Last week marked an important milestone: The Community Technology Preview release of StreamInsight (formerly known as Microsoft’s platform for Complex Event Processing - CEP), is going live as a public download! You can find the download page by clicking here.

Why is this cool?

StreamInsight provides a solution for continuous and incremental processing of unending sequences of events (that’s a mouth full, to say the least!) from multiple sources with near-zero latency.

If you look at industries such as power & utilities, manufacturing, oil and gas, financial services, health care, web analytics, and IT and data center monitoring, you can start to visualize a scenario involving lots of data being generated very quickly, creating need for companies to look for patterns and events that might trigger other processes.

An example of leveraging CEP is fielding outage events from customer meters, consolidating those events into streams supplying both Outage Management and Customer Service. Microsoft StreamInsight can be used to analyze the individual outages and identify faults, in realtime in sequence, and provide the information to downstream users – such as Outage Management. Streams can feed other streams so individual meter events showing customer outages can be consolidated and replaced at the system level with a single consolidated feeder segment outage alarm. Thus, insight from new AMI systems can be leveraged without exposing operators in the call center or control room to an avalanche of fine grained alarms.

In a nut shell, StreamInsight allows software developers to create innovative solutions in the domain of Complex Event Processing that satisfy such needs. It enables information technology with the ability to monitor, mine, and develop insights from continuous unbounded data streams and correlate constantly changing events with rich payloads in near real time. Industry specific solution developers (ISVs) and developers of custom applications have the opportunity to innovate on and utilize proven, flexible, and familiar Microsoft technology and rely on existing development skills when using the StreamInsight platform.

Some of the key feature areas are:

· Derive meaningful and relevant information from data/events streams through complex patterns. These patterns can be defined using a declarative query paradigm based on well-defined streaming semantics with LINQ as query language.

· For the development of applications, adapters, and analytics, the user can rely on well-established and powerful development frameworks and tools such as .NET, LINQ, and Microsoft Visual Studio.

· The platform integrates with various data sources and sinks through input and output adapters. The framework to build domain-specific adapters utilizes a .NET API to make adoption of the platform easy. Independence between adapters and queries facilitates seamless integration of real-time and historical analysis.

· The platform architecture supports a variety of deployment options, from scenarios with a low-footprint embedded option to high-end server deployments.

· A rich set of manageability features such as a management interface, a diagnostic interface and a debugging tool are provided as part of the platform.

This is our first public beta and we would like to invite you to try out our bits and provide feedback. The best way to communicate your feedback is to report any bugs or feature requests at SQL Server Connect. It now also includes a version and category specifically targeted for StreamInsight. All bugs, issues, and feature requests submitted through this tool will go directly to the development team.

Along with the StreamInsight .msi you are also able to download a .zip file containing documentation (also online on MSDN) and samples. We strongly recommend that you use the samples to become familiar with our product and its capabilities. Moreover, we will guide you through various aspects of the product on our StreamInsight Blog. The StreamInsight Forum is closely monitored by the development team and provides you with a basic level of support.

If you are interested in other SQL Server CTPs, please visit this site as well: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP.

We would like to thank you for your continued interest in StreamInsight and are very much looking forward to your experiences and feedback!

- Jon Arnold and Larry Cochrane