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The pros and cons of the Event Sourcing architecture pattern

The Event Sourcing architecture pattern has several advantages and offers flexibility. See whether this pattern can drive your next project.
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Having a grasp of common architectural patterns is essential to designing software architecture at scale. Using them saves not only time but also ensures a reliable implementation of your design. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when there’s an architectural pattern available that applies to an architecture you’re developing.

The following is a brief overview of the Event Sourcing architectural pattern.

Understanding the Event Sourcing pattern

The Event Sourcing pattern involves sending a continuous stream of messages to an authoritative storage target. Each message describes an event in the system. Examples include: A write to the database, request to a web server, or logging activity from within an application. Services and applications then query the event store for interesting events in a way that is particular to the purpose of the given service or application.

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Event sourcing
Figure 1: The Event Sourcing architecture pattern

Pros

  • Great for fail-safety. If the downstream source fails, its data can be reconstituted from the event store.
  • Extremely flexible. Any type of message can be stored. Any consumer can access the event store as long as appropriate access rights are granted.
  • Excellent for real-time data reporting, especially when used with an event-driven message broker such as Kafka.

Cons

  • Requires an extremely efficient network infrastructure given the inherent time sensitivity of the pattern and the susceptibility to potential latency issues.
  • Requires a reliable way to control message formats, for example, using a schema registry.
  • Different events will contain different payloads. There needs to be a single source of truth for defining and determining message formats for a particular event.

Putting it all together

Event Sourcing is gaining popularity as more applications need real-time data delivered in an asynchronous yet ordered manner, for example, ride-share applications. Also, Event Sourcing is gaining wide acceptance as a way to consume and manage applications’ log data at web-scale. As mentioned above, an event source can serve as a common point of truth for applications regardless of how the given application intends to process the data.

Topics:   Architecture patterns  
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Bob Reselman

Bob Reselman is a nationally known software developer, system architect, industry analyst, and technical writer/journalist. More about me

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