Feeds

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

Patterns and exceptions

The essential guide to IT transformation

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?
Start migrating now to avoid another XPocalypse – Gartner
You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference
The piss always taking is he. Bastard the.
HANA has SAP cuddling up to 'smaller partners'
Wanted: algorithm wranglers, not systems giants
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.