Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
September 25–26, 2017: Training
September 26–28, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Heraclitus, the metaphysics of change, and Kafka Streams

Tim Berglund (Confluent)
2:55pm3:35pm Thursday, September 28, 2017
Big data and the Cloud, Data Engineering & Architecture
Location: 1E 07/08 Level: Intermediate
Secondary topics:  Streaming
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Who is this presentation for?

  • Developers and architects

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of distributed systems concepts
  • Familiarity with Java (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to apply the Streams API to solve business problems


Hailing from the Persian city of Ephesus in around 500 BC, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus is famous for his trenchant analysis of big data stream processing systems, explaining that “No [one] ever steps in the same river twice.” Central to his philosophy was the idea that all things change constantly. His close readers also know him as the weeping philosopher—perhaps because dealing with constantly changing data at low latency is actually pretty hard. It doesn’t need to be that way.

Almost as famous as Heraclitus is Apache Kafka, the de facto standard open source distributed stream processing system. Many of us know Kafka’s architectural and API particulars as well as we know the philosophy of Heraclitus, but that doesn’t mean we’re equipped to build the kind of real-time streaming data systems that the next generation of business requirements are doing to demand. As Heraclitus told us 2,500 years ago, we need to get on board with streams.

Tim Berglund offers a thorough introduction to the Streams API, an important recent addition to Kafka that lets us build sophisticated stream processing systems that are as scalable and fault tolerant as Kafka itself—and also happen to align quite well with the microservices sensibilities that are so common in contemporary architectural thinking. Tim explains how to deploy Streams applications and dives into actual working code that will bring your thinking about streaming data systems from the ancient history of pub/sub paradigms into the current era.

Photo of Tim Berglund

Tim Berglund


Tim Berglund is a teacher, author, and technology leader with DataStax. He has spoken at numerous conferences internationally and in the United States and contributes to the Denver tech community as president of the Denver Open Source User Group. He is the copresenter of various O’Reilly training videos on topics ranging from Git to Mac OS X productivity tips to Apache Cassandra and is the author of Gradle Beyond the Basics. Tim blogs very occasionally at He lives in Littleton, Colorado, with the wife of his youth and their three children.