DataStax makes Astra Streaming service generally available

Astra Streaming has been in beta across 977 enterprises since last year and is also integrated into Datastax’s serverless managed database, AstraDB, giving it the ability to support applications built on data-in-motion.

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Just months after adding low-latency change data capture (CDC) capabilities to its AstraDB NoSQL database-as-a-service, DataStax on Wednesday said that it was making its managed Astra Streaming service generally available.

Built on the open source Apache Pulsar project, Astra Streaming comes with built-in API-level support for other streaming and messaging platforms such as Apache Kafka, RabbitMQ and Java Message Service (JMS), said Patrick McFadin, vice president of developer relations at DataStax.

Originally built at Yahoo, Pulsar has emerged as an open source event-streaming tool to rival Apache Kafka, which processes and delivers database changes in real time and distributes the results to the enterprise's choice of landing zone.

With Astra Streaming, DataStax wants to help enterprises deal with the challenge of becoming cloud-native and finding efficiencies around their existing infrastructure, the company said.

"We didn't want to tell enterprises to just go rewrite their applications from the ground up just to use some new technology and that's why we have built Astra Streaming on opensource Pulsar and have integrated support for other popular streaming and messaging services such as Kafka," McFadin said.  

Astra Streaming, which comes with a pay-as-you-go pricing structure and supports multicloud environments, is expected to offer a lower cost of ownership than other messaging and streaming services, said Chris Latimer, vice president of product management at DataStax.

"We've found that while organizations like the Kafka API, they are getting increasingly frustrated by its sprawling architecture and the high licensing costs required to make Kafka enterprise-ready," Latimer said.

Astra responds to demand for real-time streaming

As businesses look to offset the negative impact of the pandemic and other geopolitical scenarios, there is a rising demand for real-time interactive applications, which in turn raises a case for real-time streaming of data and the need for a service such as Astra Streaming. 

"Business happens in real time, continuously processing streams of data is imperative for enterprises to optimize decisions, actions and experiences. Streaming data can be a game changer for companies to make predictive business decisions and gain competitive advantages," said Amy Machado, research director at IDC.

The launch of the new managed streaming service could aid efforts to eliminate enterprise data silos and support modern data applications, thereby increasing the chance of adoption among developers, said Matt Aslett, research director at Ventana Research.

"Managed services facilitate adoption by developers by reducing the need for upfront infrastructure configuration and ongoing operational management and monitoring," Aslett said.

Astra Streaming may appeal to developers as it solves challenges related to the complexity of building real-time analytics solutions, said Hyoun Park, chief analyst at Amalgam Insights.

Astra Streaming, in combination with the database, will also aid in supporting applications built on data-in-motion that form the backbone of real-time analytics, Aslett said.

What is data-in-motion?

Data-in-motion is the data that travels between connected devices at the edge and the database. Applications that are built on data-in-motion have the ability to process this data, thereby providing real-time updates.

Astra Streaming can be used to build pipelines to transport data into and out of AstraDB in real time. Here, Astra Streaming serves as a core CDC component of AstraDB, enabling data synchronization from Astra DB to other data platforms and applications as the database is updated, Aslett explained.

Astra Streaming can be used without the combination of the database, Aslett said.

Datastax seems to have increased its total addressable market with the new announcement and might have an advantage over its rivals with the release of Astra Streaming, analysts said.

"This step forward (Astra Streaming) makes DataStax more established as a starting point for being a real-time platform at a time when every database of note is seeking to move forward as a development platform," Park said, adding that AstraDB was already seen as a leader for supporting real time analytics.

The new service can also be expected to complement Astra DB's georeplication capabilities database. "Pulsar topics can span multiple data centers in different geographic regions," said Sanjeev Mohan, former research vice president of big data and analytics at Gartner.

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