5 Event Architecture Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Forrester said he is noticing an increased interest in EDA, which in turn leads to five big mistakes that he says should be avoided.

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Forrester Research has released a report that compiles five of the biggest mistakes an organization can make when using event-driven architecture (EDA), and how to avoid those mistakes.

Event-driven architecture isn’t new, and Forrester’s report acknowledges that fact. He adds that adoption has accelerated recently, particularly “Forrester has seen increased interest in leveraging events for digital transformation in a way like REST APIs,” the report says.

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Forrester cites eBay’s account deletion notifications and Walmart’s order and inventory notifications as two real-world uses of events, and said these uses are evidence that “organizations are moving along a path of maturity, moving simply from seeing events as a coding model to using events for business innovation.”

As with any new technology adoption, mistakes happen, in planning and execution. As Forrester said in their report, EDA is nothing new. By extension, neither are its problems, five of which, according to Forrester, are best avoided. Luckily, they’ve provided tips on how to do it.

1. Don’t assume your first approach is the only one

If you come to an event from a certain angle, you may miss other ways to use that same event for additional business functions, Forrester said. This goes doubly for those with initial success: it’s easy to become blind to new possibilities when the first one worked so well.

To avoid this, Forrester recommends becoming familiar with many different architecture contexts and directions early on “so that you can consciously decide what can add value to your organization,” the report says.

In short, start by thinking about what an event can do before trying to use it for a particular purpose.

2. Events are not the end of everything, be everything

Forrester said he frequently sees organizations that adopt EDA ignore other design patterns. Unfortunately, this means that events are used to linking loosely coupled event features, which in turn ignores a more consistent method of grouping related items.

Instead of forcing the EDA, use what’s appropriate in the circumstances, Forrester recommends. “Use events alongside orchestration and APIs,” the report says.

3. Don’t limit yourself to EDA technology

Technologies like Pub-Sub, Kafka, and FaaS all have EDA applications, but if you assume that one of them will meet all of your EDA needs, you’re wrong, Forrester said.

“If you equate events with one technology, you limit your design options and reduce the market potential of your event strategy,” the report says. In addition to the three aforementioned technologies, options include stream analysis, stream processing, cloud-based queuing services, and others that each have applications for which they are best suited.

4. EDA is more than just using events

It is easy, according to the report, “for developers to think that having events means they are doing events as architecture. Architecture organizes systems to provide business value, so EDA implies that events determine how your systems deliver business value.”

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In fact, implementing EDA means going beyond using events to trigger a response and towards using events to create a way to contextualize events, catalog them appropriately, and to allow a company to act accordingly.

5. Centralize your EDA strategy

Forrester said the events are anything but single-team localized. Instead, they move across domains and between teams and processes in such a way that if each team is allowed to develop its own architecture based on business events, things would quickly become incomprehensible.

Forrester said there are four key points of coordination for EDA: taxonomy, identification and classification hierarchy, formats and schemas, and models and technology choices. A successful EDA strategy will focus on these key points first and be built from a central axis to ensure smooth communications.

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