ESB and ESP for CEP in a SOA - a.k.a. I'm off to Europe!

by David A. Chappell

Next week I am going back on the road to deliver another round of the SOA Architect Forum series. This time the Architect Forum is returning to Europe, and visiting a number of cities including Frankfurt, Madrid, London, Milan, Utrecht (Netherlands), Zurich, and Stockholm. I am co-presenting with VP of Event Stream Processing Mark Palmer of Progress Real Time Division (formerly ObjectStore), which is our sister company. I’ll be talking about ESB and SOA, and Mark will be talking about ESP (Event Stream Processing) and the Apama event processing engine. We have a great demo that shows ESB and the Apama engine working together in a Complex Event Processing (CEP) scenario. That’s ESB and ESP for CEP in a SOA – got it?

I was supposed to depart for Europe a week ago, but due to my recent surgery for a sports related injury, I had to delay traveling by a week. However, the show must go on! Hub Vandervoort, Sonic’s VP of Financial Services, was gracious enough to fly over there and deliver the first two Seminars in Frankfurt and Madrid. The audiences should not have been too disappointed that Hub was there instead of me. :) Hub is an extremely dynamic speaker and is also very knowledgeable of the SOA space in general, and in particular he is always ready to discuss in detail how customers are using Sonic ESB to build and deploy their SOA projects.

In fact, in our last round of the SOA Architect Forum series, Hub and I presented together in Mid-town Manhattan, along with two of our local field SE’s Dmitri Lelchuk and Suman Cuddapah (April 2005). Brent Williams, a financial analyst for First Call Corporation, a Thomson Financial company, was in the audience. At the end of the show, he came up to the book-signing table and asked me for a copy of the presentation, which I happily provided to him. I thought nothing of it at the time, since attendees do that quite regularly.

It turned out that Brent was so impressed by the level of audience enthusiasm that later that day he wrote up and issued an official report that aggressively favored PRGS, which is Sonic’s parent company. He actually included 4 of the slides from the presentation in the report. Included here are some excerpts from his report:

"We recently attended a sales seminar from PRGS's Sonic Software middleware division. The well-attended event featured detailed product presentations and demonstrations for the Sonic ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) high-end middleware product family. In our view, the key points ahead of our expectations were the size of the audience, a bit larger than usual, in our opinion, for an event of this type, the sophistication of the customer base, and the aggressive positioning against well-established competitors."
"We were impressed by the size of the audience, with about 75 people attending a routine sales seminar (most of the hundreds of these we've attended over the years run 25-30 people). We feel raw audience size is significant, because smaller middleware vendors such as Sonic, who compete with giants like IBM and BEAS, often find it relatively difficult
to fill their sales pipeline; a key early step in filling the pipeline is to get sophisticated technical evaluators and first-level management to commit the majority of a work day to attend these events."

"The audience seemed to be more knowledgeable than many initial sales event audiences. The overall technical sophistication of the questions asked was particularly high, with most questions showing significant familiarity with high-end middleware solutions. Many asking questions
publicly, as well as others we spoke with privately, had used other products from larger vendors such as IBM and Tibco Software, so were already well aware of the performance and reliability problems that Sonic focuses on

"Given the sophistication of the audience, we were impressed that the [Sonic] technical sales staff was able to answer every question from audience members with what we viewed as a sufficiently sophisticated answer, often referring by name to reference customers who have already faced similar technical challenges or performance requirements in their applications. This is important for building credibility to ensure that Sonic emerges on the "short list" of vendors considered for detailed applications; smaller software companies often operate at a disadvantage compared to larger vendors, who often make it onto short lists by default. Thus, ability to "play with the big boys" is far more critical for upstarts like Sonic, particularly as Sonic attempts to move to a more enterprise sale over time."
"We also spoke to the Chief Executive Officer of a software company focused on high-end proprietary trading applications. Some of his customers are using his software to process 40,000-50,000 plus events per second, and he is looking for products to replace significant amounts of hand-written C and C++ code. We think that Sonic's ease of development plus its increasing number of high-performance reference accounts, can help accelerate adoption on Wall Street, which in turn can be used to accelerate adoption of the technology on Main Street."

Thanks Brent for that extremely flattering write-up, and we look forward to seeing you again on the next go-round.

Coming soon to a city near you,