Saturday, August 30, 2008

Brief Thoughts on Standardized Streaming SQL

I haven't blogged for a few weeks because I am been on vacation for two weeks (San Francisco, Vancouver, Whistler, Banff) and in between that, I have been bogged down with all of the paperwork at my job, including doing budget planning for 2009. Let me tell you that, in this current economic environment, budget planning is a very interesting and challenging exercise. (The best strategy for dealing with budget time is to take your favorite managing director on the business side out to The Brandy Library, make sure he gets all liquored-up, and make him sign off on your budget after his 5th Highland Cooler.)

Also, I have been a bit turned off by all of the recent in-fighting that has been occurring on the CEP-related blogs. It seems that one person posts an opinion, then two or three of the well-known pundits start a counter-argument on their own blogs, which leads to a spiral of (sometimes good-natured) venom. Just like the recent Democratic and Republican conventions in the United States, I am hoping that the Gartner CEP Summit in two weeks will be a big love fest, and that the pundits will make peace with each other for a week or two.

I read with great amusement the recent announcement of Oracle and Streambase getting together and attempting to define a new standard for Streaming SQL. Some things that immediately crossed my mind were:

1) Streambase and Oracle are presenting their paper at the VLDB conference. The list of presentations is very impressive. Notice the number of papers that Microsoft is presenting, which leads me to hope that some very interesting stuff will be coming down the pike from MSFT. I wish that I could attend the tutorial on "Detecting Clusters in Moderate-to-High Dimensional Data: Subspace Clustering, Pattern-based Clustering, and Correlation Clustering".

2) Mark Palmer, who railed against Streaming SQL for such a long time in favor of Apama's more procedural language, now has to publically support the effort to standardize Streaming SQL. I wonder how much of Apama's language will appear in the standardized language.

3) There are other efforts at standardization underway. Opher Etzion is involved in one of them. I am not sure if Opher's efforts are aimed at solely defining a meta-language for events, or if what he is working on is in direct competition to the Streambase/oracle effort.

4) How willing will Aleri, Apama, and Coral8 be in adopting this effort? In particular, Aleri has a richer programming environment because of their procedural FlexStream language that gives developers a procedural "out" from the SQL-based language. Apama prides themselves on their Java-like language.

5) What happens if Microsoft ever weighs in with something of their own? You know that Microsoft will tie any effort in this area in with LINQ. Aleri is also moving to a more LINQ-like way of doing things. Of course, one can write a LINQ provider for Streaming SQL, but would anyone be motivated to do so?

(Update: Thanks to a reader who does not wish to be identified... the Streambase/Oracle paper is located here)


On another note, good luck to Colin Clark, who has left Streambase as quickly as he joined them. Colin looks like he is striking out on his own as an indie consultant. Colin just had his first child, so this must be an especially interesting time for him. It reminds me a bit of my own story when , in 1988, I quit consulting for Goldman Sachs while my mortgage application was pending in order to strike out on my own. When you get the entrepreneurial fever, nothing can stop you ....

©2008 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved.
All opinions here are personal, and have no relation to my employer.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Marc, and yes, learning how to be a good father could definitely be referred to as "an especially interesting time!" It's a wonderful experience and something I wish I had done sooner.

In regards to "getting the fever...", yes, I've got it and I'm already involved in some very interesting applications of CEP in Financial Markets. I will be sharing what I can about these projects on my new blog located here

I'm focusing on helping market participants use CEP as a platform for solutions of greater reach than the traditional algorithmic trading and execution management use cases. There's a tremendous ROI out there for firms adopting this technology in an enterprise wide fashion, as I'm sure you're aware.

Opher Etzion said...

Hi Marc.

Since you mention my name you deserve an answer -- the EPDL project I am working on is not a direct competition to the streaming SQL effort; it will be easier to map from a meta-language to a single variation of SQL rather than multiple.

If and when the time will arrive to have a SINGLE standard language for EP functionality, then there may be decision among several approaches, however, I don't see it happening tomorrow.