© 2020 Image by Chen from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/illustrations/music-musical-melody-symphony-song-5753565/ Conduktor has launched Conduktor 2.0, the next version of its developer solution, which contains a completely new model. It is targeting Kafka developers looking for better tooling irrespective of the size of their project. The launch comes as AI/ML is driving expanded data streaming solutions.

Nicolas Orban, Co-Founder & CEO at Conduktor (image credit/LinkedIn)
Nicolas Orban, Co-Founder & CEO at Conduktor

Nicolas Orban, CEO of Conduktor, said, “All developers working with Kafka need access to essential tooling to debug, troubleshoot, and monitor their streaming applications, regardless of whether they’re hobbyists, working at a scale-up, or within a large Enterprise. We believe it’s more important than ever for developers to be well-equipped to work with these technologies. 

“Our true north has always been to accelerate the adoption of data streaming, and Conduktor 2.0 represents the next chapter.”

Conduktor wants to make Kafka development accessible to all

On its page explaining the Conduktor 2.0 platform, the company says this is a significant update, saying, “This expansion goes beyond a mere upgrade—it’s a revolution in how we approach the Kafka ecosystem.”

To make Kafka as widely accessible as possible, Conduktor has expanded access to its free tier. This is more than just about availability. It also includes what the free tier users will be able to do with the product. Conduktor says that the free tier will “make most features accessible, removing prior limits, and providing some security features to get started.”

There is also no limitation on the free tier. It means that users will be able to work with any Kafka installation irrespective of size including Kafka clusters. There is also support for SSO (Single Sign-On) to make team collaboration easier.

What is in Conduktor 2.0?

Conduktor launched the first version of its platform 18 months ago and there have been no fewer than 15 updates since then. For the company to say that this the most significant update to the platform suggests a lot of changes.

The company lists the following new features in Conduktor 2.0:

  • A new user experience: Richer controls to personalize your experience and bring in the metrics that matter most to you through interactive data tables.
  • Performance on large clusters: Index metadata to limit making many AdminClient calls to Kafka. This is particularly efficient on customers with 1,000s of developers and 1TB+ topics!
  • Drill deep into the topic data: Advanced filtering techniques to help you find a needle in a haystack. JSON, Avro, Protobuf, custom deserializer, we cover it all to speed up data exploration.
  • CLI, APIs & Automation: Manage users, groups, permissions and Kafka resources via the Console REST API or Conduktor CLI. Developers will thank you for having Kafka Connect auto-restart.
  • RBAC support: RBAC allows teams to move beyond ACLs (topics and consumers only), enabling Platform teams to manage permissions all Kafka resources at users and groups level.
  • Embedded Monitoring & Alerting: Prometheus? Grafana? Datadog? JMX? What the dashboards should look like? No more thinking. Conduktor Monitoring works out of the box with no agent dependency.
  • Self Service: To help people collaborate, there is a self-service mechanism allowing them to join projects.

Changing how people work with Kafka

One of the goals the Conduktor has with this new release is to help teams get the most out of working with Kafka. In the release notes, it calls out some of the challenges of using  Kafka such as security and governance. It sees these as causing issues for organisations as the technical and management debt builds up.

To help developers and teams deal with these right from the start, it has introduced a number of new features. None of these come with Kafka and must be provided by third-party suppliers.

Among the features are:

  • Kafka Proxy: An enterprise-hardened Kafka proxy that is fully Kafka-wire compatible and strengthens Kafka security.
  • End-to-end Encryption: It integrates with a Key Management Service (KMS) to keep data encrypted at rest and in transit.
  • Security governance: A list of common misconfigurations and how to avoid them. Best practices that can be enforced to protect data and ensure the availability of the Kafka environment.
  • Schema Registry: Records all data type constraints as well as data types.
  • Virtual Clusters: Enables a cluster to be turned into multiple virtual clusters to make multi-tenancy and security easier.
  • Data caching at the edge: Conduktor supports data caching at the network’s edge to reduce latency and data duplication.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

Conduktor has created a niche for itself in the Kafka ecosystem by being agnostic. It works with a number of other players in that space and has started to build its own partner program. Importantly, it has done all of this by being responsive to customers, as evidenced by the 15 updates in 18 months to the original version of its platform.

It has also become one of the key collaboration tools for Kafka teams and brings additional capabilities to the Kafka community. This has won it a lot of support from development teams that want to speed up deployment but avoid technical debt or the need for complex tool environments.

What is also interesting is how Conduktor sees the relationship between AI and data streaming. The need for real-time or, at worst, near-real-time data is essential to many AI-driven solutions. For example, autonomous vehicles need vast amounts of data to make decisions, much of which comes from sensors external to the vehicle. To deliver those solutions requires tooling that enables fast collaboration, security and scalability.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes before Conduktor releases the next update. Given the significant new features in this release, developers will want time to understand and leverage them before more change.

Perhaps the biggest bonus, though, is the extension of the free tier model. It opens the door to a whole new range of customers. It will be interesting to see how quickly that can be leveraged into paying customers for Conduktor.


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