On Astra Streaming. Q&A with Chris Latimer

Q1: What is Astra Streaming?

Astra Streaming is a modern, multi-cloud messaging and event streaming cloud service powered by Apache Pulsar™. It’s currently in beta and available for anyone to use. With DataStax’s Astra DB service, it gives organizations an open, multi-cloud stack for managing both data in motion and data at rest. This offering builds on DataStax’s Luna Streaming announcement in January and adds cloud-based capability to the company’s streaming offerings.

Q2: What are the key features of an event streaming platform?

When we talk about event streams, we’re really talking about some series of data. That series could be the items that you browse as you’re shopping on an e-commerce site, it could be the clicks you make on your favorite news app, or it could be a series of log messages that a program is producing as it carries on with its intended tasks (to name just a few).

Event streaming platforms give you a way to produce and store event streams as well as a way to interact with them, either in real-time or after the fact. For instance, you could have a real-time use case where an ecommerce site wants to see an up to the second view of how many people are viewing an item. You could also have data scientists at a news organization process those event streams of your article views to create a better recommendation engine that suggests more relevant, interesting articles based on individuals’ interests.

Q3: What is Apache Pulsar and why did you use it for Astra Streaming?

Apache Pulsar is a modern, high-scale, high-performance open source streaming technology that is the next generation technology for event streaming and distributed messaging. It offers substantial architectural benefits over competing technologies such as Apache Kafka that make it better suited for a cloud native operational approach based on Kubernetes. Pulsar also offers a complete feature set that addresses a comprehensive set of use cases across queuing, pub/sub, streaming and stream processing.

Q4: You mentioned that Astra Streaming is a natural complement to Astra DB (https://www.datastax.com/products/datastax-astra). Can you please elaborate on this?

When combined with the industry’s first and only open, multi-cloud serverless database, DataStax Astra DB, Astra Streaming enables users to easily build real time data pipelines in and out of their Astra DB instances and was built to handle the most stringent availability, scalability and latency requirements in scenarios such as real-time fraud detection, personalized customer experiences, and payment processing.

Astra Streaming and Astra DB are now connected in a unidirectional integration where users can turn data streams in Astra Streaming into materialized views in Astra DB using the built-in sink connector.

Q5: What are the classes of use cases that may benefit from Astra Streaming?

Digital Experiences– Astra Streaming provides capabilities to power interactive, real time data to enhance a business’ customer facing apps across a wide range of industries and form factors.

IoT– Astra Streaming is ideally suited to support large fleets of devices generating streams of sensor readings.

Operational ML– Astra Streaming provides the necessary capabilities to transform feature data and built in tiered storage for long term persistence of raw stream data. Combined with Astra DB’s keystore capabilities, users have a simplified platform to create a scalable feature store.

Real Time Analytics– Astra Streaming gives users the capabilities to process incoming streams of data from disparate sources to create real time data pipelines to increase visibility into events and operational aspects of business as they happen.

Q6: How can I get started with Astra Streaming?

You can get started with Astra Streaming by visiting this page creating a free account.

Q7: Is Astra Streaming open source? Can developers contribute?

Astar Streaming is powered by Apache Pulsar which is open source. You can contribute to Apache Pulsar by visiting the Apache project site (http://pulsar.apache.org/).


Chris Latimer is vice president of product management at DataStax, where he leads the company’s product strategy on event streaming and cloud messaging. Prior to DataStax, Chris spent over 20 years working in technology as a software engineer, architect and product manager at companies such as Google, NetJets, and Apigee.

Sponsored by DataStax

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