Cybersecurity is a major focus for us: Verbowski

Chad Verbowski in a conversation with CIO&Leader discusses Kafka and what India means for Confluent and more.

Chad Verbowski

In a conversation with CIO&Leader, Chad Verbowski, CTO at Confluent discussed the transformative impact of data streaming on Indian businesses. Verbowski emphasized Confluent’s global availability and flexible licensing for Kafka, with special support for startups through cost-effective solutions. He acknowledged the primary competition from open-source systems while aiming to popularize real-time data streaming over traditional batch processing.

He also discussed Confluent’s roadmap for India that includes promoting adoption, showcasing scalability and security benefits, and leveraging the rich data environment in Bangalore. Excerpts below.

CIO&Leader: What’s the roadmap ahead for Confluent in the Indian market?

Chad Verbowski: Our goal is widespread adoption of Kafka and Confluent Cloud in India. We aim to build trust and demonstrate the benefits of our secure, scalable platform. India, especially Bangalore, is rich with data and interactions, and we want to help companies leverage this data for greater insights and capabilities.

CIO&Leader: What will the licensing look like for Kafka, especially in India? Are there plans specifically catering to startups?

Chad Verbowski: In terms of licensing, there’s nothing specifically limiting in India. We make our offerings available globally, and we view ourselves as a global company. Our capabilities are accessible to any Confluent customer. For early announcements, we typically target one or two clouds to gather feedback before scaling towards general availability. The Amazon regions offering these services are select, and while I don’t have specifics on India, the locality shouldn’t matter unless a company requires data to remain in India.

We also announced Flink on-premise and Flink on cloud, available across the three major hyperscalers in over 20 regions globally. Regarding pricing, we offer a flexible model from pay-as-you-go to basic and standard tiers. We also have a startup program where all Confluent products are included, which helps startups by offering cost-effective solutions.

CIO&Leader: Who’s your current competition in the Indian market?

Chad Verbowski: Our biggest competition comes from open source. Many of our customers initially run these systems themselves to focus on application development. We provide economies of scale, expertise, and operational efficiency that open source cannot match. Additionally, we often see customers migrating from cloud solutions like MSK at Amazon to our platform for better multi-cloud capabilities. Our core product, Kora, offers significant cost and performance advantages, making us stand out against other providers.

CIO&Leader: Besides Kora and other products mentioned in the announcements, are there any other products you’re trying to push in India?

Chad Verbowski: Our goal is to promote the concept of a data streaming platform for real-time data processing. Traditional batch processing is inefficient. Real-time streaming, which Kafka and Flink enable, is far more effective. We aim to make streaming popular and ensure we provide the best solutions, continually innovating with products like Kora.

CIO&Leader: What technical expertise is needed to run Confluent Kafka? Is it easily trainable?

Chad Verbowski: Kafka simplifies the complex parts of writing a distributed application. Developers only need to know how to read and write messages. We handle scaling, replication, and ensuring exactly-once processing. With our Enterprise SKU (eSKU), you only pay for what you use, and the system scales automatically, lowering the barrier for any developer to use Kafka effectively.

CIO&Leader: Is cybersecurity part of the focus for Confluent?

Chad Verbowski: Cybersecurity is a major focus for us. We regularly scan all software for vulnerabilities and have stringent SLAs for fixing them. Our internal processes include thorough code reviews and controlled, encrypted environments for development. We also use a “two keys” model for deploying changes and have robust encryption and bring-your-own-key options for data security. Additionally, we have extensive auditing and certification programs to ensure compliance with security standards.

Image by Freepik

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