As a proud Canadian and lifelong hockey player, my favorite athlete of all time is Wayne Gretzky. As it happens, his oft-quoted advice about “skating to where the puck is going to be” is a good summation of my goal and role as Solace’s CTO. In recent discussions with countless customers, partners and analysts, it’s become increasingly clear that the puck – in terms of the enterprise IT – is heading toward events.

Yes, event-driven architecture has been around for a while, but it’s only really caught on in the most demanding spaces like capital markets, gaming, payments and IoT, where the need for agility, speed, scalability and robustness are all mission critical. The convergence of trends like cloud, mobile, IoT and microservices is making these attributes more important to all businesses, and making events and event-driven architecture essential for all modern enterprises.

I see the recognition of this importance on both the technology and business sides of the house:

  1. Technologists are realizing the limitations of using REST for everything they do. They’re realizing that event-driven architecture enables them to build applications that are more agile, extensible, robust and scalable than those that rely exclusively on RESTful request/reply interactions.
  2. Business leaders are discovering how events can benefit their business. Being able to react to things as they happen, in real-time, is giving them the ability to provide a better customer experience, a better partner experience, and to realize operational efficiencies that they couldn’t otherwise achieve.

There’s a pretty big problem, however: building event-driven applications is hard. Why? If you look at the world of API-led applications, you’ll find all kinds of platforms, tools and know-how that help you build and run them – portals and platforms and tools that just don’t exist in the event-driven arena. My colleague Jonathan Schabowsky recently explained this phenomenon in a series of blog posts, but for my purposes I’ll just say that this shortcoming inspired a strategic initiative we’re calling Event Horizon.

With Event Horizon we’re packaging up everything we’ve built and learned over the last 15 years to provide all of the technology, tools and know-how it takes to accelerate and simplify the development of event-driven applications. As I mentioned earlier we’ve been working with customers and partners at the leading edge of events, and I know we’ve got a lot to offer. There are four key elements of Event Horizon:

  1. Event Management Platform – We’re expanding our offering to include all of the tools you need to deploy and manage an event distribution fabric called an event mesh as well as the ability to design, deploy and manage event-driven applications using the industry’s first event portal.
  2. Event Academy will facilitate the publication and sharing of best practices, thought leadership and more to make it easier for technologists to build, deploy and manage event-driven applications.
  3. Strategic partnerships with technology providers and other practitioners of event-driven applications will drive the development of joint solutions that meet customer needs around specific applications, industries and use cases.
  4. Participation in open source initiatives like Spring Cloud Stream and AsyncAPI to foster the development of tooling that supports the development and management of event-driven applications.

I’m excited about how Event Horizon will make it easier to design, build and deploy event-driven applications, and help businesses reap the rewards of becoming event-driven. To learn more, visit solace.com/event-horizon.

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.