Aleri and Coral8
Analysis of complex event/stream processing vendors Aleri and Coral8 (now merged). Related subjects include:
I’ve talked with many companies recently that believe they are:
- Focused on building a great data management and analytic stack for log management …
- … unlike all the other companies that might be saying the same thing …
- … and certainly unlike expensive, poorly-scalable Splunk …
- … and also unlike less-focused vendors of analytic RDBMS (which are also expensive) and/or Hadoop distributions.
At best, I think such competitive claims are overwrought. Still, it’s a genuinely important subject and opportunity, so let’s consider what a great log management and analysis system might look like.
Much of this discussion could apply to machine-generated data in general. But right now I think more players are doing product management with an explicit conception either of log management or event-series analytics, so for this post I’ll share that focus too.
A short answer might be “Splunk, but with more analytic functionality and more scalable performance, at lower cost, plus numerous coupons for free pizza.” A more constructive and bottoms-up approach might start with: Read more
Raj Nathan of Sybase has been calling around to chat quickly about the SAP/Sybase deal and related matters. Talking with Raj didn’t change any of my initial reactions to SAP’s acquisition of Sybase. I also didn’t bother Raj with too many hard questions, as he was clearly in call-and-reassure mode, reaching out to customers and influencers alike.
That said, Read more
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Analytic technologies, Business intelligence, Columnar database management, Complex event processing (CEP), In-memory DBMS, Memory-centric data management, Mid-range, SAP AG, Sybase, Theory and architecture||13 Comments|
Well, I got a quick Sybase/Aleri briefing, along with multiple apologies for not being prebriefed. (Main excuse: News was getting out, which accelerated the announcement.) Nothing badly contradicted my prior post on the Sybase/Aleri deal.
To understand Sybase’s plans for Aleri and CEP, it helps to understand Sybase’s current CEP-oriented offering, Sybase RAP. So far as I can tell, Sybase RAP has to date only been sold in the form of Sybase RAP: The Trading Edition. In that guise, Sybase RAP has been sold to >40 outfits since its May, 2008 launch, mainly big names in the investment banking and stock exchange sectors. If I understood correctly, the next target market for Sybase RAP is telcos, for real-time network tuning and management.
In addition to any domain-specific applications, Sybase RAP has three layers:
- CEP (Complex Event Processing). Sybase RAP CEP is based on a version of the Coral8 engine Sybase licensed and has been subsequently developing.
- In-memory DBMS. Sybase’s IMDB is part of (but I guess separable from) and has the same API as Sybase’s OLTP DBMS Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE, aka Sybase Classic).
- Sybase IQ. Actually, Sybase used the phrase “based on Sybase IQ,” but I’m guessing it’s just Sybase IQ.
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Analytic technologies, Complex event processing (CEP), Data warehousing, In-memory DBMS, Investment research and trading, Market share and customer counts, Memory-centric data management, Sybase||9 Comments|
Sybase announced an asset purchase that amounts to a takeover of CEP (Complex Event Processing) Aleri. Perhaps not coincidentally, Sybase already had technology under the hood from Aleri predecessor/acquiree Coral8, for financial services uses (notwithstanding that between Aleri Classic and Coral8, Aleri Classic was the one of the two more focused on financial services). Quick reactions include:
- The folks at Sybase still haven’t figured out when to prebrief me. (Edit: I’ve been briefed subsequently.)
- Sybase/Aleri is a potentially powerful combination, if they can effectively address the point I just made about integrating disparate latencies. That said, I’m not expecting a lot, because the CEP industry always disappoints me.
- Microsoft, IBM, and (somewhat less clearly) Oracle are all trying to do CEP inhouse. Sybase is making a good choice in having serious CEP inhouse itself
- Surely the main focus and financial justification for the Sybase/Aleri acquisition is the financial services market.
- Specifically, I expect the focus of technical integration between Aleri and Sybase’s DBMS products to start with Sybase IQ.
- Coral8 had some interesting ideas about how to integrate CEP with OLTP/operational BI, but I’m not aware that they got much traction.
- I bet there are use cases where Sybase tries and fails to sell Adaptive Server SQL Anywhere that CEP would be a better technical fit, but I don’t immediately see much practical business significance to that observation.
- While this deal could easily strengthen the Vertica/StreamBase partnership, I don’t see any reason why it would lead those two companies to actually merge.
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Analytic technologies, Complex event processing (CEP), Investment research and trading, Sybase||7 Comments|
While performance may not be all that great a source of CEP competitive differentiation, event processing vendors find plenty of other bases for technological competition, including application development, analytics, packaged applications, and data integration. In particular:
- Most independent CEP vendors have some kind of application story in the capital markets vertical, such as packaged applications, ISV partners with packaged applications, application frameworks, and so on.
- CEP vendors offer lots of connectors to specific financial industry price/quote/trade feeds, as well as the usual other kinds of database connectivity (SQL, XML, etc.)
- Aleri/Coral8 (separately and now together) like to call attention to their business intelligence/analytics offerings. Analytics is front-and-center on Truviso’s web site too, not that Truviso does much to call attention to itself, period. (Roman Bukary once said he’d outline Truviso’s new strategy to me in 6-8 weeks or so … it’s now 14 months and counting.)
So far as I can tell, the areas of applications and analytics are fairly uncontroversial. Different CEP vendors have implemented different kinds of things, no doubt focusing on those they thought they would find easiest to build and then sell. But these seem to be choices in business execution, not in core technical philosophy.
In CEP application development, however, real philosophical differences do seem to arise. There are at least three different CEP application development paradigms: Read more
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Business intelligence, Complex event processing (CEP), Microsoft and SQL*Server, Progress, Apama, and DataDirect, StreamBase||5 Comments|
I’ve been talking to CEP vendors on and off for a few years. So what I hear about performance is fairly patchwork. On the other hand, maybe 1-2+ year-old figures of per-core performance are still meaningful today. After all, Moore’s Law is being reflected more in core count than per-core performance, and it seems CEP vendors’ development efforts haven’t necessarily been concentrated on raw engine speed.
So anyway, what do you guys have to add to the following observations?
- Super-low-latency financial services industry tasks are often “embarrassingly parallel.” Thus, near-linear scale-out is common.
- That said, good parallelism seems fairly new in CEP engines (of course, CEP engines are fairly new themselves — for all I know, some have been parallel since inception).
- I’ve heard claims of up to 400,000 messages/second/core for simple queries or patterns.
- I’ve heard claims of 70,000 messages/core for not-so-simple queries or patterns, and probably higher than that depending on what the meaning of “simple” is.
- IBM just disclosed >15,000 messages/core on a pretty low-powered processor.
- I’ve heard that Coral8, Apama, and StreamBase rarely lost deals due to performance or throughput problems. I’ve heard that the same is not as true of Aleri.
- StreamBase proudly says it’s been fully multithreaded since academic research-project days. For Apama multithreading is evidently a more recent feature. But does it matter much?
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Complex event processing (CEP), IBM and DB2, Memory-centric data management, Progress, Apama, and DataDirect, StreamBase||13 Comments|
My skeptical remarks on the Aleri/Coral8 merger generated some pushback. Today I actually got around to talking with John Morell, who was marketing chief at Coral8 and has remained with the combined company. First, some quick metrics:
- The combined Aleri has around 100 employees, 60-40 from Aleri vs. Coral8.
- The combined Aleri has around 80 customers. All of Aleri’s, with one sort-of exception at Banks.com, were in financial services. A large minority of Coral8’s were in financial services too.
- However, half of Aleri’s marketing spend going forward is budgeted outside the financial services markets. Not unreasonably, John presents this as a proof point Aleri is serious about selling to other markets.
- Aleri had 12-14 people in the UK pre-merger. Coral8 had none in Europe.
- Coral8 had 15 OEMs pre-merger, some actually generating revenue. Aleri had substantially none.
- Coral8 had been closing a “couple” of customers/quarter in online commerce. But recently, that rate ramped up to a “few.”
- Aleri’s engine is used to handle “many” hundreds of thousands of messages per second. Coral8’s highest-throughput user processes 100-150,000 messages/second.
John is sticking by the company line that there will be an integrated Aleri/Coral8 engine in around 12 months, with all the performance optimization of Aleri and flexibility of Coral8, that compiles and runs code from any of the development tools either Aleri or Coral8 now has. While this is a lot faster than, say, the Informix/Illustra or Oracle/IRI Express integrations, John insists that integrating CEP engines is a lot easier. We’ll see.
I focused most of the conversation on Aleri’s forthcoming efforts outside the financial services market. John sees these as being focused around Coral8’s old “Continuous (Business) Intelligence” message, enhanced by Aleri’s Live OLAP. Aleri Live OLAP is an in-memory OLAP engine, real-time/event-driven, fed by CEP. Queries can be submitted via ODBO/MDX today. XMLA is coming. John reports that quite a few Coral8 customers are interested in Live OLAP, and positions the capability as one Coral8 would have had to develop had the company remained independent. Read more
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Analytic technologies, Application areas, Complex event processing (CEP), Games and virtual worlds, Investment research and trading, MOLAP, Web analytics||4 Comments|
Independent CEP (Complex/Event Processing) vendors continue to flounder, at least outside the financial services and national intelligence markets.
- StreamBase once planned to conquer the world, making an impact as big as database management’s. Now it has retreated into niche markets.
- Progress Software, a decent-sized company, put a large fraction of its energy into Apama. Little has happened outside the financial service sector.
- Coral8 has some great-sounding ideas. But Coral8 now has merged into Aleri, basically a financial-markets specialist.
- Mike Franklin says some ambitious things on behalf of Truviso, but I haven’t noticed much traction there either.
CEP’s penetration outside of its classical markets isn’t quite zero. Customers include several transportation companies (various vendors), Sallie Mae (Coral8), a game vendor or two (StreamBase, if I recall correctly), Verizon (Aleri, I think), and more. But I just wrote that list from memory — based mainly on not-so-recent deals — and a quick tour of the vendors’ web sites hasn’t turned up much I overlooked. (Truviso does have a recent deal with Technorati, but that’s not exactly a blue chip customer these days.)
So far as I can tell, this is a new version of a repeated story. Read more
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Analytic technologies, Business intelligence, Complex event processing (CEP), Progress, Apama, and DataDirect, StreamBase, Truviso||11 Comments|
It used to be that Coral8 and StreamBase were the two complex event/stream processing (CEP) vendors most committed to branching out beyond the super-low-latency algorithmic trading marketing. But StreamBase seems to have pulled in its horns after a management change, focusing much more on the financial market (and perhaps the defense/intelligence market as well). Aleri, Truviso, and Progress Apama, while each showing signs of branching out, don’t seem to have gone as far as Coral8 yet. And so, though it’s a small company with not all that many dozens of customers, my client Coral8 seems to be the one to look at when seeing whether CEP really is relevant to a broad range of mainstream – no pun intended – applications.
Coral8 today unveiled a new product release – the not-so-concisely named “Coral8 Engine and Portal Release 5.5” – and a new buzzphrase — “Continuous Intelligence.” The interesting part boils down to this:
Coral8 is proposing CEP — excuse me, “Continuous Intelligence” — as a data-store-equivalent for business intelligence.
This includes both operational BI (the current sweet spot) and dashboards (the part with cool, real-time-visualization demos). Read more
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Analytic technologies, Application areas, Business intelligence, Complex event processing (CEP), Data warehousing, Investment research and trading, Memory-centric data management, Web analytics||12 Comments|
It should surprise nobody that web analytics – and specifically clickstream data — is one of the biggest areas for high-end data warehousing. For example:
- I believe that both of the previously mentioned petabyte+ databases on Greenplum will feature clickstream data.
- Aster Data’s largest disclosed database, by almost two orders of magnitude, is at MySpace.
- Clickstream analytics is a big application area for Vertica Systems.
- Clickstream analytics is a big application area for Netezza.
- Infobright’s customer success stories appear to be concentrated in clickstream analytics.
- Coral8 tells me that CEP is also being used for clickstream data, although I suspect that a lot of Coral8’s evidence in that regard comes from a single flagship account. Edit: Actually, Coral8 has a bunch of clickstream customers.
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Aster Data, Complex event processing (CEP), Greenplum, Infobright, Netezza, Vertica Systems, Web analytics||2 Comments|