Sunday, September 21, 2008

Colin is Building a CEP App

Colin Clark, is starting to blog about OMICRON 5000, a CEP-based order router/liquidity finder that he wants to build. I am not sure if Colin is going to just sketch the system out on his blog, or if he is going to get down and dirty and start coding this thing. But, I will follow his upcoming exploits very closely, as Colin implies that he will keep us informed during every step of the development process.

I don't know what technology platform Colin is going to choose ... Windows or Linux, C# or C++ or Java. If Colin is very public about this new effort, then I might expect some vendors to throw him some complimentary software, as it would be a tremendous marketing coup for the CEP vendor who eventually is chosen.

Colin's evaluation will take place a year after we did our initial evaluation, and I am interested to see how he ends up choosing the CEP engine. Colin is a company of one. *IF* Colin can get his hands on some CEP software, he will not have the same luxury that we did --- 4 months devoted to research --- to make a prolonged evaluation.

Let's see what a company of one can do to get bootstrapped into the world of CEP.

How will Colin get his hands on the CEP software to evaluate? Coral8 is free to download, and it is very easy to get started with their developer version. You can download Aleri, but from what I remember, it comes with a 30-day license. Progress Apama would not let me download their software without requiring a dog-and-pony show. Streambase gave us their software, so I don't know anything about their evaluation process. Esper is totally free (at least, their non-HA version is). I wonder if Paul Vincent will throw Colin a copy of Business Events to play with.

Once Colin chooses a CEP engine, how much will he have to spend to get a production license for the software? Esper is free. The others require a minimum outlay of $60,000, not including yearly maintenance fees. You can play with your downloaded version of Coral8 all you want, but you cannot deploy it into a production app without purchasing a license.

Colin says that OMICRON needs a database. I assume that MySQL is still free, even after the Sun purchase. You need to find a CEP engine that has MySQL adapters.

OMICRON needs a FIX engine. The only free one that I know of is QuickFix. Will Colin build an in-process or out-of-process FIX adapter for his CEP engine?

OMICRON needs market data. OpenTick is free to use, and all you need to do is pay the exchange fees. Worse comes to worse, you can write a service that scrapes Yahoo Finance, but I am sure that will not satisfy Colin (although it is useful for early-stage development).

Finally, Colin needs a GUI. If Colin uses C#/.NET, there are plenty of controls that come with Visual Studio, and there are tons of others that you can find on sites like CodeProject. I am assuming that all OMICRON needs is a simple grid, with perhaps some real-time updating of the cells.

It seems that a single developer can get away with totally free, Open Source software if he was going to choose Esper. There might be CEP engines systems from universities that you can use.

I will eagerly follow Colin's blog and kibbitz on his every move....

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


Anonymous said...

Why no link to his blog?

colin said...

The first thing I'm doing is hiring people!

Thanks for the post Marc - no pressure!!

(by the way, I'm a big .NET fan too...)

Jerry Baulier said...

Hi Mark (and Colin),

Aleri's evaluation license is now 90-days by default, but since our eval was available it could always be easily extended to 6 months or more if needed. Another point worth mentioning is that our download for evaluation is the fully featured commercial product, no restrictions. I should mention, however, that some of our stand-alone adapters are not included in the eval (nor base product) unless asked for given they are priced separately.

Speaking of stand-alone adapters, we do have a fully functional 4.0-4.4 FIX adapter, and if Colin wants to trial this I'm sure Stelian would be glad to have another user of it to provide feedback.

Good luck Colin, let us know how we can help.

Jerry Baulier
Aleri CTO

Paul Vincent said...

Hi Marc - Although TIBCO's OEM team would love to discuss Colin's CEP needs, I thought I saw on Colin's blog that he is going the hardware route. And as an ex-CEP vendor, I'm pretty sure he has plenty of code and ideas on precisely what sort of CEP he wants to do - indeed custom ECA rules in hardware would be my guess, with a .NET UI for simulation/test using a rule standard like RIF for compatibility with other rule-based CEP products...

marc said...

Hi Paul,

Colin's custom-written CEP code that he used in Kaskad might be the IP of the former Boston Stock Exchange. Not sure about this.

Colin may want a fresh start, and construct a new CEP product using the lessons learned.

Anonymous said...

I guess a little speculation is a good thing...

If we use hardware, it would only be for normalizing to canonical formats at the edge-specifically in the area of market data adapters.

There will be more at my blog this weekend about our progress. Specifically, there will be an update on the database selection criteria.

One final note - I own Kaskad's IP.


P.S. Who/what is (a) Stelian?

Jerry said...

Sorry about that. Stelian is our developer who recently developed our FIX adapter, and he loves people using his work.