Feeds

ESP and CEP...what's the difference?

Patterns and exceptions

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Comment If you talk to some vendors you could be forgiven for thinking that ESP (event stream processing) and CEP (complex event processing) are one and the same.

Indeed, I have previously suggested that CEP is a misnomer because the events in event processing are actually quite simple entities. This is true, but it is not the whole truth.

A typical ESP application is one such as algorithmic trading (stock tick information comes in, you apply calculations and rules and decide on whether to buy or sell). That is, you have an event, a condition and an action. The event, in this case, is very simple. Similarly, RFID inputs are simple events.

However, CEP is about what we might call über-events or, more specifically, patterns of events. In fraud detection, for example, the fraud "event" may in fact be made up of a sequence of inter-related events which, while simple on an individual basis, are complex when combined. Further, the individual events that make up such a complex event may be spread out over time, so a CEP engine needs to be able to handle long running processes. Moreover, the sequence in which these events can appear may vary so CEP needs to be able to handle non-linear events.

To cut a long story short, CEP is a superset of ESP.

The fact that CEP handles processes raises another question: couldn't you do all of this using business process management (BPM) or, for that matter, a rules engine? No, actually you couldn't.

AptSoft, which is a CEP vendor, has a particularly good user story that illustrates why and where CEP works and BPM and rules engines don't. Its customer is an airport and its application is baggage handling (not baggage tracking, which is an RFID application).

Now, in essence, this is quite simple: luggage goes from baggage handling to a plane, or from a plane to a plane, or from a plane to baggage handling. Clearly you could model this using a BPM process. However, what you would be modelling is a perfect day. And we all know that airports don't have perfect days - planes are delayed all the time, the luggage ramp breaks down, whatever - so the key to baggage handling is dealing with exceptions. Further, the exceptions are always different and have to be managed in real-time, which is why you need a CEP engine that has been designed specifically for this sort of (or any similar) scenario.

Going back to our original discussion point, it is worth noting that AptSoft does not compete in the ESP market. It is confident that it could do, say, algorithmic trading but as there are various companies already addressing this market it feels it is better placed in focusing on truly complex environments where its technology gives it an edge.

Copyright © 2006, IT-Analysis.com

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.