Following days of chatter, blog posts and rumors, the worst kept secret in technology news is finally official today with Sybase announcing its acquisition of complex event processing provider Aleri.
Sybase struck a deal to acquire Aleri on January 22 and agreed to offer jobs to key Aleri staff, said Neil McGovern, director of product strategy at Sybase, in an interview. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
When asked by Wall Street & Technology if Sybase acquired Aleri because the CEP provider needed funding, representatives from Sybase could not comment directly. Jeff Wootton, who was vice president of product strategy at Aleri and who will take the new role of senior director of product management at Sybase said, "I can't comment on the motivations of [Aleri's] investors to sell, but this makes a lot of sense. There is a lot to gain by being part of a larger organization."
If Aleri was having financial difficulties, Aleri's competitors and industry observers were not aware of the fact. Mark Palmer, CEO of StreamBase Systems, a CEP provider and direct competitor to Aleri, said in an interview: "Aleri made some moves that should have put them in a good cash position. In the market, the products are well regarded and I would have guessed that they were doing pretty well."
Kevin McPartland, senior analyst, Tabb group, also hadn't heard of any financial difficulties. "I don't think anyone was concerned with the health of Aleri," he said in an interview. "The story of Coral8 and Aleri worked well."
Long-Time PartnersThe move follows Aleri's March 2008 acquisition of another CEP provider Coral8, and the March 2009 news that Sybase had embedded Corel8's engine in Sybase's RAP real-time analytic platform for electronic trading. In other words: Sybase and Aleri are well acquainted and are familiar with each other's products and capabilities.
"We have been working with Aleri for a while," said Sinan Baskan, director of business development for financial markets at Sybase in a telephone interview. "We licensed the Coral8 technology for a while and we have been working on a number of projects together."
Wootton added: "We started working closely with Sybase two years ago and we have integration capabilities with a number of other [non Sybase] databases. Today, customers are looking for more than just CEP," Wootton added. "Customers want to solve business problems and that means brining together a number of different technologies in an integrated offering," including CEP, analytics and a data repository.
Industry observers agree, and say Sybase's move should help meet customers' demands that CEP capabilities are more closely integrated to other tools. "From a CEP perspective, the providers are starting to see that customers are more receptive to CEP when it is tightly coupled with database technology," said Tabb's McPartland. "CEP does have value. CEP is a tool and a means to an end. It is not the solution itself. All of the CEP firms are well aware of that fact."
Adam Honore, senior analyst at Aite group, said in an interview he wasn't surprised by the news (or the numerous leaks) and that integrating the Aleri tools with Sybase's product offering is a no brainer. "It is an obvious move for Sybase and a nice win," Honore said. "There is a convergence of CEP and high performance databases and if you look at where everyone has gone, except for StreamBase and Progress [Software], Sybase and Aleri are following the same track."
StreamBase's Palmer said that the move is just another step in the consolidation trend, "but I think it is generally a positive move for the CEP industry. With this move, Sybase is showing that it thinks CEP is a growth area," he added.
Although Sybase will have an integrated stack of historical data repository technology, in-memory analytics and now CEP technology, Palmer welcomes the challenge. "We love to compete against big companies," he said. "We don't view it as a negative. It is not a competitor dissolving. It is a competitor attempting to build a unified stack. Some customers do not want the unified stack.
Daniel Chait, managing director of technology consultancy Lab49 agreed. "The CEP market has been undergoing rapid consolidation over the past 12-18 months," he stated. "A number of vendors, such as Oracle, Progress and now Sybase, have acquired independent CEP vendors, positioning CEP as an important component of the real-time enterprise technology stack. Sybase has assembled an impressive set of technologies in this space, and by adding Aleri they are well-positioned in the marketplace for high-speed data processing." Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio