Confluent adds support for ISV partners with Connect with Confluent partner program

The new Connect with Confluent program is designed for ISVs, one of the three partner groups Confluent works with, with CSPs and SIs/resellers having very different management frameworks of their own.

TJ Laher, Senior. Director of Product & Partner Marketing at Confluent

Today, data streaming vendor Confluent, whose technology is a commercialization of Apache Kafka, with one of Kafka’s founders being Confluent’s CEO, has announced their new Connect with Confluent technology partner program. This program is designed for ISVs, since the other partner types, CSPs and integrators, already have their equivalents. The program lets partners bring fully managed data streams directly to their customers through native integrations with Confluent Cloud, and also provides partners with technical, sales, and marketing support.

Confluent first started up back in 2014.

“Our founder –the main one, who is our CEO – created Apache Kafka, which has been an extremely successful open source product for data streaming,” said TJ Laher, Senior. Director of Product & Partner Marketing at Confluent. “About 75% of the Fortune 500 use it. It took off because the paradigm of data at rest gave way to the paradigm of data in motion, and allows back-end operations to make real time decisions.”

Kafka shared a common problem with open source projects, however, in that ease of use had never been the top priority.

“There were challenges in deploying open source, most particularly that it was all on the customer to manage, and at Confluent we made it our mission to delete all those problem,” Laher said. “It is available on all three clouds, and customers can connect to all our different environments. Kafka is good at moving data, but we also govern the data and process it in real time. While streaming cloud services have been around for a while, streaming governance is newer.”

Laher said that Confluent provides other significant advantages over working with the open source product.

“We go beyond Kafka for streaming, and there are things that we do that it doesn’t,” he stated.” For instance, we have fully managed connectors and they don’t. We also engaged in Project Metamorphosis, in which we rethought stream processing as we moved to the cloud. The result is that we are very cost effective for medium to large Kafka environments, although Kafka itself is fine for smaller scale experimenting.”

Laher said that Confluent’s business has been posting very strong growth.

“Our cloud revenue has grown at an incredible pace,” he noted.

There are relatively few vendors in the space, with the main competition being Kafka itself.

“Open source DIY is our main competition, but it is also a big opportunity,” for us,” Laher indicated. “Mining that market creates massive efficiencies in our Go-to-Market because we make it easier for these users to save money and to scale faster.”

Confluent’s entire channel falls into three separate buckets.

“One of the main pillars is CSPs – which include AWS, Azure and GCP,” Laher said. “Another of them is system integrators, which serve a different part of the market. Some of these are GSIs, but some are also large SIs as well. There are some resellers in the SI bucket. We announced a cloud reseller program a while ago. This new Connect with Confluent program that we are announcing today is for technology partners, mainly ISV partners.”

So Confluent effectively has three management frameworks, one for each bucket of partners.

“For CSPs, we have strategic collaboration agreements,” Laher said. “For SIs we have a services partner program. And now for ISVs we have the Connect with Confluent program.”

The Connect with Confluent program is launching with support from seventeen Confluent technology partners. They are Arcion, AWS Lambda, Clickhouse, Elastic, Google BigQuery, HiveMQ, Imply, Materialize, MongoDB, Onehouse, Precisely, Qlik, Quix, Rockset, Startree, Tinybird, and Waterstream.

“These partners want to tap into our platform to increase revenue, by having us built into their application UI,” Laher stated. “When one of our partners connected us into their technology, they saw a consumption growth increase of 400% on their side because customers can build links to their links. Before this program, they would build a connector with us. Now they get resources to self-build these. They also get sales campaigns, joint webinars, and access to events.”

The program also helps partners to unlock new data streaming use cases built on their platform, by leveraging Confluent’s 120+ source and sink connectors covering the entire Kafka ecosystem.

“We are excited to see the next cohort of partners,” Laher added. “With our next iteration, we want to bring real-time data streams to individual personas.”