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Kafka Summit Europe 2021 Recap

And that’s a wrap on Kafka Summit Europe 2021, the first of three global Kafka Summits this year. We’ve seen 17,000 registrations from over 7,000 companies and 137 different countries. All of us—organizers, sponsors, and attendees—are getting good at this online conference game, and while we look forward to whatever hybrid new world next year might bring, for this year, we’re still grateful for being able to do this event online together as we have. Let’s look at what we talked about at this summit.

Jay kicked us off by digging deeply into what it means for Kafka to become cloud native. He began with what may be the central insight of event-driven architectures: A significant fraction of the useful data in an enterprise should not sit statically in a database to be queried later at need, but rather should flow through event streaming systems like Apache Kafka® or fully managed versions like Confluent Cloud.

While we have decades of product maturity and architectural trial and error behind the previous data-at-rest paradigm, we are now beginning to see a set of tools and system-building disciplines that are making data in motion a reality. Products like ksqlDB are evidence of this, with its combination of streams (data in motion) and tables (data at rest, however briefly) in a single language and platform. Confluent Cloud’s integration of ksqlDB, data connectors, elastic scale, pay-as-you-go economics, and a developer surface area that embodies serverless concepts all help show why Kafka is winning in this new space and has now transformed itself as a cloud-native technology.

And cloud native doesn’t always mean a cloud service! To drive that point home, Jay also announced Confluent for Kubernetes, a vastly upgraded version of our previous Kubernetes Operator that now brings the cloud-native experience to Kubernetes deployments.

We were delighted to host Zhamak Dehghani, who introduced us to the rather timely new topic of the data mesh. In short, data mesh is a new set of architectural sensibilities intended to provide better real-time access to operational data. Rather than build systems entirely around the concerns of the application, data mesh invites us to conceive of small units of data production throughout our systems and to productize that data in an explicit way. It’s rather like microservices, but for data. Watch her talk to get an expert’s view.

If you like cars (or if you’re not a car person, but do appreciate being able to get around from place to place), then you’ll like what BMW’s Felix Böhm had to say. In a fireside-chat-style conversation with Jay, he told us about how Kafka and Confluent Cloud play a role in keeping BMW production lines running, and running efficiently. If you’re me, and talk of heavy equipment or factories awakes your inner three-year-old, or talk of cars awakes your—well, your actual you—then you cannot help but have fun listening to this one.

And of course it wasn’t just keynotes! Here are just a few of the many, many sessions you might want to check out:

Even with all of that, there is no way just one summit can possibly do it for you in 2021. I know you—maybe not you individually, but you as a community. You will want more of this. So join us for Kafka Summit APAC on July 27th–28th and Kafka Summit Americas on September 14th–15th. Sign up as soon as you can, for whichever one your time zone and personal sleep requirements allow, and we’ll see you there. And hopefully…we’ll see you in person in 2022.

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Tim Berglund is a teacher, author, and technology leader with Confluent, where he serves as the senior director of developer advocacy. He can frequently be found at speaking at conferences in the U.S. and all over the world. He is the co-presenter of various O’Reilly training videos on topics ranging from Git to distributed systems, and is the author of Gradle Beyond the Basics. He lives in Littleton, CO, U.S., with the wife of his youth, their three children having grown up.

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