Aleri has merged with Coral8, although since it is arguable that there is no such thing as a merger—this being just a friendly name for a takeover—and as the new company will be trading under the name of Aleri, then one could equally say that Aleri has acquired Coral8.
More to the point, what does this mean? Well, there are two issues: does this merger make sense and what does it tell us about the CEP (complex event processing) market in general?
In the first case, of course, the relevant press release extols the virtues of this marriage that is supposedly made in heaven. There is some truth in this. Aleri has traditionally focused on capital markets and has specialised in applications such as liquidity management rather than just providing a platform for in-house development. Coral8, on the other hand, has targeted a much broader swathe of the market, including what it calls continual intelligence and including non-financial environments. There is relatively little overlap here.
On the technical side both product suites are SQL-based though development in Aleri is typically via Aleri Studio, which provides an Excel-like development environment, while Coral8 employs its own version of SQL called CCL. However, and it is a big however, the two products have different engines. So, what we are likely to see, at least for a significant period, is one company with two products. I am not sure that that is very synergistic. The company has, however, stated that it will continue to support both product lines and that it will develop a next generation engine that will provide forward migration for both Aleri and Coral8 users. This can be done (for example, Business Objects and Crystal) but is sometimes promised and never delivered, so I will await developments.
My inclination therefore, is to believe that this merger is defensive in nature, probably driven both by current economic conditions and by the advent of the likes of IBM and Oracle into the market.
Which leads me onto the larger picture. On the one hand we have 800lb gorillas entering the market; these companies have been making acquisitions and are likely to make more; as I have argued elsewhere, I expect to see log and security event vendors entering at least part of the CEP market (particularly for sensor-based data); and now we have two of the early innovators in the market merging. This all adds up to a market in an early stage of consolidation, which raises the question of who will survive?
There are two mid-market players, TIBCO and Progress (plus, arguably, Avaya), which should not have major problems. Then there are non-traditional CEP vendors such as SeeWhy, Truviso (both continual intelligence) and SQLStream (continual ETL as well as CEP). Unfortunately, while these may look like the traditional niche markets that suppliers find safe havens in, they are not, as these markets are also of interest to the big boys. And then there are the general-purpose players like Streambase, AgentLogic, Vhayu and Event Zero. These three must also be under threat.
Of course it is a guessing game as to who will take over whom, who will survive and who will go the wall but I certainly expect more activity in this sector over the coming months.