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Event Streaming: The What, Why, and How

By: Stackify
  |  July 8, 2024
Event Streaming: The What, Why, and How

Event streaming is a powerful concept that has gained significant traction in the areas of data processing and real-time analytics. This post discusses the basics: what event streaming is, examples, and uses. Additionally, the post explores how to implement event streaming, as well as the technologies and tools involved.

What Is Event Streaming?

Event streaming refers to the continuous flow of data, each data packet representing an event or change of state. Streaming data is processed in real time as it is delivered to a system, and the type of data and nature of events typically affect any resulting action. Event streaming also processes single data points rather than batches, enabling applications to quickly incorporate, better understand, and react to events as they occur.

Monitoring Kafka, RabbitMQ, and Similar Systems

Implementing an event streaming platform, like Apache Kafka or RabbitMQ, enables real-time data processing and improved decision making. Monitoring and observability are crucial in maintaining the health of these platforms. By combining logs, metrics, and traces, monitoring tools offer deep insights into the system’s behavior. Stackify Retrace application performance monitoring (APM) is one such tool that provides comprehensive monitoring and observability, helping teams proactively address issues and optimize performance.

What Is an Example of an Event Stream?

Consider an e-commerce platform where every user action generates an event. These events could include adding items to a cart, making a purchase, or writing a review. Each of these actions is captured as a distinct event and streamed in real time to a processing system. This system could then use the data to update inventory levels, personalize user experiences, or trigger real-time alerts for fraudulent activities.

Another example can be found in the financial industry. High-frequency trading systems generate events for every stock trade or market fluctuation. These events are processed in real time to make immediate trading decisions, adjust portfolios, or detect market anomalies.

Event Streaming Uses

Event streaming has a wide range of applications across various industries:

  • Real-time analytics: Financial markets process stock trades and market data in real-time to enable rapid decision-making and responsive strategies.
  • Monitoring and observability: IT operations utilize monitor system performance and detect anomalies. For instance, streaming logs and metrics can help identify issues in real time, enabling quicker resolutions.
  • Customer experience: Retailers utilize to provide personalized recommendations and offers based on real-time customer behavior. This enhances the shopping experience and increases customer satisfaction.
  • IoT applications: Processing data from sensors and devices in real time for smart homes, cities, and industrial automation enables proactive maintenance and energy management and enhanced security.

Basics of Event Streaming

Event Streaming Architecture

The architecture of an event streaming system typically consists of three main components:

  1. Producers: Sources that generate events, such as application logs, user actions, or IoT sensors. Producers send event data to a broker.
  2. Brokers: These systems, like Kafka or RabbitMQ, act as intermediaries that store and forward events to consumers. Brokers ensure reliable delivery and persistence of events.
  3. Consumers: Applications or services that process and react to events in real time. Consumers can range from data processing engines to alerting systems.

Event Streaming Platforms

An event streaming platform provides the necessary infrastructure and tools to build, deploy, and manage event streaming applications. Platforms like Apache Kafka, Amazon Kinesis, and Google Cloud Pub/Sub are popular choices, offering robust features for scalability, fault tolerance, and real-time processing.

Key features of event streaming platforms include:

  • Scalability: Can handle large volumes of data and numerous concurrent consumers.
  • Fault tolerance: Ensures data durability and availability even in case of failures.
  • Real-time processing: Enables immediate processing of data as it arrives.

Event Streaming Patterns

Patterns are reusable, architectural elements that simplify how you instrument event streaming in your application environment. Patterns provide the practical guidelines for efficiently handling and consistently responding to the various events occurring within any application. Common patterns in event streaming include:

  • Event sourcing: Capturing all changes to an application’s state as a sequence of events. This pattern ensures a reliable and auditable history of state changes.
  • Command Query Responsibility Segregation (CQRS): Separating read and write operations to handle complex querying and data modification efficiently. This improves performance and scalability by allowing different optimizations for reads and writes.
  • Stream processing: Processing and analyzing continuous streams of data in real time to extract meaningful insights. This can include operations like filtering, aggregating, and joining data streams.

How to Implement Event Streaming

Implementing event streaming involves several steps:

  1. Define the events: Identify the events you want to capture and their structure. Consider what information each event should contain and how it will be used.
  2. Choose a platform: Select a platform that meets your requirements in terms of scalability, performance, and ease of use. Evaluate factors like data volume, latency requirements, and integration capabilities.
  3. Set up producers: Configure your data sources to generate and send events to the streaming platform. This might involve instrumenting your application code or configuring external data sources.
  4. Set up consumers: Develop applications or services that will consume and process the events in real time. Consumers should be designed to handle the data load and perform necessary processing efficiently.
  5. Monitor and optimize: Use monitoring and observability tools to track and optimize the performance of your event streaming system. Regularly review metrics, logs, and traces to ensure the system is functioning correctly and meeting performance goals.

Event Streaming Technologies

Apache Kafka

Apache Kafka is a distributed streaming platform used for building real-time data pipelines and streaming applications. Kafka is designed to handle high throughput and low latency, making the platform a popular choice for event streaming.


  • High scalability and fault tolerance
  • Supports real-time processing with Kafka Streams
  • Integration with various data processing frameworks like Apache Flink and Apache Spark

Monitoring Kafka: Monitoring Kafka involves tracking key metrics such as broker health, topic throughput, and consumer lag.


RabbitMQ is a message broker that facilitates the exchange of messages between producers and consumers. The platform supports various messaging protocols and provides robust routing capabilities.


  • Supports multiple messaging protocols (AMQP, MQTT, STOMP)
  • Flexible routing with exchanges and queues
  • High availability and clustering options

Monitoring RabbitMQ: To monitor RabbitMQ, track metrics such as message rates, queue sizes, and connection status.

Amazon Kinesis

Amazon Kinesis is a fully managed service for real-time data streaming on AWS. The platform offers various components for comprehensive event streaming, like Kinesis Data Streams, Kinesis Data Firehose, and Kinesis Data Analytics.


  • Fully managed and scalable
  • Real-time processing with low latency
  • Integration with other AWS services

Monitoring Amazon Kinesis: Monitoring Amazon Kinesis involves tracking metrics like incoming data volume, processing latency, and error rates. AWS CloudWatch can be used for basic monitoring.

Google Cloud Pub/Sub

Google Cloud Pub/Sub is a messaging service that allows for asynchronous communication between applications. The service is designed for event-driven architectures and real-time analytics.


  • Global scale and reliability
  • Seamless integration with Google Cloud services
  • Real-time event delivery

Monitoring Google Cloud Pub/Sub: To monitor Google Cloud Pub/Sub, keep an eye on metrics such as message delivery rates, acknowledgment latency, and subscription errors.

Apache Pulsar

Apache Pulsar is a distributed messaging and event streaming platform designed for high throughput and low latency. The platform supports multi-tenancy, geo-replication, and tiered storage.


  • Multi-tenancy support with isolation
  • Geo-replication for disaster recovery and data locality
  • Tiered storage for cost-effective long-term storage

Monitoring Apache Pulsar: Monitoring Apache Pulsar involves tracking broker health, message throughput, and subscription performance.

Enhanced Monitoring

Whether integrated with proprietary tools or deployed as a stand-alone APM solution, Stackify Retrace improves monitoring and observability, enhances troubleshooting, expedites issue resolution, and ensures optimum performance for your chosen event streaming platform.


Event streaming is a transformative technology that enables real-time data processing and analytics across various industries. By understanding its basics, architecture, and implementation strategies, organizations can leverage event streaming to gain valuable insights and drive better decision-making.

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