Complex-event-processing rivals join forces

Consolidation has come to the small-but-growing computing niche called CEP (complex event processing), as Aleri and rival Coral8 have merged, the companies announced Monday. Terms were not disclosed.

In general, CEP software looks for patterns and correlations in the ocean of electronic transactions or “events” that occur each day in a business, and triggers responsive actions depending on what is found. For example, the technology could be used by a large online commerce or banking site to spot suspicious activity or make ultra-fast trades in response to certain conditions.

Not many companies are involved in CEP right now. Among large platform vendors, the main player is IBM, which bought a company called AptSoft last year for its CEP tools. Other products include Progress Software’s Apama.

After the merger, Aleri will have about 80 customers and will be retaining virtually all of Coral8’s employees, said Aleri CEO Don DeLoach. Coral8’s CEO, Terry Cunningham, is serving as chairman of the company’s board.

The deal made sense due to the companies’ complementary product sets and respective market targets, DeLoach said.

Coral8 has “done a marvelous job in appealing to developers,” with features such as a SQL-like authoring language, and also has had “a keen eye on distribution channels,” not being specific to one market, he said.

Meanwhile, Aleri has sold a “high-end, industrial strength offering” aimed at financial institutions, with its deals tending to be direct sales, he said.

Over time, Aleri will merge the two engines’ codebases while ensuring forward compatibility, he said.

Aleri won’t raise prices on the Coral8 engine, which is US$20,000 per core, compared to about $30,000 for Aleri’s, according to DeLoach.

And after the two codebases are merged, Aleri may sell multiple products with varying levels of functionality, he said.

Meanwhile, Aleri is betting that business will boom as the financial sector digs out from a worldwide recession and looks for tools to avoid a repeat of the malfeasance and fraud that helped cause this one.

Customers are already beginning to apply CEP to these issues. “One in three projects we’re doing lately are dealing with risk,” he said. “

The fundamental nature of CEP allows technologists to do more with less,” DeLoach added. “Banks are cutting back people but there’s more complexity and speed of information through the market, and there’s increased imperative to manage risk and compliance.”

Aleri is prepping a new solution framework for risk management, which will be out later this year, he said.

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