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Community Blog How Far Away Are We From Event-Driven Architecture?

How Far Away Are We From Event-Driven Architecture?

This article discusses the positive and negative ideas surrounding event-driven architecture.

By Chenyang

In recent years, cloud-native and Serverless have become buzzwords, and event-driven architectures have become a hot topic in the cloud application architecture field once again. According to a Gartner report, the event-driven model is listed as one of the ten major strategic technology trends, and event-driven architecture (EDA) will become the mainstream part of microservices in the future. The report also made the following predictions:

  • By 2022, the software model of event notification will become a solution for more than 60% of new digital businesses.
  • By 2022, more than 50% of business organizations will participate in the ecosystem of event-driven digital business services.

A Bright Future but a Sad Reality

Despite the wonderful ideas, implementing the event-driven architecture is not simple in practice. Its main problems are explained below:

  • No Standard for Events and Difficult to Access: Hundreds of millions of events are generated every day in Alibaba Cloud’s products, from IaaS to PaaS. However, these cloud products do not use uniform standards to define and describe these events. Therefore, users cannot obtain and process events in the same way.
  • Serious Event Island without Cascading Applications: Events in cloud products are isolated naturally. The lack of a unified event hub makes it difficult for users to cascade events of multiple products in series for application processing. Thus, it is difficult to explore useful business values.
  • Weak Event Response: Currently, event processing for most cloud products is limited to event monitoring and alerting, which belongs to an offline analysis scenario. However, all cloud users need to connect these events to their online business systems to respond to and process events online and bring the events into practice.
  • Poor Event Management: The current event management of most cloud products is in the primary stage, lacking the full management of the event lifecycle and the ability to archive, trace, and diagnose the trajectory of events for a long time. For these reasons, it is difficult to locate problems for users.

Basic Model of EventBridge Bus

Alibaba Cloud launched the EventBridge Bus in November 2020 to solve these problems. EventBridge is a serverless event bus service that serves as a hub for cloud events. It connects cloud products and cloud applications with the CloudEvents 1.0 Protocol and provides centralized event management and driving capabilities. By doing so, it helps users build loosely coupled, distributed event-driven architectures easily.

In addition, there are a large number of vertical SaaS services in the cloud market outside Alibaba Cloud. EventBridge will integrate and be integrated across products, organizations, and clouds to help customers build a complete event-driven interface with efficient and controllable features on the cloud. Alibaba Cloud EventBridge provides the following core capabilities:

(1) Massive Alibaba Cloud Event Sources: EventBridge currently supports the official event access of more than 60 Alibaba cloud products. Users can get access to various resources, O&M, and audit events at no cost.

(2) Multiple Types of Custom Event Sources: EventBridge allows users to upload custom event content through the CloudEvent 1.0 standard protocol. It also supports the cleaning of data sources into custom events, such as messages and database changes.

(3) Rich Event Objectives and Processing Modes: EventBridge supports more than ten event targets, such as SMS, email, DingTalk, and API. More than ten event processing modes are supported, including full extraction, constants, and templates. Users can complete event-driven architecture and processing without any code.

(4) Sound Event Management and Reach Capability: EventBridge supports diagnostic capacities, such as event lifecycle query and tracing. It also allows users to reach complex events across networks, accounts, and regions.

The EventBridge products include several basic concepts, such as events, event buses, event sources, event rules, and event targets.

1

As shown in the preceding figure, events are generated and transmitted to the event buses through three types of event sources – official Alibaba Cloud, customized applications, and third-party SaaS. Users can configure event rules in the event buses to filter events and switch and ship the processed events to the user-specified event targets.

1. Typical Scenarios

Based on the existing capabilities of EventBridge, three typical scenarios are listed below:

Scenario 1: Cloud-Native Massive Media Processing Business

In the online education, gaming and live streaming industries, a large number of media data exists as online classrooms, and live broadcast rooms are produced, including audio and video file editing, slicing, and transcoding. Steep peaks and valleys during business processes exist in these industries. This type of business requires real-time event-driven coordination and Serverless execution capabilities to meet the high real-time, low-cost, and highly elastic business needs.

2

In this business scenario, EventBridge collects upload and change events from original files and drives downstream functions to perform highly concurrent and elastic media processing logic based on the business logic. After the function computing product is processed, it drives the results to downstream media channels while the processing results can reach offline notification channels, such as DingTalk, SMS, and mailboxes, as well as online channels, such as APIs and message queues through EventBridge. The solution enhanced elastic capacity, achieved lower O&M costs, and increased real-time performance after using EventBridge and computing functions.

Scenario 2: 360-Degree Business Panorama

As enterprises increase their business scales, business stability becomes increasingly important. It is particularly important to build a 360-degree and comprehensive monitoring system for applications to prevent frequent failures as the scenarios become more complex. After cloud-native reconstruction, traditional applications also bring more complexity to the application stability management while enjoying the dividends of cloud-native technologies. The most significant issue is that it is difficult to control changes. The business relies on the entire cloud infrastructure, physical resources, and cloud services at the IaaS layer, network resources, and even the dependent upstream and downstream services, which are changing constantly. Asa result, it is difficult for users to perceive the occurrence of the changes and corresponding impacts immediately, as 95% of the faults are caused by changes.

EventBridge solves this problem by creating a 360-degree business panorama, perceiving the changes and abnormal reactions clearly, and accessing whether these abnormal reactions are related to the recent changes in the entire product business process. If there are special problems, users can help products recover quickly through self-maintenance, thus minimizing the impact.

3

These capabilities are made possible by EventBridge's capabilities to integrate multiple cloud product events and trigger multiple cloud product responses through events. The event is an important carrier of information, coordinating various cloud services to work in an orderly manner through EventBridge.

Scenario 3: A New Retail Smart Furniture Store

How many scenarios can EventBridge reach in the future? Let's look at a scenario of a new retail smart furniture store:

  • Events, such as commodity warehousing and when customers walk into stores, are entering the online analysis system in real-time through EventBridge. They let us know when the specific furniture products are available in the store and the furniture preference of the customers entering the store, thus pushing the information to the shopping guide or advertising screens to help the store better order conversion.
  • After the customer pays online, the order information will be sent to EventBridge, and the third-party logistics companies will be triggered to deliver the products.
  • Third-party logistics companies can push the location information of furniture to the mobile app through EventBridge in real-time. This way, customers can find out where their furniture is in real-time through the appl and estimate how long it will take to arrive.

All of the online business event data transferred through EventBridge will be transferred to the offline analysis system through EventBridge eventually. Business reports will be generated automatically for management to make performance appraisals or operation decision-making.

4

EventBridge plays a key role in this scenario. Whether it is in IoT, online business, or big data scenarios, EventBridge transfers event information efficiently to drive the achievement of business targets. The event serves as online business data and offline analysis data, reducing costs and improving efficiency.

What's Next?

Recently, EventBridge has witnessed comprehensive development and enhancement in its ecosystem integration scale, event reach capability, and event application integration.

  • In terms of the scale of ecosystem integration, Alibaba Cloud has accessed event sources for more than 30 cloud products based on Alibaba Cloud audit products, covering mainstream cloud products, such as computing, storage, network, and database.
  • In terms of the event reach capability, in-depth event reach capabilities, such as cross-network, cross-region, and cross-account, have been added. Furthermore, such capabilities support centralized event management for enterprise customers using resource accounts and allow other member accounts and events of other regions to be managed.
  • In terms of the event processing solution, the event query and event track query are added to help users locate exceptions in the event-driven process quickly.

Expectations

As the official event hub product of Alibaba Cloud, the core capability of EventBridge focuses on connection and integration. EventBridge will expand the scale of scenarios from Alibaba Cloud network environments in future connection scenarios. Business applications will be deployed in on-premises IDCs, cross-cloud vendors, and edge environments of public networks that all Alibaba Cloud EventBridge applications can connect with each other.

In integration scenarios, EventBridge will continue to expand the scale of event sources and targets, covering more cloud products, customized data sources, and third-party SaaS. In addition, EventBridge will build event application templates based on various application scenarios to reduce the complexity of user event integration development, allowing users to integrate them at a low cost with a simple configuration.

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