November 11, 2019
Portfolio firm Solace announced recently a set of new products, partnerships and community-building efforts called “Event Horizon” that are designed to give large organizations everything they need to transform the applications that underlie their business operations and customer interactions into ones that function in real-time and are “event-driven”. In effect, it is a next-generation digital innovation program.
Event-driven means that the flow of the application is determined by events such as user actions (mouse clicks, key presses), sensor outputs or messages from other programs or threads. In other words, these applications perform actions in response to user or other input. This is an evolution of the more traditional, more limited application architecture which uses Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to exchange what are known as RESTful synchronous, request-reply interactions to perform tasks.
This difference makes event-driven applications more agile, extensible, robust and scalable. They leverage an IT architecture where events from one application can be routed dynamically to any other, in real time, no matter where these applications are deployed (no cloud, private cloud or public cloud). Architectures of this sort have been proven, but mostly in high-demand environments such as capital markets, gaming, payment systems and early IoT applications, where the need for flexibility, speed, accuracy and reliability are mission critical.
Now, however, the convergence of cloud computing, mobile devices, IoT advances, microservices design and other IT trends are making those same attributes essential for all businesses. Because they react to things as they happen, event-driven applications can deliver a better customer experience, a better partner experience, or enable an enterprise to realize operational and cost efficiencies they couldn’t otherwise achieve. It is no surprise then that an ever-growing number of enterprises are embracing event-driven architectures as part of their digital transformation plans. Unfortunately, many are adopting these architectures for select use cases only, with a piecemeal approach rather than a clear vision for enterprise-wide event distribution.
The team at Solace is convinced that ‘events’ will become the life-blood of the modern enterprise. For this to happen, they will need to flow freely across all environments and components of the digital enterprise, which increasingly is distributed. Event Horizon is the comprehensive, strategic new program designed to enable this evolution. The program consists of four key elements:
PubSub+ is a complete event streaming and management platform that helps enterprises design, deploy and manage event-driven architectures across hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and IoT environments. The “+” in PubSub+ means it supports a wide range of message exchange patterns beyond publish/ subscribe, including request/reply, streaming and replay, and different qualities of service, such as best effort and guaranteed delivery. In addition, PubSub+ Event Broker is the only unified event broker technology available as run-anywhere software, purpose-built hardware and a managed service that can be used together to stream events across a distributed enterprise.
Larger enterprises will then need a central nervous system to quickly, reliably and securely move events from where they are occurring to where they need to go within the application environment. This central nervous system is what Solace refers to as an Event Mesh — a new layer in the IT architecture that is enabled and managed by a network of interconnected event brokers within the PubSub+ platform(s). An Event Mesh lets enterprises support the smallest of microservices deployments through to extended applications in a hybrid cloud, all in a governed, robust, secure and well-architected manner. An Event Mesh can connect any event source to any event handler no matter where they are deployed. It enables the integration of legacy applications, data stores, modern microservices, SaaS, IoT and mobile devices — dynamically and in real-time. An Event Mesh gives application developers and architects a foundation on which to build and deploy distributed event-driven applications wherever they are needed.
As part of this initiative, Solace is supporting these new products with a focused education program. Called Event Academy, the program offers thought leadership, best practices and other learning materials to educate organizations on how to implement event-driven architecture into a successful digital transformation strategy.
“Our customer base and field team include some of the foremost experts on event-driven architecture — architects who have designed the most robust, highest volume event distribution systems in the world, and built event-driven applications that deliver tremendous value in capital markets, connected vehicles, smart cities and more,” said Jonathan Schabowsky, senior architect in the Solace Office of the CTO. “Event Academy will connect those individuals with the broader enterprise IT community so other architects and developers can become experts in event-driven development practices.”
Solace is also partnering with leading providers of event-related services and technologies to develop joint solutions to the challenges of building event-driven systems, and the company is working with systems integrators to help customers successfully implement event-driven architecture. And as the fourth pillar, if you will, in the Event Horizon initiative, Solace is contributing to the development of open source frameworks like AsyncAPI and Spring Cloud Stream that are important parts of the event-driven landscape. Solace is a platinum sponsor of AsyncAPI, and has provided a Spring Cloud Stream binder that lets Spring applications connect to a Solace-based event mesh. Solace is also contributing a Spring Cloud Stream code generator for AsyncAPI so developers can quickly and easily reap the rewards of event-driven architecture.
“Forward-looking organizations want to improve the agility and performance of their IT and IoT systems by connecting applications, cloud services and devices in an event-driven manner, instead of relying solely on request/reply interactions,” said Holger Mueller, VP and principal analyst, Constellation Research. “To do so at enterprise-scale, they’ll need the kinds of expertise, frameworks and tools that already exist in the area of RESTful APIs. We’re glad to see Solace commit to advancing the state of the art in this area.”
An ambitious and visionary undertaking for a key member of the Wesley Clover technology portfolio. We look forward to bringing further updates as the program gains momentum. solace.com