Everybody’s talking about events these days—event processing, event streams, and event-driven architectures. Event…ually it’s got to ease up, right? Not quite. All the talk points to the new age we’ve entered, that of the advanced event broker.

What we’re experiencing is not just a shift but a complete reversal of how people think about business processes and the technology that supports them—and I think we’re going to be in this age for a while. Let me explain.

The term that describes our entire industry—“information technology”—belies the fact that people have historically thought first and foremost about information. Bits and bytes, zeroes and ones. The data, the knowledge… that which is known and documented and stored and shared.

Business processes have been predefined through a series of operations to be performed, with many of those operations involving the “go get it” retrieval of information.

Event-driven thinking turns all that on its head.

It effectively aligns our business processes and technology with the way we live our lives — not just around what is known, but what is known in the context of what happens. Alarm goes off, you wake up. Light turns green, you go. You receive a text, bet you have to look.

Simply put, events are everything. Even the creation or modification of information—that’s an event.

As enterprises of all kinds strive toward digital transformation fueled by artificial intelligence, cloud architecture and the Internet of Things, they’ll find events to be the foundation of their next-generation infrastructure. They’ll have to if they want to be responsive to their users and anticipate their needs in this increasingly personalized and competitive world.

Gartner has been predicting and watching this trend for years, and shaping the language we use to describe it.

Their description and terminology is crystallizing around the term “Advanced Event Broker” and in a new report entitled Innovation Insight for Event Brokers they’ve nicely captured what events mean to your business, and why you need to take advantage of event-driven architecture and thinking.

The report also talks about the context in which events have become the future of IT, including the role of enabling technologies old and new, like message-oriented middleware, message brokers, and “hybrid integration platforms.”

If you’re responsible for developing applications or microservices, or architecting the complex distributed systems they make up, I suggest you give it a read because events, and your ability to incorporate them into your applications and infrastructure, will define winners and losers in the years to come.

Shawn McAllister

Shawn McAllister is Solace's Chief Technology Officer, responsible for deepening Solace’s understanding of requirements and use cases across industries and organizations, evangelizing our unique approach and solutions, and working closely with our customers to identify ways of improving our technology and value proposition.

Prior to joining Solace, Shawn led software, hardware, and test engineering teams at Newbridge Networks (later Alcatel Canada), where he was responsible for the development of features on ATM and Ethernet switches as well as the 7750 Multiservice IP Router. Mr McAllister was a regular attendee and contributor to the ATM Forum and co-inventor of several patents in the telecommunications space.