Enabling real-time data through event-driven computing

Image courtesy of Solace
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More than ever, the world is dependent on digital technology. Customers now expect to access online services at a tap of a button; otherwise, they’ll just go to a competing service. As a result, enterprises scramble to digitalise and implement such a capability.

One way to achieve this is through event-driven architectures and event brokers, which let businesses respond to events in their system or applications in real time – like when a customer hails a ride through a phone app, an item is out of stock, or the money available in an ATM drops below a specific amount.

Solace, an Ontario-headquartered enterprise, is a purveyor of such middleware. Specifically, the company makes appliances and software that route information between applications, devices, and user interfaces.

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Frontier Enterprise recently got in touch with Sumeet Puri, Solace’s Chief Technology Solutions Officer, to ask him about topics such as their PubSub+ event broker, how the technology benefits enterprises, and what they’re currently working on in their labs.

Talk to us about the technology behind Solace’s PubSub+ event broker. What sets its architecture apart from other similar technologies out there?

PubSub+ was originally designed for use cases where high throughput with low latency in a distributed environment is critical, such as capital markets. Till today, PubSub+ is used extensively in FX trading, equities, exchanges across the globe, connecting applications, databases, and front ends.

Unlike other event brokers/message brokers, PubSub+ was built “network up”, so it’s ideally suited to event streaming with both topics, replays, and queues. Regardless of the industry, be it payments, retail, supply chain, manufacturing or even government domains, PubSub+ can help to stream events in a guaranteed, filtered, and orderly manner. Its network up architecture also enables event brokers to form a hybrid cloud “event mesh” to manage data flow between distributed applications, no matter where these applications are deployed.

As such, PubSub+ provides messaging and routing features as well. Multi protocol interoperability across IoT and API use cases have simplified deployments for connecting millions of devices and apps. It implements open wireline protocols, as well as security and management features without the use of external components.

In addition, PubSub+ supports open standards such as AMQP, MQTT, REST, JMS and custom software APIs and protocols in many languages, making it easy to connect all kinds of applications with no risk of lock-in.

How does utilising event brokers benefit enterprises in this age of COVID-19, 5G rollouts, and rapid technological development?

In today’s fast-changing market, there is a greater need for businesses to be agile, nimble, and flexible to keep up with evolving customer expectations. Regardless of the industry, situational awareness, real-time responsiveness, and informed decision-making are all critical factors for long-term success.

The key to achieving this is real-time data. Businesses can outmanoeuvre uncertainty by using real-time data to learn, optimise, and make smarter decisions. For example, insights generated from real-time data have helped telcos such as XL Axiata deliver more targeted and personalised customer experiences, improving overall customer satisfaction and ultimately, their bottom line.

This is where event brokers come in. They ensure continuous, real-time data flow between IT and OT (operational technology) systems – across cloud, on-premises, and IoT environments – to enable enterprises to scale and respond to the ever-changing landscape in a timely manner.

What are the common challenges you face when deploying the cloud, software, and hardware versions of PubSub+ Event Broker? Which deployment option is available in Singtel’s Paragon platform?

At the moment, Singtel’s Paragon platform uses the Solace Private Cloud Deployment model. This allows easy spinning up and down, and scaling of Solace PubSub+ instances at the edge, on Singtel MEC (multi-access edge compute) via Paragon.

Having said that, the brokers in the MEC are capable of being bridged to the broader cloud and on-prem Solace event brokers or any form factor – appliance, software, or cloud managed. Most importantly, app teams don’t have to worry about the form factor, as all Solace form factors speak the same APIs. The choice of the form factor is just a sizing exercise, simply put.

What are Solace’s top technology challenges and goals for 2022?

We’re constantly working on product innovations to improve event streaming and real-time data movement, be it our core capabilities, event on-ramp/off-ramp adapters, or ease-of-use features.

Further to that, this year we’re really focusing on developments in product, partner, education and community building to make it easier for enterprises to adopt and benefit from event-driven architecture. This is part of our Event Horizon initiative to help enterprises become more real time in their operations and customer interactions. We’re also looking to become a foundational part of the real-time ecosystem, from enterprise resource planning software like SAP, to APIs and IoT connectivity.

How do you think the deployment of 5G-enabled technologies is faring in APAC? How has the pandemic influenced this deployment in the region?

We’re seeing good progress in the mature economies in the Asia-Pacific region due to strong regulatory support. In Singapore for example, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has been working with different companies to pilot 5G use cases and recently opened up 5G testbeds to all businesses. South Korea’s ICT ministry is also looking to boost the number of companies that specialise in 5G-enabled services within the next five years.

While the pandemic has caused delays to 5G infrastructure build outs and associated service deployments, it has also highlighted our dependence on digital services. Now more than ever, there is a crucial need for governments and enterprises to future-proof their networks and ensure that they are ready to handle the increasing demands for robust and reliable connectivity.

What are some of the most exciting developments in Solace’s labs at the moment, specifically in the technologies you plan to use?

With more use cases becoming real time and event-driven, we have been experimenting with video in a publish-subscribe manner, and we are planning to make these pub/sub video proxies open source soon.

While still in its infancy, we are also seeing some experiments with metaverse applications, linking the metaverse to existing apps in the real world via the event mesh.

Lastly, event streams need to be governed, visualised, and catalogued, which can be done using the Solace event portal. The PubSub+ Event Portal is an event management tool—presented through a web user interface—that aims to help enterprises design, discover, visualise, share, and manage various aspects of their event-driven architecture. It has an open-source collector framework which enables PubSub+ to talk to any message broker, and we’ve provided probes for Kafka, NATS, and RabbitMQ, among others. Not to mention all the core product innovations – faster, bigger networks with richer capabilities.