Feeds

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

Patterns and exceptions

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.