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Coral8 to Elbow Into Event Processing

There's something to be said about looking at past and present events to anticipate the future. At least one startup is banking on it.

Coral8 next week plans to emerge from stealth mode with the official launch of its new flagship product, the Coral8 Event Processing Engine, according to a source familiar with the company's plans.

The source said the Coral8 Event Processing Engine is designed for applications where customers must see and act upon opportunities and threats as they happen.

CEP is an emerging category of business intelligence software for helping companies make the most out of the data ferrying to and fro in their networks.

CEP combines information from systems, databases and applications in real-time and applies rules to pinpoint patterns and trends that would normally fly past IT administrators.

The technology typically combs through the legacy or history of events to predict what might happen in the future, and can be used to improve business intelligence and spot threats or system failures, said Forrester Research analyst Larry Fulton.

Coral8, of Mountain, View, Calif., was formed in 2003 by President and CTO Mark Tsimelzon, who previously led the design and architecture of Akamai's Edge Computing platform.

The startup is led by CEO Terry Cunningham, who cut his teeth in the business intelligence market by forming Crystal Decisions, which was acquired by BI giant Business Objects.

Coral8 declined to comment for this story.

Prime CEP applications are used for fraud detection, business process management, financial trading, network management and sensor networks, such as factory floors or RFID .

Forrester's Fulton said he could see the technology being very popular in RFID or other materials projects, where large numbers of objects need to be scanned and analyzed on the fly.

Financial services firms could use the technology to scrutinize stock portfolios or conduct millions of trades, Fulton added.

Gartner analyst Roy Schulte said Coral8's technology seems to be well engineered and scalable, though noted that the "company is small and does not have much track record yet so it is something for the risk-tolerant leading edge, not the mainstream."

Schulte said that CEP is part of an emerging paradigm shift toward event-driven architecture (EDA).

"The industry will be talking about EDA in 5 years the same way it is talking about SOA now," Schulte said, comparing the movement to the shift from traditional programming to object-oriented programming. "It's huge, and will be seen as the second wave, an extension of SOA where some of the rules of design change."

CEP is a very green field, mostly populated by small startups such as Streambase, Aleri and AptSoft. But larger players have taken an interest of late.

Tibco launched its BusinessEvents software for CEP in April.

IBM is working on Active Correlation Technology (ACT), a piece of software that aggregates, filters and correlates events for problem determination and detection of business situations.