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Fauna brings real-time streaming to serverless database

The ability to directly subscribe to real-time updates is the latest feature for the Fauna database that can help developers quickly bring data to applications.

Serverless database vendor Fauna is providing its users with a new real-time streaming capability to help power applications.

The San Francisco-based vendor develops a database platform that has a data API at the foundation with a GraphQL interface, as well as the Fauna Query Language (FQL) for data access.

With its new real-time streaming capability that became generally available on March 8, Fauna is looking to go beyond the limits of change data capture (CDC) to stream data updates to applications.

Among Fauna's users is Denmark-based Accentuate Digital, which helps its users build and manage e-commerce stores on Shopify.

The firm uses Fauna as the data technology to manage its Shopify apps. Accentuate Digital stores app-specific details and settings for each of its customers' Shopify stores with Fauna, as well as store-specific data for each store.

Serverless database powers applications

Accentuate Digital uses Fauna's event streaming technology to distribute incoming webhooks from Shopify to Accentuate Digital's Undo app, which provides backup and restore capabilities to Shopify merchants. That enables Accentuate Digital to process inventory changes for each store in parallel.

Fauna empowered us to build this feature in a highly scalable and reliable way with very minimum coding effort.
Oliver GraslOwner, Transentis Consulting

"Without this solution, we could potentially have an individual store block the processing queue if bulk changes are to be processed," said Ole Thorup, founder and CEO of Accentuate Digital.

Germany-based business consulting firm Transentis Consulting is also using Fauna to help build applications for its clients as well as for its own operations. The firm uses Fauna event streams for an online training simulation game that its customers play thousands of times a week.

"The game depends on real-time interaction between users, and this is powered entirely by Fauna event streams," said Oliver Grasl, owner of Transentis Consulting. "Fauna empowered us to build this feature in a highly scalable and reliable way with very minimum coding effort."

How Fauna real-time streaming serverless database works

Event streaming is commonly associated with technologies like Apache Kafka and Amazon Kinesis, but that's not what the Fauna update is focused on.

Evan Weaver, CTO and co-founder of Fauna, explained that the vendor's serverless database platform did not previously have the ability to provide real-time push notifications for changes.

Weaver noted that CDC -- a common feature of many databases, including Fauna -- is primarily designed for synchronizing data to a secondary database or data warehouse. Weaver said CDC doesn't provide the same type of real-time streaming or high availability that Fauna's new feature enables.

With the real-time streaming feature in Fauna, an application can subscribe to data changes in a single document in a database or something as specific as a record in a database table.

The streaming interface is accessed via FQL. Rather than just using FQL to query for a specific point-in-time result, the real-time streaming feature enables a persistent query to constantly receive updates of changes as they happen.

"The streaming interface is FQL -- it's native to Fauna, and developers interact with it the same way they do as with the rest of Fauna," Weaver said.

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