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How Instacart Met Real-Time Grocery Needs with Data Streaming

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Few companies grow as fast as Instacart did in 2020. When the Covid pandemic shut down much of public life in March 2020, Instacart became the essential way to get groceries. The data infrastructure team had to onboard 500,000 new customers in a matter of weeks. The real-time necessity meant the Confluent team had to evolve systems in real time, considering each day how they could increase capacity.

Instacart adopted Confluent to dramatically scale its data systems. The team was familiar with Apache Kafka and knew it could help run its massive inventory system. Confluent Cloud helped them immediately spin up data streaming to create real-time availability models, fraud detection systems, and more, without having to hire a team to manage Kafka.

Customer journey: Instacart started with a single streaming use case, then moved quickly to mission-critical apps and a data-centric infrastructure.

Data mesh: Instacart’s initial success with data streaming informed their larger strategy–building a central data mesh so teams can get what they need.

“Confluent has really been an accelerant to the work that my team does. I talked earlier about taking the ops burden off my team, but I think actually, Confluent really unlocks a faster execution for my team on a number of dimensions.”

Nate Kupp

Director of Engineering at Instacart

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