There has been a lot of buzz recently about the latest Three Letter Acronym (TLA); Event Driven Architecture or EDA. Gartner have defined this in a set of whitepapers at http://www4.gartner.com/pages/story.php.id.8911.s.8.jsp
This has been picked up by the press at http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1615434,00.asp and http://www.computerworld.com/softwaretopics/software/appdev/story/0,10801,81133,00.html
The concept here is to have set of “agents” which wait for events and then undertake specific activities. The obvious example is monitoring hardware with an agent and then doing some specific action. This is not particularly new; I remember working on mainframes in the 70’s and a Customer Engineer turning up with a new memory card because the mainframe had detected an ECC memory system failure and phoned through to the IBM office to order a replacement. Many systems today can do similar functions, indeed windows update can be thought of as a simple example.
Moving forward however these concepts can also be used in the business world and that gets much more innovative and interesting. An Event Driven Architecture would sit as a set of agents on top of a number of services in a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and orchestrate those services to respond to business events.
Clearly EDA and SOA are very complementary in a similar way to the complementary spaces of SOA and Object Orientation (See http://blogs.msdn.com/richturner666/archive/2004/06/08/151066.aspx)
I have been presenting for a while on these “orchestrated” systems and working with a number of companies trying to implement them in real life, alas I didn’t have a good TLA for them but Gartner has!
I do believe that these EDA systems will be a key element to providing real time or agile businesses. It will be interesting to see what happens in this space.