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How To Get Started With Event Stream Processing

Most people think of event stream processing (ESP) as a complex and challenging topic reserved for experts in the field. But that's not always the case.

ESP can be simple to understand and use, especially if you break it down into its essential components. This article will explore those vital components and show how they can be used to create a simple ESP system. We'll also examine some of the benefits of using ESP in your projects.

An Introduction to Event Stream Processing

Event stream processing is a real-time method of processing data streams as events occur. This allows for near-instantaneous analysis and decision-making based on the data, which is incredibly useful when dealing with big data.

ESP systems are often used in applications where time is of the essence, such as fraud detection, financial trading, and sensor data analysis. When it comes to fraud detection, combining ESP with big data is even helping governments identify threats, frauds, and crimes.

Although ESP has been around for many years, the term was first coined in 2002 by Dr. SadhanaGanorkar in her paper "Event Stream Processing: A New Paradigm for Real-Time Systems."

Some famous event stream processing companies include Amazon, Netflix, Uber, and Airbnb.

The Basic Components of an ESP System

An ESP system typically consists of four essential components: event sources, event processors, event sinks, and connectors. Here's a closer look at them:

Event Sources

These systems or devices generate the data streams that will be processed. Examples of event sources include sensors, financial transactions, social media posts, and weblogs.

Event Processors

These components receive data from the event sources and perform some type of processing. This could include filtering, aggregating, or transforming the data.

Several tools are available for this process, such as Segment and Rudderstack. If you're having difficulty deciding which of the two popular services you should use, take a look at this comprehensive guide on Segment vs. Rudderstack.

Event Sinks

These systems or devices store or act on the processed data. Examples of event sinks include databases, monitoring dashboards, and control systems.


Such components link the event sources and event processors or between the event processors and event sinks.

Connectors can be either push-based or pull-based. Push-based connectors send data as soon as it is available, while pull-based connectors only send data when the event processor requests.

How To Build a Simple ESP System

Now that we've looked at the essential components of an ESP system, let's see how they can be used to build a simple system.

We'll use a log file as our event source for this example. Every time a new entry is added to the log file, we'll want to process it and store it in a database.

Here's how we would set up such a system:
  1. First, we'll need to install a log shipper on our server. This will monitor the log file and send new entries to the event processor.
  2. The next step is to set up the event processor. To use in this example, we have Apache Flume.
  3. Once Flume is installed, we'll need to configure it to receive data from the log shipper and store it in a database.
  4. The final step involves setup a database on our server. In this instance, we'll use MySQL.
Once these components are installed and configured, our simple ESP system will be up and running!

Why Use ESP?

There are many reasons to use event stream processing in your projects. Here are just a few:
  1. ESP allows you to analyze data as it happens, leading to real-time data analysis, which can be vital in time-sensitive applications.
  2. By processing data in real time, you can avoid the need to store large amounts of data that will never be used. This can free up valuable storage space, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.
  3. Event Stream Processing systems are highly configurable and can be tailored to fit the specific needs of your project. Such flexibility is not always possible with traditional data processing methods.
  4. ESP systems can easily be scaled up or down to accommodate changes in data volume or complexity.


Event stream processing is a powerful tool that can be used to process data in real time. It offers many advantages over traditional data processing methods and can be easily tailored to fit the specific needs of your project.

If you're looking for a way to get started with event stream processing, hopefully, this article has given you some food for thought. Thanks for reading!