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Project Metamorphosis Month 4: Confluent Cloud for Apache Kafka Available Everywhere

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We launched Project Metamorphosis in April with the goal of making it dramatically easier for organizations to leverage an event streaming platform for their business needs. By reimagining event streaming for the cloud to provide a seamless experience, we’re making it simple to manage a complex distributed system like Apache Kafka®.

So far, we’ve covered elasticity, cost, and infinite storage as part of Project Metamorphosis. This month’s theme is Everywhere.

We have been hard at work building integrations to be available across major cloud infrastructure providers so we can reach you wherever you are in the cloud. Now, in addition to being able to utilize our Kafka-made-serverless offering directly through Confluent, you can sign up for Confluent Cloud through the major cloud infrastructure providers’ marketplaces on AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. This allows you to focus on your event streaming needs with the freedom to choose any of these providers in order to utilize Confluent Cloud.

Why everywhere?

As the shift to the cloud continues, and as more and more businesses are defined in software, enterprise software is becoming increasingly complex. However, all complexity is not necessarily bad. Today’s enterprise software with its distributed and parallel nature can deliver the scale, reliability, and performance that unlocks use cases previously unthinkable.

In turn, today’s enterprise software is further driving cloud adoption because organizations want its power without having to manage the complexity of running it themselves. This is where Confluent Cloud with its self-service nature and as a complete platform truly shines, making it easy to get data in and out through Kafka Connect, manage the structure of the data using Confluent Schema Registry, and process it in real time using ksqlDB.

“Kafka provides the backbone for how many of our systems communicate with each other reliably, and our use of Kafka Streams gives our engineers the flexibility to think and design systems at a higher level,” said Ben Mabey, chief technology officer, Recursion. “And Confluent Cloud on Google Cloud makes all of that so much easier because we don’t have to manage ZooKeeper or worry about operational aspects of our Kafka deployment. Confluent Cloud is crucial to the cadence and robust workflow we have established.”

The major cloud infrastructure providers—AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud—own about 70–80% of the enterprise cloud infrastructure market and are expected to grow at a healthy rate for the foreseeable future. As more and more organizations move to the cloud—a trend that is accelerating in the coronavirus macro environment—infrastructure needs are increasingly sought to be fulfilled through these providers, and therefore it is important that we provide a way for this to happen with ease and flexibility.

Confluent Cloud

Most organizations have existing billing accounts to procure services from these cloud infrastructure providers. We offer a frictionless sign-up experience through all of these providers’ marketplaces. If you are an enterprise developer, this offers you a much simpler adoption path. You just need to get subscription rights to your account or project, and you can then set up a Confluent Cloud account in just a few clicks using your organizations’ existing billing account—no credit card needed.

Several of these organizations also have existing agreements to spend a certain amount of money with these cloud infrastructure providers. Our negotiated partner agreements with each of these providers allow you to utilize this pre-committed spend towards Confluent Cloud.

In addition, some enterprises have mandates to only procure services that utilize this pre-committed spend. Confluent Cloud availability on these marketplaces means that in such scenarios, Confluent Cloud becomes an option for you to fulfill your event streaming needs without having to go through significant internal hurdles at your organization.

The existence of billing accounts and enterprise agreements with cloud infrastructure providers means the legal, financial, and other contractual aspects for a transaction are already mostly covered with the provider and do not have to be reviewed extensively. The financial decision for your organization is also easier since it is a decision of where to utilize pre-committed funds, rather than internal justification for net new funding. All this speeds up the procurement and vendor onboarding process significantly and gets you up and running much more quickly.

“To stay at the forefront of the data evolution that’s driving transformation in the construction industry, we need to be as agile as possible,” said Greg Gentling, director of enterprise architecture at Viewpoint. “That’s why we partner with Confluent and Microsoft Azure. Confluent Cloud is the most simple, cost-effective way to adopt and scale Apache Kafka. And as we build our next-generation applications, event streaming has made it easy to connect the historical data sitting in legacy applications with our new architectures—in hours we can accomplish what would have taken teams of people countless days.”

You also get the benefit and simplicity of unified billing. Confluent Cloud usage appears as a line item on your cloud infrastructure provider bill along with the other services you consume through your provider. But it’s not a black box, as you can get usage details from your provider as well as from Confluent Cloud.

Finally, having footprints across multiple clouds is a trend that will grow as organizations look to use the best capabilities of each provider. If you are concerned about becoming dependent on one cloud infrastructure provider, Confluent Cloud—with the same set of features and consistent experience across all three major cloud infrastructure providers—offers portability that should alleviate these concerns. You can utilize services from all three providers, or expand from one to all three providers.

The mechanics

For each cloud infrastructure provider, we are available in many regions throughout the world and are constantly adding new ones based on demand as well as cloud infrastructure provider support. We are continuously developing new fully managed connectors as well that allow you to move data in and out of your Confluent Cloud clusters with ease.

There are two ways to purchase Confluent Cloud, and these apply to both direct and marketplace channels. Both mechanisms charge based on the actual usage you incur in Confluent Cloud.

  • Pay As You Go (PAYG): This option allows you to use Confluent Cloud and pay on a monthly basis for your usage.
  • Commitment: This option allows you to receive discounted rates with a commitment to spend a certain amount over a term.

Signing up for Confluent Cloud through provider marketplaces is simple. Details vary slightly from one marketplace to another and involve the following steps:

  1. Search for Confluent Cloud offering on AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Marketplace.
  2. View the details of the service offering and decide between using the Pay As You Go or Commitment offering.
  3. Agree to the terms and subscribe to the service.
  4. Redirect to Confluent Cloud, sign up, and start using the service.

That’s it. Behind the scenes, Confluent Cloud is integrated with the chosen cloud infrastructure provider to exchange usage metrics. You are then billed for this usage through your provider, and your usage details are available on the provider portal, as well as through Confluent Cloud billing screens.

Once you are set up in Confluent Cloud, the features and capabilities available to you are the same whether you go directly through Confluent or through one of the marketplaces. In addition, you have access to the same Basic, Standard, and Dedicated cluster types across all channels.

The in-depth sign-up experience through each marketplace is covered in the following blogs:

Looking ahead

Confluent Cloud availability through cloud infrastructure provider marketplaces is just the first step. We are working collaboratively with each of these providers to build deeper integrations and an integrated experience that leverages the best in class in event streaming, together with the services that they offer. These integrations will start with a unified identity and expand into resource management and monitoring, which will provide a coherent experience as you move between the provider’s services and Confluent Cloud.

Confluent Cloud is available everywhere and gives you flexibility to choose how you want to consume our service. It also gives us the ability to support your business wherever you are.

Whether you are an enterprise customer looking to sign a commitment or you’re just trying out Confluent Cloud for the first time, we encourage you to sign up directly or through one of the marketplace integrations on AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud.

And, if you’re a new user, you’ll receive $400 to spend within Confluent Cloud during your first 60 days! You can also use the code CL60BLOG to get an additional $60 of free Confluent Cloud usage.*

To learn more, check out the Everywhere page dedicated to this announcement.

  • Aashish Kohli is part of the Product Management team at Confluent working on Confluent Cloud. Prior to joining Confluent, Aashish held product management, engineering, and consulting roles at Splunk, Hewlett Packard, and several financial services companies.

  • Dan is the head of product for Confluent Cloud. He has worked as product manager and messaging expert for more than two decades and worked extensively in trading, financial services, energy, retail, healthcare, and logistics industries. He was head of product for Azure's messaging services and spent a large part of his career as a consultant.

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