IBM buys complex-event processing vendor for SOA

IBM buys complex-event processing vendor for SOA

Big Blue has bought AptSoft.

IBM said Wednesday it is expanding its broad SOA (service-oriented architecture) portfolio with the acquisition of AptSoft, a maker of business event processing software.

AptSoft's products will sit in IBM's WebSphere line. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Also known as complex event processing (CEP), business event processing is seen as a key technology driver for the next generation of SOA. The software analyses vast amounts of system events in real time, searching for trends and anomalies -- "complex events" -- that may impact the business, and triggers a response process if one is found.

For example, the technology could be used by an online gaming site to spot malfeasance among the torrent of transactions that occur each second, or by a trading firm to track minute changes in stock price activity among various markets, IBM said in a statement.

AptSoft has 19 customers, primarily in the business-to-business space, IBM's vice-president of SOA and WebSphere strategy, channels and marketing, Sandy Carter, said. It is based in Burlington, Massachusetts.

AptSoft has the "best user tooling in the marketplace," and that made the deal attractive to IBM, according to Carter.

"AptSoft really elevates event processing to the business level instead of at the deep technology level," she said. "Typically, only engineers can understand events, but we want to bring this to the business. ... There is little to no IT involvement other than the installation."

IBM's rival, Oracle, will gain a CEP-enabled product through its acquisition of BEA Systems. That company's WebLogic Event Server uses a CEP engine from Esper Tech.

AptSoft, meanwhile, announced plans to support Oracle's 11g database, as well as its 10g Release 2 database, in September.

IBM's news sparked a measured response from David O'Connell, a senior analyst with Nucleus Research.

"What makes me a little less excited about it is, IBM's track record of integrating acquisitions isn't phenomenal," he said.

Companies have trumpeted the wave of consolidation in recent years as good for their user bases. But that isn't so without solid integrations, O'Connell argued: "It's really a win for customers when they're not swiveling between screens and apps and buying less apps."

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