Can you imagine your life if you were unable to recognize and analyze events? You would never hear an alarm clock buzzer in the morning, or the telephone ring when someone calls. You wouldn t even recognize when it started to rain and know to grab an umbrella. Your day is filled with a constant stream of events from different sources to which you respond. The events you recognize and analyze are what guide the responses you take, helping you avoid danger and find opportunities. Similarly, your business is surrounded by and subject to a constant stream of events generated by actions from customers, partners, employees, and external market conditions such as weather and market data. The recognition, analysis and response to those events are opportunities for your business the key to realizing those opportunities is an Event-Driven Architecture EDA- within your IT. EDA is an architectural style that defines how events can be generated, captured, and analyzed, and how to invoke a response. EDA greatly facilitates the development of event-driven applications and IT systems that, until recently, were an expensive endeavor reserved for the minority. That s begun to change. Increased Operating Margins But first, what are the business opportunities enabled by EDA and where do they exist? Consider the airline industry as a good example. Airline operators monitor weather sources, customer reservations, and air traffic control in real-time to manage their daily flight schedules. Their event-driven systems provide pricing adjustments and re-scheduling based on the real-time, complex analysis of those event streams in order to maximize their profitability and operational efficiency. This is a classic EDA benefit: optimized business operations with real-time information and increased operating margins. Almost every company has a daily operational aspect that can benefit from an EDA solution. A poultry processor in the midwestern United States provides an example from manufacturing. This processor utilizes distributed cooling equipment throughout its plant to keep the temperature below 50-degrees per U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. Equipment malfunctions are very costly to the business - all product within the processing area must be scrapped if the temperature rises above 50-degrees. The coolant substance is also a potentially harmful chemical, thus any leaks requires a plant evacuation. For all these reasons, the cooling equipment must be closely monitored and maintained, 24x7. This monitoring and maintenance is typically done on a regularly scheduled basis around the clock. That requires significant resources however, so the company implemented an EDA solution that included physical sensors to capture equipment diagnostic information across the plant. The diagnostic information is now automatically captured and analyzed every few minutes, making it easy to identify pieces that are potential candidates for failure. Not only can they fix the equipment before it breaks, but they have also alleviated the need for round the clock maintenance staff in favor of a more management-by-exception approach. Greater Competitive Advantage Greater efficiency and lower costs are not the only benefit. Companies are also using EDA solutions to generate a competitive advantage in their industries by providing unique and differentiated real-time services. For example, one large financial services provider in the UK specializes in providing high-risk loans through its partner banks. Partners submit these high-risk loan applications through an electronic network, and to attract and retain their business this provider guarantees it will accept a certain percentage of the submitted loans. In addition, each loan application must be analyzed then accepted or rejected within 15 minutes. In order to maintain these service-levels while managing their risk profile, the financial service provider implemented an EDA control system that adjusts loan criteria in real-time based on the current loan volume. This capability becomes most critical near the end of the month, when it gives the provider flexibility to accept more loans and meet service-level targets but minimize the increase in risk exposure. The result? Dramatically higher loan volume with little increased risk and zero service-level violations. Implementing EDA EDA has matured over time, from an approach based on proprietary and custom-coded software, to a more standards-based and open architecture. This has expanded the domain of EDA solutions beyond the typically IT-intensive industries such as financial services and airline transportation, and lowered the implementation costs for everyone. What changed? For one, messaging has become pervasive within IT networks. These messaging backbones are a ready source of event streams that EDA solutions can tap into. Further more, physical sensors such as RFID have created a whole new set of standards-based event streams from the real-world to correlate with what is happening inside your IT systems. Finally, several vendors now provide model-driven EDA tools that require less coding near-zero in some cases- to deploy these solutions. Here is a quick checklist of what you might find in an EDA solution: Event Processors Event processors do the real-time analysis work. These components process the multiple event streams they receive and look for noteworthy events or event patterns. Model-driven tools are ideal here, because they provide more rapid development and greater flexibility. You ll find event processors within Business Activity Monitoring and Complex Event Processing software, or custom-built with application code. Event Generators If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? The same question can be asked about events within EDA. If a real world or IT system event happens but no event object is generated, it cannot be processed. RFID sensors and process automation software are common examples of event generators. Dashboards and Alerts Getting business users involved and connected to events is what makes EDA solutions most effective, and dashboards with rich visualizations of events and event metrics are very useful in this regard. Alert engines can also notify users through various channels e-mail, instant message, pager, etc.- when a noteworthy event occurs, or an event analysis metric reaches a particular threshold value. Enterprise Messaging The most common form of event objects is a message, such as a JMS message or MQ Series message. Enterprise messaging infrastructure provides the reliable delivery of event messages to the event processors. Enterprise Service Bus Best known for its role in Service-Oriented Architecture, an Enterprise Service Bus also provides routing and data transformation capabilities for events. It directs an event message where it needs to go. Business Rules Engine Rules provide the ultimate flexibility for defining event handling logic, because business users can manage rules directly through an intuitive interface. For systems with automated event responses that frequently change, business rules engines are very useful. Response Services Business scenarios will determine how events should be handled response services capture that logic and make it available for either manual invocation by users or automatic invocation by an event processor. Automated responses are ideal since they remove the human delay factor. Web services and application programs are common forms of response services. Summary EDA solutions provide excellent opportunities for companies to become a leader in their industry, through better management of their daily operations and unique services they can provide to their customers. These solutions take advantage of existing IT investments, creating more value through the analysis and processing of events that already exist within most applications and IT systems. As EDA solutions have evolved into more standards-based and open systems, the speed and cost of implementation have also greatly decreased, making now an attractive time to invest. Source: