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I have been doing some thinking about (complex) event processing recently and it seems to me that, with the exception of companies that are very strongly focusing on capital markets (notably Sybase [SAP] and, to a lesser extent, StreamBase), the clear trend in the market is towards merging with other forms of “processing” technology.

You can see this in the history of acquisitions within the market. The first such happened when Avaya bought iSpheres way back in 2006. It integrated the iSpheres event processing with its own communications processing capabilities. Then there was IBM’s acquisition of AptSoft in 2008, which was promptly renamed WebSphere Business Events, with an emphasis on integration with business process management. And, of course, Oracle and TIBCO are doing much the same thing.

A year ago, Informatica acquired AgentLogic and here, of course, the emphasis is on event-driven integration with complex event processing being merged with data integration processes.

And, earlier this year, Progress, the company behind the Apama complex event processing product bought Saviion, a BPM vendor. Progress has now integrated these two products into a combined offering which, along with other Progress products (notably Actional and Control Tower) makes up the RPM (responsive process management) suite.

So, the clear trend is towards integrating complex event processing with other types of process management, though these may not necessarily be with business process management per se.

Which leaves me in something of a spot, because I have been predicting the convergence of complex event processing and data warehousing for some time. And, indeed, there is evidence for this: Sybase’s acquisition of Aleri, for example. And there are a number of joint ventures between StreamBase and Vertica. I am also aware of other data warehousing suppliers cosying up to purveyors of complex event processing. As another example, I think that InfoSphere Streams is far more likely to be used in conjunction with a data warehouse than a BPM suite.

Thus it would appear that complex event processing is being pulled in two directions. Ideally, of course, you would want to be able to offer both options but these acquisitions tend to take suppliers down one road or the other, with a leaning towards processing integration or data warehousing integration but not both.

Apart from IBM, which is not limited to a single complex event processing product, and possibly Oracle, the company best placed to offer a dual strategy would appear to be Sybase. The Aleri products (there are two, Aleri had previously acquired Coral8) are currently integrated within the Real-time Analytics Platform (RAP), which means that they are integrated with Sybase IQ. On the other hand, given the Sybase acquisition by SAP then there is the potential for SAP to leverage these complex event processing capabilities in other areas. We will have to wait to see if that happens.

Indeed, we will have to wait to see if complex event processing becomes completely subsumed into other technology areas and, if so, what new acronyms the industry can come up with: what is the acronym for a convergence of complex event processing and business process management?