The Past, Present and Future of Stream Processing

Kai Waehner
13 min readJun 13, 2024

Stream processing has existed for decades. However, it really kicks off in the 2020s thanks to the adoption of open source frameworks like Apache Kafka and Flink. Fully managed cloud services make it easy to configure and deploy stream processing in a cloud-native way; even without the need to write any code. This blog post explores the past, present and future of stream processing. The discussion includes various technologies and cloud services, low code/ no code trade-offs, outlooks into the support of machine learning and GenAI, streaming databases, and the integration between data streaming and data lakes with Apache Iceberg.

(Originally posted on Kai Waehner’s blog: “The Past, Present and Future of Stream Processing”… Join the data streaming community and stay informed about new blog posts by subscribing to my newsletter)

In December 2023, the research company proved that data streaming is a new software category and not just yet another integration or data platform. Forrester published “The Forrester Wave™: Streaming Data Platforms, Q4 2023“. Get free access to the report here. The leaders are Microsoft, Google and Confluent, followed by Oracle, Amazon, Cloudera, and a few others. A great time to review the past, present and future of stream processing as a key component in a data streaming architecture.

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Kai Waehner

Technology Evangelist — www.kai-waehner.de → Big Data Analytics, Data Streaming, Apache Kafka, Middleware, Microservices => linkedin.com/in/kaiwaehner