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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Lightbend Talks Fast Data Platform 2.0


Lightbend is a mature startup based in San Francisco that is about to celebrate its 8th birthday.  Originally known as the home of the programming language Scala and middleware software Akka, today Lightbend offers two platforms for the enterprise: the Reactive Platform and the Fast Data Platform.  With more than 150 enterprise customers, and Web giants like Airbnb, LinkedIn, Lyft, Shopify, Spotify and Twitter running open source Lightbend software in their core infrastructures, the company knows about scale and fast data.  Going into the big data conference Strata, they are announcing the latest release of the Fast Data Platform.  I recently spoke to Lightbend CEO Mark Brewer to learn more.

VMblog:  To kick things off, can you talk about and explain the Fast Data Platform?

Mark Brewer:  Our Fast Data Platform basically wraps the Reactive Platform with additional technologies to help enterprises take data in motion in streams and marry it to their business applications, typically tied to microservices. We bring other streaming technologies to our platform like Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, Apache Flink as well as our own streaming capabilities. We pair these with the rest of the Lightbend stack and offer it as a single, commercially supported distribution for building these new applications that rely on streaming data. We marry microservices to streaming data. 

VMblog:  Can you tell readers what's new in Fast Data Platform 2.0?

Brewer:  Probably the biggest news is our support for Kubernetes. Kubernetes and Fast Data Platform is the perfect marriage between distributed computing's most production-grade container orchestration solution in Kubernetes, and the most streaming data-optimized programming abstractions and run-time tooling in Fast Data Platform. In addition to native integrations with Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, Apache Flink, Akka Streams and streaming data's other hottest frameworks -- Fast Data Platform provides the management tools and production monitoring capabilities that allows operations teams to run and troubleshoot streaming data systems in production. 

VMblog:  And what can you tell us about use cases and customers already on the Fast Data Platform?

Brewer:  I can tell you about four customers very familiar to your readers. First is HPE, what used to be Hewlett-Packard. They have a massive IoT system. They wanted to give their customers for storage devices and other hardware all the metrics and analytics they need to know how the equipment is performing and if something like a hard drive is about to fail. In this case we're talking about literally 20 billion sensors generating seven million messages or metrics every second and that's being processed over our platform.

In the cruise industry, personalization is critical to keeping customers happy and retaining their business. We have a number of customers here, including Royal Caribbean, who use our platform to do everything from making a reservation at a restaurant to booking a massage or an outing like snorkeling.  There are unique challenges here. Our system has to work even when it's not connected to the Internet!

Another interesting use case is CapitalOne, the big bank. We are the platform that runs their app to help car buyers get financing and find the car they want to buy or lease. This system links more than 12,000 dealers across North America and is used by more than 4 million customers. Buyers can get finance decisions literally in seconds to see if they qualify for a loan to buy the car they like. It's orders of magnitude faster than their old system.

Finally, Starbucks rolled out its loyalty system and coffee ordering app on our platform first in Japan and now it's in the United States. Additionally, Starbucks has rolled out it's new point-of-sale system built on the Lightbend platform.


Published Tuesday, September 11, 2018 8:06 AM by David Marshall
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