Goodbye real-time era, hello 'event-driven' era

A bank may deal with 100 million events a month, but few are leveraged and tied to information in databases

If banks are so smart with their terabytes' worth of customer information, why do you have to keep reminding them what language you speak every time you interact with them?

100 million events a month, but few are tied to data in databases

Speaking at the recent TUCON conference held in San Francisco, Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadivé observed that we are moving out of what he called the "Database Era," in which software is tied to databases -- and are moving into the "Event Driven Era," in which data is tied to transactions across the network. (Ranadivé is also author of The Power of Now and The Power to Predict.)

It's not a moment too soon to change eras, as Ranadivé referred to database-based architecture as "extortionist architecture." Information can no longer be locked away in data silos, he said.

Look at the example of a typical large bank, he illustrated. Such an institution deals with "100 million events a month." Yet, few of these events are actually captured and linked to the accumulated intelligence on the back end. Ranadivé pointed out that when he goes to an ATM, the first question he is asked is whether he wants to conduct the transaction in English or Spanish. "All this infrastructure, and the bank doesn't know that I use English, even though I've gone to their ATMs zillions of times," he said.

So there's plenty of work cut out for us in the Event Driven era. Look at the massive digital infrastructures built up in enterprises these days."Your average Fortune 500 company has more back-end infratsructure than the entire Internet," he pointed out.

That's why the time is ripe for organizations need to move to Event Driven Architecture -- in which "hundreds of terabytes of information on the back end are tied to events at the moment of truth," Ranadivé said. What organizations are seeing is an "event cloud" that needs to be linked to data stores and processes. Not only will organizations be able to transact with customers with a wealth of historical and real-time data, but also predict future actions or trends.

The Event Driven Architecture moves organizations beyond real time, "which is still reactive in nature," he said. "We have to go beyond real-time and be event driven," Ranadivé said. This requires a shift -- which is underway -- away from the traditional "extortionist architecture" database to a service oriented architecture.

(My colleagues Dana Gardner and Tony Baer also provide context to Ranadivé's remarks and the overall Tibco conference.)