The same way that network routers provide flexibility for connecting computers, a data router like SocketStation provides flexibility for connecting your real-time data sources to your tools that process the data.
Your equipment and applications are sources of real-time data. Each data stream is accessed via a particular protocol: SNMP, serial ports, log files, and even proprietary APIs. Often, the source only supports one connection, so you only get to use one processing application. Access may be insecure, and a challenge to coordinate.
More specifically, it is limiting and complex. Complexity means expensive integrations. Limiting means you can get locked in to only one processing tool, and therefore one view of your data, from one vendor.
A data router replicates and buffers your live data, real-time, so that multiple data processors can simultaneously receive it. The beauty starts with ubiquitous access to your live data streams. Your downstream data processors are easier to hook up. And you can hook up more than one — each receiving the same live data.
Can you imagine running different or even competing products side-by-side? Keep your vendor's on their toes, and their pricing in check. Or just enjoy the competitive advantage of multiple perspectives.
A data router provides centralized access security, which is especially important for data sources that have none to begin with. Centralization simplifies management, which inherently improves security as well.
You might think that adding something to your network adds complexity. In practice, a data router actually reduces the complexity of integrating your data processing tools, just like a network router simplifies your cabling.
A data router achieves this by normalizing all your data access protocols into one homogeneous network interface, usually TCP sockets. Your data processing tools can just connect to the socket and they will start receiving live data. No protocol handshaking or complexity. Just like plugging in a lamp.
(Keep it simple, stupid.) This is no complex "message bus". Neither your data sources nor your data processors will know that a data router is in the middle. It is transparent, yet it gives you so much more control and flexibility. A data router can be a smart alternative to message buses.
A data router can centrally record all your raw data, for post-analysis, or playback. A good implementation will also automatically archive or purge old data.