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Can real-time technology help companies save during economic hardship? Alok Pareek thinks it can. Pareek is the cofounder and executive VP of products at Striim, a vendor whose goal and motto is to, “help companies make data useful the instant it’s born”.

Depending on which angle you look at it, you could say that Pareek is either biased or in the know. Either way, it was not so long ago that real-time data, or streaming data as this market is also called, was estimated to be worth billions.

The streaming analytics market (which, depending on definitions, may just be one segment of the streaming data market) is projected to grow from $15.4 billion in 2021 to $50.1 billion in 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.5% during the forecast period according to Markets and Markets.

Then again, as the recent wave of layoffs and market capitalization losses goes to show, not all positive projections around technology come to fruition. Many projections counted on the effects of changes in consumer behavior due to COVID-19 and the associated restrictions as being permanent. It turns out that they are not, and hence projections are off the mark.

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Could real-time data be different? Where does cloud modernization come into play, and how does Striim’s offering relate to that? Striim today announced the availability of its fully managed Striim Cloud service on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

After making Striim Cloud available on Azure and Google Cloud, the company’s announcement today regarding the availability of Striim Cloud on AWS is somewhat unusual, as cloud-based solutions tend to cover AWS first and then expand to other cloud vendors. Pareek said that this decision was based on two things: Customer demand and business relationships.

As Pareek explained, Striim is participating in Amazon Re-Invent this week, but the relationships with the Google and Azure teams are already established, “because they were super interested in getting real-time data into their successful offerings”. In addition, Striim’s focus was more on enterprises and they saw that AWS’ target market was “not necessarily the very large ones when it came to data management. Those were more in the other two CSPs” as per Pareek.

Striim wants to make data flow in real-time

Striim was founded in 2012 by executive and technical members of organizations like Informatica, Oracle, Embarcadero Technologies, GoldenGate Software and BEA/WebLogic, both acquired by Oracle. Pareek was previously the CTO of GoldenGate, a managed service providing a real-time data mesh platform. Striim CEO Ali Kutay was CEO of WebLogic, a platform for developing, deploying and running enterprise applications.

It would not be too far off the mark to say that Striim picks up where Kutay and Pareek left off with GoldenGate and WebLogic. Striim’s vision, as per Pareek, is to deliver a unified data integration and streaming service to the market. 

“We want to power all operations and decisions in real-time. Data flows for the digital economy, and we aim to make sure that the data is flowing in real-time”, said Pareek.

Striim, however, is not the only solution in the real-time data market. Like virtually all of its counterparts, Striim emphasizes the real-time aspect as the key differentiation compared to solutions that operate in batch mode, such as Informatica or Talend. The overlap with those solutions, as per Pareek, is in use cases such as cloud data integration, data monetization, customer 360 and analytics.

Pareek referred to a number of trends that Striim is capitalizing on: The shift from on premise to cloud-based data platforms, from batch to real-time data processing, from pre-integrated commercial solutions to best of breed platforms. Striim sees many teams trying to leverage architectures like data mesh or data fabric in order to decouple data access. It also sees the emergence of products built around data as well as the emergence of flexible data formats such as JSON, Parquet and Delta.

As far as the differentiation with other real-time data platforms goes, Pareek emphasized the “hundreds” of supported data sources: From databases and log files to messaging systems like Kafka or IBM MQ and JMS-based systems to data from sensors, the web or applications like CRMs and Salesforce. Striim has developed its own Change Data Capture (CDC) technology for those sources, which enables anything-to-anything data integration scenarios in real-time.

Pareek added that Striim offers data transformation capabilities that go way beyond data integration. Striim offers SQL capabilities for continuous query processing, as well as the ability to define pattern-based or time-based data selection windows and feed data to do things such as auditing with third-party systems or real-time machine learning. These are leveraged in use cases ranging from improved customer experience and better patient care to fraud detection in domains such as logistics, travel, customer loyalty and retail supply chain.

“From streaming ingestion and CDC, to stream processing, to stream storage, to stream analytics, and then finally to stream visualization and delivery,” Pareek said. “We are taking all of these different capabilities in the streaming system and we have a comprehensive platform that addresses all of these; that’s why we call it unified.” 

Cloud modernization and real-time data as a cost saver

According to Pareek, Striim is often utilized in mission-critical use cases. While he does acknowledge that some things in the industry are slowing down due to the economic downturn, Pareek thinks real-time technology is becoming more and more prevalent.

“We see our customers accelerating their cloud modernization initiatives because I think that’s how they actually save cost,” he said. “Nobody wants to manage their infrastructure and support. The economic downturn has impacted us a little bit, where people have slowed down their decision-making process and it’s taking more time. So we’ve seen some glimpses of that. At the same time, on a 12 to 24 month horizon, I’m not that worried.”

Pareek explained that with real-time data processing 80-60% of ETL is, “still homegrown, on-premise and poorly executed through scripts that often fail.” Which he noted is  ” a very labor-oriented and cumbersome business, so a lot of people are simply trying to get rid of that. That’s where the modern platforms which allow you to do real-time data integration come in. I think there’s a general trend in spending on that layer.” 

Striim’s offering is available as a platform that can be downloaded and run on-premises or in a self-managed cloud, as well as via Striim Cloud. The latter is a fully managed cloud offering. As Pareek shared, Striim also offers pre-configured versions for specific data sources and targets such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Kafka, Snowflake, Amazon S3 and Google BigQuery.

Following its latest funding round, Striim said it aims to deliver a developer-oriented version of its platform in early 2023. Pareek noted that it will be a premium offering that lets people get hands-on with the platform without having to be concerned with payments. The company also aims to broaden its suite of application connectors based on customer feedback.

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