It’s difficult to imagine our world today without technology. Every aspect of our lives is supported, governed, and enhanced by computing systems and electronic devices. The food we eat, the products we consume, the cars we drive, our health, and the ever-changing world of instant news, information, and entertainment are all created, supplied, optimized, and paid for through digital technologies.
Underpinning this technological revolution is data. Every interaction creates data, and we can use that data for great good – to understand our desires, cure our ills, and generally improve our lives. Those businesses that are not data-driven are feeling competitive pressure to become so. However, it is no longer good enough just to have data. If that data is old, or is not acted on fast enough, it can also spell the downfall of even the best-intentioned organization.
We are in the midst of a vast digital transformation in which even the most conservative enterprises are modernizing through technology – and the data it generates – to optimize their processes, outperform their competitors, and better serve their customers.
But what, exactly, is data, why is it so valuable, and how can your company make the best use of it? An even more important question: what is the best way to modernize the way you use and manage data?
To answer these questions and explain why streaming integration and working with real-time data is such an important part of this modernization, we need to start at the very beginning, and then travel to the future of what’s possible.
This book will explain data modernization through streaming integration in detail to help organizations understand how it can be applied to solve real-world business problems. We begin with a history of data: what is it? How have we traditionally gathered and worked with it? How do we currently manage the real-time data that is being generated at volumes almost beyond our comprehension? We then introduce the idea of real-time streaming integration: what it is and why it is so critical to businesses today.
In the rest of the book, we examine the steps businesses must take to reap value from streaming integration. We start with building streaming data pipelines and then proceed to stream processing (getting the data into the form that is needed) and streaming analytics. We wrap up the book talking about data delivery and visualization, and, finally, about the mission-critical nature of data.
By the end of this book, you will not only understand the importance of streaming integration to deriving value out of real-time data, you will have a sense of what to look for in a streaming integration platform to realize that value through streaming implementations that address real-world business challenges.
We would like to acknowledge several people who helped us make this book a success. First, we would like to express our deep gratitude to Alice LaPlante and the editorial staff at O’Reilly for making the authoring process as easy and painless as possible.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the support and shared vision of our cofounders Ali Kutay and Sami Akbay, and the employees of Striim who work hard to bring the vision of streaming technologies to the enterprise.
We would especially like to thank Katherine Rincon and Irem Radzik for their project management and editorial review of the book. Their objective pairs of eyes helped give us a continuous flow of rich information in a consistent tone.
Finally, we would like to share our appreciation with our families for allowing us to work on yet another project that, at times, took us away from what we enjoy most – being with them.