Streaming Analytics 2021

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In our 2018 Market Update, we examined the Streaming Analytics space – a slight misnomer, since in our estimation it covers both streaming analytics and stream processing platforms – as well as many of the vendors within it. At the time, we found that those vendors ran the gamut from mature and venerable solutions with decades of experience in the market to fresh-faced newcomers with bold ideas and clever tech.

The conclusion we reached was that, ultimately, the space had “no weak products”: that every vendor we covered was capable of forming a strong streaming analytics solution (although this isn’t to say we found them all equally good; merely that none of them were bad). This was mostly likely the case in no small part because of the culture of open source around streaming analytics. Kafka, Flink, Apex, Heron, Pulsar: a shortlist of open-source projects (albeit of varying degrees of popularity) that existed at the time, and that meant that rolling your own solution was always a tempting possibility (and one that in practice provided more competition to vendors than each other).

Vendors in the space needed to provide top quality to justify their licensing costs, because the alternative doesn’t have any. This isn’t to say anything about the realistic TCO of open source vs. proprietary, of course, but you have to admit that the lure of no license costs is at least superficially tempting, and unfortunately that’s often all that matters. In fact, one vendor we were talking to at the time clearly wasn’t able to provide that justification, because by the time of publication they were out of business.

All that said, it’s now 2021, and it’s time, in our estimation, to revisit the space, to re-examine the selection of streaming analytics (and stream processing) products available on the market, and of course to refresh our Market Update. It goes without saying that the space has changed significantly in the intervening time: the new vendors entering the space (N5, for example), as well as the number of acquisitions within it (say, of Data Artisans by Alibaba), have seen to that.

The question, then, is how these changes have impacted the space as a whole. Are open-source projects still the biggest threat to the space’s vendors? Is there still that lovely combination of maturity and innovation we saw in 2018, when by all accounts many of the smaller vendors have been gobbled up? Is it still a space that has “no weak products”? We hope to cover all of this – and more – in our forthcoming Streaming Analytics Market Update for 2021.

To register your interest in the report, or to book a briefing to feature, please contact Katie Waugh.