Confluent Streaming Data: Product Overview and Analysis

By using a fully-managed Confluent streaming data service on Google Cloud, users can offload the operating burden of Apache Kafka and stream data at scale in real time to Google Cloud’s big data services, which including BigQuery, Cloud Machine Learning Engine and TensorFlow.

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Company Name: Confluent (Apache Kafka streaming platform)

Company Description: Founded in 2014 by Jay Kreps, Neha Narkhede and Jun Rao, the team that built Apache Kafka. Confluent has built a streaming platform that enables companies to efficiently access data as real-time streams.

Confluent, based on open-source Kafka code, in May 2018 announced a partnership with Google to make that cloud-based service available on Google Cloud Platform for enterprise production use cases.

These projects could include event-driven applications, machine learning for advanced analytics and hybrid-cloud data pipelines.

By using a fully-managed streaming data service on GCP, users can offload the operating burden of Apache Kafka and stream data at scale in real time to Google Cloud’s big data services, which including BigQuery, Cloud Machine Learning Engine and TensorFlow. This data streaming enables enterprises and developers to focus on generating faster and better business insights instead of managing infrastructure.

Confluent Cloud enacts the company's expertise gained from managing large streaming environments. This is a fully-managed service that enables enterprises to deploy their customer experience projects, fleet management upgrades, fraud detection and other real-time, large-scale initiatives in one place.

Apache Kafka is an open-source stream processing platform written in Scala and Java by Kreps, Narkhede and Rao while they were working at LinkedIn. It was then open-sourced through the Apache Software Foundation. Kafka provides a unified, high-throughput, low-latency platform for handling real-time data feeds.

Unlike conventional enterprise messaging software, Kafka is able to handle all the data flowing through a company and do it in near real time. Kafka is a high-performance publish/subscribe message bus designed for high availability and data durability, with minimal latency. Kafka acts as a central data backbone and enables loose coupling between applications (Akka), data processing (Spark) and data persistence (Cassandra) services.

Confluent also can be used in fraud detection.

Markets: Confluent’s markets include North America and Europe. It provides Apache Kafka streaming platform services to organizations across all industries, including retail, financial, technology and more.

Product and Services

Confluent’s products allow enterprise companies to know and respond to every single event in an organization in real time. Life a central nervous system, Confluent creates an Apache Kafka-based streaming platform to unite an organization around a single source of truth.

  • Confluent Open Source: Confluent Open Source is a tested, complete package around Apache Kafka that includes all the features needed to build a streaming platform. Key points: Apache Kafka, manage your schema, process with KSQL, build in any language and connect popular systems.
  • Confluent Enterprise: Confluent Enterprise includes Confluent Open Source, and adds features that improve scale, performance and reliability in production. Key points: monitor your development, automate resource allocation, achieve high availability and 24/7 support.

Insight and Analysis

Gartner Peer Insights has three reviews available as of August 2018. Here are highlights from one of them:

Overall Comment: “Very good support; product brings much more features than the community edition. Rest API is great to integrate with any language. Blasting fast! Bringing more monitoring and control over Kafka.”

What do you like most about the product or service? “Confluent Control Center gives a very good overview of the cluster health.”

What do you dislike most about the product or service? “So features were in community edition before, and now priced. This is scary for the future. Vendor locking.”

What one piece of advice would you give other prospective customers? “If you are new to Kafka, you should use Confluent Enterprise to ease the use of Kafka.”

Would you recommend this product or service to others? “Yes.”

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List of current customers: A public list of customers and their stories can be found here.

Delivery:  Software as a service, cloud

Pricing: Contact the company here.

Other key players in this market: Solace, CloudEra, MongoDB

Contact information for potential customers: https://www.confluent.io/contact/

General Inquiries: info@confluent.io

Phone: 800-439-3207

Resources

eWEEK.com

Gartner Peer Insights

Crunchbase

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...