July 24, 2023

Working with Data in Motion: A Guide to Data Streaming

Learn about types, challenges, best practices, and trends for the continuous and real-time flow of data from various sources.

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Table of Contents

● What is Data in Motion (Data Streaming)?

● Challenges with Data Streaming

● Best Practices for Data Streaming

● Types of Data Streaming

● Use Cases for Stateful Data Streaming

● Benefits of Stateful Data Streaming

● Modern Techniques for Managing Data in Motion

What is Data in Motion (Data Streaming)?

Data in motion, also known as data streaming, refers to the continuous and real-time flow of data from various sources. Unlike batch processing, where data is processed in chunks, data streaming involves the constant processing and updating of data as it arrives, ensuring that you always have the most current view of your systems.

Data streaming enables organizations to work with real-time data from diverse sources, such as transactions, sensors, social media feeds, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This continuous flow of data allows for immediate insights, optimized decision-making, and the ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances.

With data in motion, you're reviewing real-time analytics. This means you can quickly make data-backed decisions and gain a competitive edge in rapidly evolving markets.

In this article, you'll learn more about data in motion, the different types available, and some challenges you may encounter. We'll also explore some best practices and examine the latest trends when it comes to managing data.

Challenges with Data Streaming

Data streaming is essential in today's data-driven landscape because it allows organizations to effectively deal with the massive influx of data available and streamline operations. However, when working with data that's constantly moving across systems, you may encounter several challenges, including the following:

Data integration: When your data is constantly moving across multiple systems and coming from diverse sources, integrating and harmonizing the data is a complex process. Different systems may have varying data formats, protocols, or schemas that make it challenging to establish seamless data flow and interoperability.

Data latency and timeliness: Real-time data flow demands low latency and high performance to process and analyze data in real time. Due to delays in data transmission, processing, or system bottlenecks, you may struggle to reduce data latency and ensure that the data arrives at the destination in near real time.

Data quality and consistency: Maintaining data quality and consistency can be difficult when dealing with data in motion. Errors or inconsistencies in the data can propagate across systems, leading to inaccurate insights and decisions. You need to implement data validation, cleansing, transformation, and monitoring mechanisms to ensure data integrity throughout the streaming process.

Data security and governance: With increased data exposure and data that remains in motion for longer periods of time when compared to traditional batch processing, data streaming introduces additional security concerns. When data is in motion for a long period of time, there's a greater window of opportunity for unauthorized access, interception, or manipulation. You have to implement robust security measures to protect data in motion, including encryption, access controls, and monitoring. Ensuring compliance with data governance policies and regulations can also be challenging when dealing with real-time data flows, as your system for data governance needs to be able to operate at scale and integrate consistently with the various services and components.

Best Practices for Data Streaming

Despite the challenges mentioned above, the advantages of data in motion outweigh the difficulties. Additionally, to overcome these challenges and ensure smooth implementation of real-time data processing, you can adopt the following best practices.

Clearly Define Business Objectives and Use Cases

When it comes to data streaming, you need to clearly outline your company's specific requirements, desired outcomes, and key performance indicators (KPIs). For instance, in a financial institution, your data streaming solution might be aimed at fraud detection. This requires real-time monitoring of user behavior or transactional data, with improved detection accuracy or reduction in fraudulent activities as a desired goal. You also need to monitor KPIs, such as your false positive rate and the number of prevented cases.

Understanding your specific business objectives should guide the design and implementation of your data streaming solution.

Take a Streaming-First Design Approach

Prioritize data streaming as the primary method for data ingestion and processing and ensure all new data sources enter through streams rather than batch processes. This method lets you quickly capture changes in data and integrate them into existing systems more efficiently.

Design for Scalability and Performance

When designing your data streaming architecture, you need to plan for scalability from the start. The architecture should be able to handle high volumes of data and accommodate future growth.

To ensure efficient data processing and minimize bottlenecks, you can utilize distributed systems, horizontal scaling, and partitioning techniques.

Prioritize Security and Compliance

Because data in motion has a large window of opportunity for unauthorized access, you need to place a strong emphasis on data security and compliance. To protect your data in motion, you should implement encryption, access controls, and authentication mechanisms.

Additionally, make sure you're compliant with relevant data protection regulations and privacy requirements.

Embrace Continuous Improvement

Fostering a culture of continuous improvement helps you fine-tune your data solution over time to identify bottlenecks, mitigate limitations or risks, and continuously evolve as business needs change.

You should regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the data streaming solution, monitor performance, and gather feedback from stakeholders. Make sure you identify areas for optimization and enhancement to refine the data streaming processes over time.

By following these best practices, organizations can ensure a successful implementation of data streaming and derive maximum value from real-time data processing.

Types of Data Streaming

When it comes to data streaming, there are two types associated with how data is handled and processed within the streaming system: stateless streaming and stateful streaming.

Stateless Streaming vs Stateful Streaming

Stateless streaming, also known as stateless processing, treats every event or data record as an independent unit of information without considering any past events. In this type of streaming, the system doesn't maintain any state or memory of previous events. Each event is processed individually and in isolation.

Stateless streaming is suitable for scenarios where real-time processing requires immediate analysis and response based solely on the current event. It's commonly used in applications such as real-time notifications, filtering, simple aggregations, and event triggering.

In comparison, stateful streaming maintains the state or memory of past events, influencing how the system processes the next event in the stream. Stateful streaming considers the historical context and allows for more complex analysis and processing. The streaming system stores and updates relevant information about the data stream, enabling a broader view and taking into consideration patterns, trends, or correlations over time.

Stateful streaming is utilized in scenarios where real-time processing requires a deeper understanding of the data stream, such as for real-time recommendations, pattern detection, or complex event processing.

The choice between stateless and stateful streaming should be based on your specific use cases and requirements. Stateful streaming is especially useful for organizations looking to continually gain insights from aggregated data and customer behavior.

Use Cases for Stateful Data Streaming

With stateful data streaming, you can perform more sophisticated analysis relying on historical data and trends, allowing you to gain deeper insights and make context-aware decisions in real time.

Here are a few examples where stateful streaming would be ideal:

● Fraud detection: Stateful streaming is essential for fraud detection systems that analyze real-time data streams to identify fraudulent activities. By maintaining state and tracking patterns of behavior over time, the streaming system can detect anomalies, recognize suspicious sequences of events, and trigger alerts or actions when fraudulent patterns are detected.

● Stock trading: Stateful streaming is valuable in stock trading, where real-time analysis of market data is critical for making informed trading decisions. By considering historical data and market trends, stateful streaming enables traders to react quickly to market changes and execute timely trades.

● Session management: Stateful streaming is particularly useful in applications that require you to track user sessions and maintain their session context (*ie* banking/mobile applications and entertainment streaming services, such as Spotify and Netflix). Stateful streaming allows effective session management enabling personalized user experiences, session-based analytics, and efficient session handling across different services or platforms.

● Social media applications: In social media applications, stateful streaming can be used to provide real-time updates, personalized content recommendations, and social network analysis. By maintaining the state and considering the user's social graph, streaming systems can deliver relevant and timely content to users.

Benefits of Stateful Data Streaming

In fraud detection and real-time analytics use cases, stateful event streaming allows you to analyze data streams in context. By tracking patterns, trends, and correlations over time, the streaming system can provide insights, detect anomalies, and identify meaningful patterns. This helps you make informed decisions and take timely actions based on the most up-to-date information.

Stateful event streaming also accelerates data processing and storage by leveraging the stored state of past events. In use cases requiring personalized recommendations, the streaming system can efficiently access and utilize historical data to enhance data processing speed.

To ensure fast and efficient calculations, aggregations, and complex analysis, it's crucial to maintain relevant information about the data stream. This includes keeping track of user behavior, as it enables the system to efficiently compute metrics like the average time spent on each page or page view. Additionally, storing state allows for optimized storage by minimizing repetitive computations and leveraging change data capture.

Another benefit of stateful data streaming is that it allows organizations to achieve optimal performance and efficiency. For instance, by maintaining the state, the streaming system can reduce redundant processing and optimize resource utilization. It avoids reprocessing data that has already been processed and leverages the stored state to perform incremental updates, resulting in faster and more efficient data processing.

In addition, stateful data streaming allows for parallel processing and distributed computing, enabling scalability and improved performance of large volumes of data streams. Moreover, by considering historical context and patterns, organizations can make more accurate predictions, improve decision-making, and respond promptly to events, leading to increased operational efficiency.

Overall, stateful data streaming empowers organizations to gain real-time insights, accelerate data processing and storage, and achieve optimal performance and efficiency in their data-driven operations.

Modern Techniques for Managing Data in Motion

The latest trends for managing data in motion revolve around various technological advancements, such as cloud computing and event-driven architectures. These advancements enhance the efficiency, scalability, and reliability of processing streaming data.

The following are some notable modern techniques for managing data:

Multicloud and Intercloud Data Management

Organizations are increasingly utilizing multiple cloud platforms and services to store, process, and integrate data across diverse environments. This approach enables scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency while also mitigating vendor lock-in. However, it necessitates robust data governance, security, and interoperability measures.

Data Fabric Architectures

Data fabric architectures aim to create a unified data platform that ensures consistent access, integration, and delivery of data throughout the enterprise. Data fabric architectures overcome data silos, complexity, and fragmentation by providing a unified and cohesive view of data across your organization, empowering organizations to achieve self-service data access, collaboration, and governance.

Real-Time Data Sharing

Real-time collaboration within and across organizations has emerged as a prominent trend. It involves utilizing open APIs, streaming data exchange, and cluster linking to facilitate seamless data sharing for real-time insights and decision-making.

Data Management in Motion Platform: Apperate

One platform that caters to the finance industry's specific needs for data management in motion is Apperate by IEX Cloud. This event processing platform is tailored to handle real-time data and offers the following capabilities:

● Connects with various data streams and sources, including third-party sources, custom sources, and IEX Cloud's financial data.

● Shapes data with built-in features like no-code rule filters and SQL-based views. These features allow you to create custom rules and algorithms for monitoring purposes. Apperate analyzes incoming data real-time, comparing it against these rules, and triggers alerts based on the criteria. These alerts can be sent through various channels such as email, SMS services, or even Slack (currently in beta).

● Delivers data through autogenerated REST endpoints and event-triggered push notifications with access to email, SMS services, and Slack (in beta).

Apperate is especially useful when it comes to detecting fraud and monitoring risks. Its seamless integration capabilities allow you to connect it with various data sources and streams (*ie* internal systems or external providers). By consolidating these diverse sources into a single unified stream of events, Apperate ensures that data is readily available for real-time analysis. This enables financial institutions to make informed decisions and take immediate action based on the latest data insights.

Apperate is useful for real-time, historical, or time series data. You can use it to monitor your custom data streams, such as IoT sensors, and create easy no-code rule triggers for atypical data. This allows you to get alerts and notifications to your device of choice anytime your sensors observe data outside your set limits.

The availability of tools like Apperate, which harness cloud technology and establish a data fabric for seamless data flow within and beyond organizations, contributes to the effective management of data in motion.


In this article, you learned about some of the common challenges you'll encounter when it comes to real-time data processing. You also learned about some best practices for successful data streaming and explored the latest trends in managing data in motion, including multicloud and intercloud data management, data fabric architectures, and real-time data sharing.

By staying informed about these trends and adopting the recommended practices, you can unlock the full potential of real-time data and make data-driven decisions in today's data-centric landscape.

If you need a reliable solution to manage your data in motion, you should give Apperate a try. With a free trial available, it's worth exploring how Apperate can help you integrate, shape, and analyze your data streams.

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