How Confluent is Driving Innovation and Growth in Data Streaming

Data is often compared to oil, but unlike oil, data is more valuable when it is in motion. That’s the premise of data streaming, a technology that allows businesses to process and analyze data as it flows through various sources and systems. Data streaming enables real-time insights, actions, and customer experiences that can give businesses a competitive edge in the digital era. In this interview, we talk to Srinivasulu Grandhi, Vice President of Engineering and Site Leader at Confluent, a leading data streaming platform.


What is data streaming and what is the value proposition offered by Confluent?

In 2006, a British mathematician coined a term we have all heard too often – data is the new oil. While this sentiment has been shared by many since then, data and the potential it possesses has never been as pertinent as it is in today’s digital-first environment. Also, what is even more valuable are the insights available from that data.

Providing modern customer experience relies on data, or more specifically, the movement of data. Objects at rest stay at rest, but objects in motion keep on moving, sparking action and, in turn, reaction. In a world where everything is in motion, if your data stays still your customer experience, goals and business will too. With your data constantly moving, however, every interaction will trigger a motion across your business, allowing you to respond and make decisions in real-time.

With this background, insights are most beneficial when generated instantaneously by leveraging real-time analytics using a streaming data platform, and this is precisely where Confluent steps in. The Confluent platform is built on Apache Kafka, which was also created by the founders of Confluent just over a decade ago while working at LinkedIn.

Most companies, across industries, have large portions of their operations and business models defined in terms of software and data. Using Kafka, this data is set into motion for real-time processing and to deliver data-driven backend operations for enterprises combined with a rich front-end experience for users. Confluent completes Kafka by connecting all applications, systems, and data layers within an organisation with the aim to establish a rapid and instantaneous central nervous system and offers this as a cloud-native offering.


How does your offering set you apart from the competition?

Confluent completes and enhances the value proposition offered by Apache Kafka. Confluent has built a differentiated, cloud-native platform that sets the industry standard for data in motion. With Kafka at its core, we deliver a fully-managed service that incorporates the infinite capacity, on-demand scalability, and global nature of public clouds into every aspect of its design. The result is a cloud-native solution with a complete enterprise-grade data streaming platform, that’s a fully managed software and service available everywhere.

We also provide a 99.99% uptime service level agreement, incorporating security, reliability and a reduced total cost of ownership. To support organizations in integrating their data to build next-gen, real-time applications irrespective of where the data resides, we provide a cloud service in all the major clouds, as well as an on-premises offering. We also have the capabilities to seamlessly connect these environments together.


Can you elaborate on Confluent’s cloud-native approach to data streaming?

Deploying software on cloud infrastructure isn’t the same as building software for the cloud.

At Confluent, we reimagined Kafka experience for the cloud –  a serverless offering with elastic scaling capabilities, infinite storage, 99.99% availability and flexible networking. We are a fully managed, truly cloud-native Kafka service with reduced TCO.

We are more than Kafka. Through our connector ecosystem, we make it simple for our customers to tap into all of their data sources and destinations. With ksqlDB, Stream Designer and Stream Governance capabilities, we provide a complete experience for developers to quickly, reliably and securely build streaming data pipelines. We are everywhere our customers want us to be, seamlessly connecting data and apps everywhere they reside.

Being cloud-first enables us to provide our customers with interoperability between all systems, applications and data stores. It facilitates a serverless, cost-effective, and end-to-end managed service that can be readily deployed in a few minutes. Our customers need not worry about upgrading their Kafka set-up to take advantage of continuous improvements to security. Confluent will ensure that the set-up is secure and up to date. On top of this, our cloud design fosters a pay-as-you-go experience for all – you can find out more here.

What is the role of open source in Confluent’s technology strategy?

Apache Kafka is one of the most successful open-source projects. Today Kafka is used by more than 70% of the Fortune 500. Kafka has a vibrant community of developers and users. For example, the Apache Kafka community in Bangalore is nearly 5000 members strong.

Maintaining our roots in the developer and open-source community, we continue to build upon our founders’ vision of delivering powerful, scalable, and innovative solutions to our customers.


Please share details on your presence in India – in terms of employees and client base.

With cloud technology poised to account for 8% of India’s GDP by 2026, India stands as a key market for us at Confluent. Witnessing rapid growth and demand across sectors such as retail, automotive, manufacturing, and financial services, India has major potential for us to work with.

Earlier last year, we launched our office in Bangalore, the full details of which can be found here.

We aim to support businesses looking to maximise the benefits derived from real-time and data-led insights. We have witnessed increased demand across sectors such as financial services, retail, logistics and manufacturing, and are maintaining a sharp focus on supporting and advancing these.


Can you speak to the company’s technology roadmap and strategy for India?

As a part of our global outlook, India stands as a huge growth market. An ongoing digital revolution, combined with the government’s focus on maximising technology penetration, leaves us highly optimistic about the Indian market’s development.

India, seen as a software and IT hub, has many exciting use cases across various industries. We will focus on growing our customer base in India and working with businesses to unlock the full potential of the Confluent data in motion platform.

Over and above this, India has an immense pool of technology expertise, which will enable us to meet our objective of hiring the best talent to build global products and propel companies on their data-in-motion journeys. Confluent India Engineering, in addition to significant contributions across our product portfolio, owns Connect, Confluent Platform and Marketplace products. Confluent India is an integral part of Confluent’s success story.

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