The AsyncAPI - Phase II Catalyst aims to provide a simplified route to adopting event-driven architecture without operational disruption
A clear route to adopting EDA without architectural overhaul
Event-driven architecture (EDA) is rapidly becoming a key principle in contemporary software design, with benefits to offer organizations across sectors. Those benefits include improved agility (through real-time intelligence and responsiveness), scalability, and resilience – it can also help businesses understand their customers better, and so offer more personalized experiences. By using EDA’s automated system of trigger actions, service providers and wholesalers in particular can achieve faster innovation cycles, adapt to changing market demands, and enhance customer experience through timely, automated responses to critical events and data insights.
There is however a dilemma when it comes to embracing EDA while ensuring operational continuity. While the allure of adopting event-driven architecture is clear to many companies, the prospect of upending their entire technology stack can be daunting – many find themselves torn between the necessity to adopt EDA and the fear of operational disruption. Numerous modern application design systems – including in IoT, digital twins, B2B ecosystems and platform business – are increasingly event-driven. But a lack of EDA competency delays organizations’ attempts to modernize – and understanding the hesitancy to overhaul entire architectures in one fell swoop is key to producing a viable solution.
The answer is therefore to introduce EDA in a phased manner – so for companies seeking the advantages of EDA without risking operational disruption, the AsyncAPI - Phase II Catalyst provides a compelling solution. The project aims to bridge the gap between existing REST-based components and new EDA frameworks. By facilitating gradual transition, companies can harness the power of EDA without the disruption of wholesale redevelopment of their existing stacks, a task deemed almost insurmountable by most service providers and wholesalers.
At the heart of this initiative lies an event bridge which is designed to facilitate the integration of REST-based systems and the new EDA components. This event bridge, based on the TMF 688 Event Hub API, allows components to create and register for topics over which event notifications can be sent. The topics can be sent either over OpenAPI REST callbacks, or to EDA technologies such as Kafka topics using AsyncAPI. AsyncAPI is the new industry standard way to define event-driven architectures in the same way OpenAPI did for REST interfaces. In September 2023, TM Forum announced its adoption alongside Open APIs and services, confirming it will be published in both standards going forward.
The gateway allows a company’s partners to use OpenAPI REST calls and does not require them to adopt new technologies, allowing a company to transform its stack using a mix of existing components and new components built on EDA technologies. This enables a seamless flow of information between what would otherwise be incompatible systems, allowing companies to manage essential processes such as product and service orders as well as resource allocation scenarios. By providing this intermediary layer, the Catalyst ensures a harmonious coexistence of traditional REST-based functions and the transformative potential of EDA.
This approach enables companies to unlock the transformative benefits of EDA without upending their entire technological infrastructure, and risking their operational stability. The value of this Catalyst however extends beyond its immediate application. By providing a practical roadmap for EDA integration, the Catalyst helps accelerate the shift in how service providers and wholesalers approach technological evolution. The wider value of this project, then, is in its ability to future-proof businesses. As technology continues to advance, companies that successfully integrate EDA will be better positioned to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. By laying the foundation for a modular, scalable, and resilient architecture, this Catalyst helps equip businesses with the tools they need not just for today's challenges, but also the unforeseen challenges of tomorrow.
According to Steve Ranford-Bragg, Principal Solution Architect at BT, “by allowing companies to use EDA, they will be able to take advantage of the agility, flexibility and resilience the technology offers. It also extends the TM Forum standards to include support for AsyncAPI which expands its support for different technologies member wish to use.” By bridging the gap between legacy systems and newer architectures, this Catalyst empowers businesses to navigate the complexities of digital transformation with confidence. In an era where adaptability is often synonymous with success, this Catalyst illuminates a path towards EDA without fear of disruption.