IBM buys complex-event processing vendor for SOA

IBM said Wednesday it is expanding its broad SOA 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 analyzes 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, said Sandy Carter, IBM’s vice-president of SOA and WebSphere strategy, channels and marketing. 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.

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 in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

“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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