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November 24, 2020

Big Blue Taps Into Streaming Data with Confluent Connection

IBM has formed a strategic partnership with Confluent, the commercial outfit behind Apache Kafka, in a bid to make streaming data a first-class citizen in its Cloud Pak strategy.

As part of the deal, IBM will be reselling Confluent Platform, which is an enterprise stream data platform from Confluent that is based upon Kafka. In addition to the core Kafka message bus, the Confluent Platform brings several additional components to the party, including: a schema registry; a REST proxy; development tools; more than 100 data connectors; the ksqlDB database; the Control Center management console; cluster replication tools; operations capabilities; and the types of security and auditing features that enterprises expect.

The partnership centers on hooking the Confluent Platform into the Cloud Pak for Integration (CP4i), which is IBM’s offering for running enterprise data and application integration workloads in a containerized environment. In addition to hooking into event streams (such as through Kafka), Cloud Pak handles other integration types, including via APIs, message queue (MQ) software, bulk high-speed data transfers (such as IBM Aspera), and via IBM App Connect Enterprise (ACE), which manages the flow of data among disparate SOAP, HTTP and JMS endpoints.

Adding Kafka, via Confluent Platform, to the mix gives CP4i customers another avenue for tapping into rich event data generated by people on mobile and Web applications, among other sources.

“In every single business, there is a constant stream of real-time events occurring unnoticed,” writes Savio Rodrigues, the vice president of application platform and integration OM for IBM, in a blog post. “An event can be anything–a transaction, a click on a webpage, data emitted from a sensor or IoT device in a store, a tweet, and the list goes on. The information in these event streams can be of enormous value to many business decisions, such as unique marketing offers, customer support, fraud detection, resource scheduling, etc.”

Confluent CEO Jay Kreps says the partnership lays the groundwork for helping enterprise to build real-time applications that make use of all of their data, even if the systems weren’t designed for event streaming.

“As Confluent Platform and Kafka become the central nervous system of their business, and by working with IBM as one of the most trusted integration partners in the world, organizations are now able to quickly build a bridge between all the powerful data sitting across the enterprise,” Kreps writes in a blog post.” These streams of data are at the heart of some of the most cutting-edge reinventions of established companies. Through this new strategic partnership with IBM, we’re excited to be at the heart of many more.”

The companies are planning a joint webinar on January 12 titled “Build Real-Time Apps with Confluent & IBM Cloud Pak for Integration.” You can register for the event, which starts at 10 a.m. ET, here.

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