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Confluent Cloud Q1 2022 update boosts event data streaming

The event streaming vendor is expanding its cloud platform with schema linking, data warehouse connectors and a load metrics API to improve scale and performance.

Confluent on Wednesday released its Q1 2022 cloud platform, providing new capabilities for the vendor's event data streaming technology.

Confluent is one of the leading contributors to the open source Apache Kafka event streaming technology.

Confluent Cloud is the vendor's managed service, which provides event streaming capabilities in a cloud model.

With the Q1 2022 update, generally available now, Confluent is providing its users with new data connectors to help organizations build streaming data pipelines for operations, business intelligence and data analytics.

The vendor also introduced new hybrid capabilities, including a schema linking feature, to enable a unified approach to Kafka event streaming across on-premises and multi-cloud resources.

With the update, Confluent is headed in the right direction for how cloud data services should work, according to Ventana Research analyst David Menninger.

What struck me about the update is that Confluent is delivering on the promise of the cloud. The cloud should just be another element of an organization's deployment fabric.
Dave MenningerAnalyst, Ventana Research

"What struck me about the update is that Confluent is delivering on the promise of the cloud," Menninger said. "The cloud should just be another element of an organization's deployment fabric."

An organization should be able to deploy and share resources across the boundaries of on-premises and cloud and across geographies, Menninger said.

He noted that many vendors talk about hybrid and multi-cloud, but it generally means they can run in these different places, not that they can interoperate across them. With schema linking as well as common management of Kafka deployments, Menninger said Confluent is making the promise of the cloud a reality.

Schema linking improves Kafka event streaming

Dan Rosanova, head of product management at Confluent Cloud, explained that the new schema linking capability is built on top of the cluster linking technology the vendor introduced in 2020.

Cluster linking enables Kafka deployments, whether they are across different clouds or in a hybrid deployment with cloud and on-premises environments, to be connected.

With schema linking enabling an organization to connect schema across different Kafka clusters, Rosanova said organizations will be able to manage development and production deployments of Kafka with a more unified approach.

Boosting Confluent Kafka event streaming capabilities

Among the new connectors in Confluent Cloud are data warehouse connectors for Snowflake, Google BigQuery, Azure Synapse Analytics and Amazon Redshift.

Rosanova said the new connectors are geared toward injecting real-time data into data analytics and data warehouse applications. While users could have potentially connected a Confluent Cloud deployment to cloud data warehouses before the new update, it wasn't a fully managed and supported capability.

Another area in which Confluent enhanced the platform is with the Confluent Load Metrics API that helps provide improved visibility into cluster performance.

The Load Metrics API integrates a number of different underlying criteria for resource utilization including network, compute and storage to provide users with a better understanding of cluster load.

"In the past, you'd have to look at a lot of pieces to understand 'is this thing healthy or not?' " Rosanova said.

With the Confluent load metrics tool, there is now a single API to understand the load of a Kafka cluster, and it can be configured in the Confluent Cloud to grow or shrink a cluster as required.

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