On April 9, 2020, Striim’s co-founder and CTO Steve Wilkes joined GigaOm’s analyst Andrew Brust (bio) in an interview-style webinar on “Streaming Data: The Nexus of Cloud Modernized Analytics.” Over the course of the hour, the two talked about the evolution of data integration needs, what defines streaming data integration, capturing transactional data through change data capture (CDC), comparative approaches for data integration, where companies typically start with streaming data, use case examples, how it supports cloud initiatives, providing a foundation for operational intelligence, and even its role in AI/ML advancements.
While we can’t cover it all in one blog post, here is a “top 4” list of our favorite things highlighted during the webinar — and we invite you to view the entire on-demand event by watching it online…
#1: “Today, People Expect to Have Up-to-the-Second Information” — Steve Wilkes
Andrew asked Steve to do a bit of “wayback machine” to trace how we arrived at the need for streaming, real-time data. “Twenty years ago, most data was created by humans working on applications with data stored in databases, and you’d use ETL to move and store the data in batches into a data warehouse. It was OK to see data hours or even days later, and everyone did that,” said Steve. But fast-forward to our daily lives today and how we get immediate updates on things like Twitter feeds, news alerts, instant messaging with friends, and expectations have changed.
“So the business world needs to work the same way, and this does drive competitive pressures,” he continued. “If you’re not having this view into your operations and what your customers need, someone else will and they can push you out of business.”
Related to this, Andrew said later in the webinar: “We have new modes of thinking. But using older modes of technology, we’re going to run into issues.”
#2: Cloud Adoption Driving the Need for Streaming Data
As Steve noted, there’s been a significant shift from all on-premises systems to cloud-based environments, but there is still the need to get data into the cloud in order to get use from it.
Steve shared with Andrew that what Striim sees across its global customer case in terms of adoption is that the majority have a first goal of building the ability to stream their data first and then use it to power the analytics.
“Initial use cases are often zero-downtime data migrations to cloud or feeding a cloud-based data warehouse…. Once they’ve stream-enabled a lot of their sources, they will start to think about what analytics they can promote to real time and where they can get value out of that,” said Steve.
#3: A Range of Business Use Cases
Throughout the webinar, Andrew mentioned a few possible use cases, particularly in the context of the global pandemic being faced. “There’s nothing more frustrating, especially in these times of lockdown, when it says something is in stock and then you go to confirm the purchase and it says it’s out of stock … or you find out later.”
From Steve: “That real immediacy into what customers are doing, need, and want is key to what streaming data can do.”
Another example Andrew used illustrated the need for operational intelligence using real-time data. He referenced his home state of New York as it faces the coronavirus pandemic, where the real-time sharing of data about medical supplies and personnel data across the state’s hospitals could improve decisions to best allocate and redistribute those assets.
Shifting to the analytics side, Steve described operational intelligence as being able to change what you know about your operations and the decisions you make, based on current information. He gave the example of being able to track down critical devices, such as wheelchairs, in settings such as airports and hospitals.
The two also discussed how streaming data fits with AI/ML, where Steve commented how streaming data can be used to get data ready and processed for AI models to improve efficiency and performance.
#4: Status of Streaming Data
Andrew polled attendees with the question of where they are today with having streaming data in their organization.
At least half of the attendees said they are using streaming data at least occasionally, which suggests that streaming data integration will continue to grow in popularity and ubiquity. Another 25% are currently evaluating streaming data technology.
Andrew asked Steve for his thoughts on the 15% who felt they don’t have a need for streaming data. As Steve commented: “A lot of organizations have a perception of what a real-time application is and the categories of use cases they are good for. But if you are moving applications to the cloud and they are business-critical, if you can’t turn them off for a few days, how do you do that without turning it off when data is still changing. There’s a need for real-time streaming data there.”
As you can see, the two covered a lot of ground — and so much more during this interactive webinar event. It is available to watch on demand at your convenience, so please check it out. We thank GigaOm and Andrew Brust for hosting this engaging program.
Also, you can learn more about the topic of Streaming Integration in a new 100+ book published by O’Reilly Media and co-authored by Steve Wilkes, who was the speaker of this webinar. Download your free PDF copy today.