Role of modern streaming architectures

Srinivasulu Grandhi is the Vice President of Engineering and Site Leader at Confluent. He is responsible for developing products and solutions that help enterprises deliver optimized experiences to their customers. Over the past three decades, Grandhi has had a myriad of experiences within the technology sector, ranging from architecting and building large-scale enterprise systems to product management to building and leading engineering organizations.

The concept of IoT is born out of the need to capture data about physical things in real time for higher efficiency and better customer experiences. In the world today, we are seeing an increase in the number of sensors, cameras and other connected devices, made possible by improved internet capability, hardware and chip design. But the increased connected devices also mean an exponential increase in data volume, which adds to the difficulty of handling data at scale and in real time.

For IoT to work, data streams need to flow both in and out of devices in real time. Traditional data management is not built to handle such dramatic increases in data or cope with the broad range of connected devices. This requires a data infrastructure that supports collecting a continuous flow of data that can process that flow of data in real-time.

Modern streaming architectures can help deliver continuous, real-time data integration across all applications, systems, and IoT devices. It can unify the constant flow of IoT data without any disruption or data loss. And it can process millions of data points per second, transform and enrich data in real time for monitoring, alerting, improved operational efficiency and faster and more intelligent decisions.

Challenges faced by Modern Streaming Architecture

In our inaugural State of Data in Motion report which surveyed 1,950 tech leaders, more than 80% of organizations report real-time data streams are critical to building responsive business processes and rich, customer experiences. However, harnessing the full power of real-time data streams is difficult for many organizations. In fact:
● 60% of tech leaders say difficulties integrating multiple data sources are the biggest hurdle to accessing more real-time data.
● 40% reported difficulty integrating data in a timely way.

Real-time data streaming becomes even more important as organizations struggle with cloud strategies. While multi-cloud is common, only 39% of respondents say they’re “completely prepared” to operate in a hybrid cloud environment, where some of their data is in the cloud and some still on premises. This results in challenges with data synchronization, access, and governance.

Essentially, any modern streaming architecture needs to integrate multiple data sources across on-premises and multi-cloud environments with the right level of governance. And because life and business happens in real time, all of this needs to happen continuously and at the speed of life.

Impact of Modern Streaming Architecture on the Automotive Industry

The traditional automotive business model is being challenged by fast-changing customer needs, autonomous and self-driving vehicles, pervasive connectivity, and environmental regulations. Data generated by connected vehicles can be capitalized to deliver greater auto-safety, monitor vehicle performance and health and transform driving experiences. It is also one of the best examples where real-time data is crucial and can make the difference between life and death.

Modern streaming architectures should be able to facilitate the exchange of data in a reliable and timely manner, at scale. In the case of a road accident, drivers nearby can be informed based on their location data and receive real-time traffic updates to plan their alternate route accordingly. This is made possible by correlating data from cameras, radar, sensors from multiple vehicles and the traffic information at different locations to gain insights that can help drivers drive safer.

On the manufacturing side, for example, the team at Tesla is able to unlock insights into its fleet by processing trillions of events per day from every part of the business, with just a handful of people. This allowed the team to run complex predictions against its entire fleet to optimize efficiency or inform the next generation of manufacturing. All of this, and more, is enabled by a system capable of ingesting, processing, storing, and serving these trillions of data points.

Future of Modern Streaming Architecture

The digital realm has become the new competitive battlefield in the global economy. In order to compete and win in today’s world, organizations must continually innovate on software systems that run increasingly core aspects of their operations.

The critical applications in a modern software-defined business are about delivering end-to-end digital customer experiences, and fully integrated real-time operations. These systems must cut across infrastructure silos and continually react, respond, and adapt to an ever-evolving business in real-time. To accomplish this, we need a modern streaming architecture that supports collecting a continuous flow of data from across the company and building applications that process and react to that flow of data in real-time. In other words, as a company increasingly becomes software-defined, it needs a data platform built for data in motion. By setting data in motion, you bring together all databases and tools into a single system, so that you have constant access to the data you store in real time.

Effectively, modern streaming architectures are a foundation to a “real time” enterprise.

It must enable data streams to be more easily accessible across all lines of businesses, from the back-end developers to the front-facing line of business managers. This will also require a heavy focus on data governance to ensure data compliance amidst an ever-evolving landscape of data regulations.

We’ve heard stakeholders express uncertainty about the potential costs, the maturity and security of data in motion, in addition to worries about internal skill requirements. In reality, the benefits of data in motion are proven, and it pays for itself almost instantly. The insights generated drive improvements to customer experience. This means you’re more likely to retain customers and interest new ones in the future.

This is where Confluent’s platform comes in. Our cloud-native offering is designed to be the intelligent connective tissue enabling real-time data, from multiple sources, to constantly stream across the organization. With Confluent, our customers can meet the new business imperative of delivering rich, digital customer experiences and real-time business operations. Our mission is to set data in motion so any organization can innovate and win in a digital-first world.