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Data Streaming

What is data streaming?

Data streaming is a method of continuously transmitting and receiving data in real-time, enabling analysis and processing of the data as it flows. Unlike traditional batch processing, where data is collected, stored, and processed in chunks, data streaming handles information incrementally. This allows companies to act on insights as they emerge. The approach is particularly crucial in today’s fast-paced, data-intensive world, where timely decision-making can provide a significant competitive advantage.

How does data streaming work?

In a data streaming system, data is generated from various sources. Some of them include IoT devices, social media, server logs, or sensors. The data is then sent to a central platform where it’s ingested, processed, and often stored in-memory for immediate analysis. This continuous flow of data is processed in small, manageable chunks, and companies can apply various techniques for real-time data transformation, aggregation, and enrichment.

Let’s break down the process and explore the different stages:

  1. Data Ingestion: The process begins with data ingestion, where data is collected from different sources. These sources can include IoT devices, sensors, web applications, databases, social media platforms, and more. Data is collected in real-time or near-real-time and sent to a streaming system. The ingestion can be achieved through connectors, APIs, or custom data ingestion code.
  2. Streaming Platforms: Once the data is ingested, it is typically routed to a streaming platform or a middleware. It acts as a central hub for data management. Streaming platforms like Apache Kafka, Apache Pulsar, Cribl, or cloud-based services like AWS Kinesis provide the infrastructure for handling large volumes of data. They ensure data reliability, scalability, and low-latency transmission.
  3. Data Processing: Data streaming involves real-time data processing. The data is transformed, filtered, enriched, and aggregated as it flows through the streaming platform. These processing steps are applied to the data to make it more structured and relevant for analysis. The processed data is then made available for real-time analytics.
  4. Real-time Analysis: Data streaming platforms often integrate with analytics tools, machine learning models, and visualization dashboards. This allows companies to analyze and gain insights from the data in real-time. Users can set up alerts, dashboards, and reporting mechanisms to monitor specific events, anomalies, or trends as the data is streaming.

What are the pros and cons of data streaming?

When assessing the merits of data streaming, it’s important to explore its specific pros and cons. Let’s break them down real quick.


  • Real-time business insights – Data streaming is crucial for businesses needing real-time information for informed decisions and quick responses to market changes.
  • Handling multiple data flows – It’s useful for processing data from multiple pipelines to cater to various user requirements.
  • System visibility – It helps IT organizations identify issues promptly, preventing them from escalating.
  • Scalability – Data streaming enables businesses to handle large and complex data sets, supporting rapid growth and demand.


  • Data overload – Processing vast amounts of data in real-time can make it challenging to identify relevant information, potentially overwhelming businesses.
  • Cost – Implementing data streaming can be expensive. Especially if it necessitates new hardware and software investments.
  • Data loss or corruption – In real-time processing, there is a risk of data being lost or corrupted, with no opportunity for recovery.
  • Overhead – Data streaming requires extra storage and processing, adding to overhead. It’s crucial to assess its return on investment.

Data Streaming Use Cases

Data streaming has a broad range of applications across industries.

  • In finance, it enables real-time risk assessment, fraud detection, and algorithmic trading.
  • E-commerce companies utilize it to provide personalized recommendations and optimize inventory management.
  • Social media platforms process vast amounts of streaming data to deliver tailored content and advertisements to users.

The benefits of data streaming are evident in its ability to offer up-to-the-moment insights, facilitate quicker decision-making, and improve the overall efficiency of data-driven operations.

Challenges of Data Streaming
Want to learn more?
Discover best practices for shaping your streaming data with Cribl Stream.


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