Eclipse Standard Widget Toolkit. The platform will enable bi-directional interaction in any of those RIA environments, a useful feature when CEP/ESP applications are designed to monitor and control systems and other resources in real time.
· StreamBase has expanded the connectivity, security, and administration features of its platform, providing an even more robust platform for mission-critical, real-time event-streaming applications. StreamBase 5.0’s Eclipse-based Adapter Toolkit enables will allow CEP/ESP applications to connect to virtually any data source. The release will add event-level security support, network data encryption, secure directory interfaces, and role-based user authorization. And it will introduce enhanced remote administration, error management, cross-application data sharing, and other new administration and deployment features.
· StreamBase, like all CEP/ESP vendors, has staked out a narrow market segment that has not yet been able to penetrate the enterprise mainstream in most customer verticals. Most CEP/ESP vendors are primarily addressing the real-time event-processing requirements of three verticals: financial services, telecommunications, and government/military. Though to some degree this niche can be regarded as a segment of the operational business intelligence (BI) market, few enterprises consider CEP/ESP in their BI planning exercises.
· StreamBase is vulnerable to diversification by its hardware partners—and by SOA, ESB, BI, DW, and DI vendors generally--into the CEP/ESP market. Over time, CEP/ESP will become a core, integrated feature of all computing platforms, and of the SOA, BI, DW, and DI environments that integrate tightly into those platforms. This trend can be seen in recent moves by TIBCO and BEA into the CEP/ESP segment, and by IBM’s recent announcement of plans to productize its “stream computing” technology.
· StreamBase has not provided a roadmap under which it will roll out industry-specific CEP/ESP application frameworks for any verticals other than financial services. Also, StreamBase lacks packaged interactive-visualization applications that it can use to address the real-time BI and CEP requirements of distinct horizontal and vertical markets. In this latter regard, StreamBase and other CEP/ESP vendors lag behind TIBCO, which will very likely leverage Spotfire’s “guided analytics” to target particular CEP/ESP horizontal and vertical segments.
· StreamBase has not introduced any interfaces to third-party business process management (BPM) environments that would enable its CEP/ESP platform to support real-time, event-driven workflows or “closed-loop” operational BI. In this regard, StreamBase lags behind SeeWhy, which has introduce a toolkit in the latest version of its CEP/ESP platform that enables standards-based integration with third-party BPM and rules-engine environments.
· StreamBase has previewed a broad range of new CEP/ESP features that will not be generally available for another three months. Prospects who find these latest announcements enticing may get frustrated waiting for StreamBase to ship the promised release. Just as serious, prospects may get distracted by announcements that other CEP/ESP vendors, established and startup, are likely to make in coming months.
Recommended Vendor Actions
· StreamBase should seek to be acquired by a leading SOA, ESB, BI, DW, or DI vendor, so as to increase its visibility in today’s crowded CEP/ESP market; leverage the acquirer’s R&D resources; tap into the acquirer’s global sales, marketing, and channels; and integrate its offerings tightly into a best-of-breed enterprise software product family.
· To drive its CEP/ESP technology into the enterprise primetime market, StreamBase should consider OEM’ing to SOA, ESB, BI, DW, and/or DI vendors; developing midmarket packaging, pricing, partnerships, and go-to-market messaging for its solutions; and delivering the functionality through new approaches/channels such as software-as-a-service (SaaS), purpose-built appliances, and open source.
· To ensure that it can continue to scale up its CEP/ESP technologies using low-cost distributed approaches, StreamBase should recruit a broader range of technology partners--including HP, EMC, Intel, Sun, Teradata/NCR, and Cisco—and focus on grid, in-memory, multi-core, and other high-performance, scalable computing architectures. StreamBase should also regularly publish third-party benchmarks that vouch for its performance and scalability in processing high-volume event streams, so as bolster its claims in this regard.
· To expand the range of vertical markets that it can address with packaged CEP/ESP solutions, StreamBase should develop application framework/accelerators for telecommunications, government/military, transportation/logistics, media, pharmaceuticals, consumer packaged goods, and other industries. Just as important, StreamBase should recruit consulting, system integrators, value-added resellers, and other channel partners in those verticals, so that it can engage their domain expertise in developing solutions tailored to those segments’ specific requirements.
· To expand its ability to sell its CEP/ESP solutions in closed-loop operational BI environments, StreamBase should introduce standards-based interfaces to third-party BPM rules-engine environments. At the very least, StreamBase should implement a WS-Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) interface, as well as tighter integration with leading BPM engines from TiBCO, IBM, Microsoft, Lombardi, and others.**********************************