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Apache Flink Advances Enterprise Apps Aspirations With Alibaba

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Posted January 15, 2019 By Sean Michael Kerner     Feedback

The open source Apache Flink data streaming project is getting a major vote of confidence from Chinese internet giant Alibaba.

There are a lot of different types of tools needed to enable modern enterprise apps. The ability to process data streams in real time is one such needed tool, and it's what the open source Apache Flink project enables.

Apache Flink is an open-source stream processing framework for distributed, high-performing, always-available and accurate data-streaming applications. The lead developer and commercial organization behind Flink has been data Artisans, which was created by the core developers behind Flink itself. Data Artisans, and by extension Apache Flink, are getting a major vote of confidence thanks to Chinese internet giant Alibaba.

On Jan. 8, Alibaba announced that it was acquiring data Artisans in a $103 million deal. With Alibaba's support, Apache Flink will likely continue to grow and become a foundational element of cloud and enterprise application enablement. Alibaba and data Artisans aren't strangers, with Alibaba having participated in the Apache Flink community since 2016.

"By leveraging the technology expertise of both teams and shared passion to develop the open-source community, we are confident that this strategic tie-in will further strengthen the growth of the Flink community, accelerate the data-processing technologies and help bolster an open, collaborative and constructive environment for global developers who are passionate about stream processing and enabling real-time applications for modern enterprises," Jingren Zhou, Vice President, Alibaba Group, wrote in a statement.

The Flink project was started in 2010. It joined the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) as an incubated project in March 2014, and became an official Top Level Project in December 2014. 2014 was also the year that data Aritisans was founded, in an effort to help fund and support the continued development of Flink.

"Since data Artisans was founded in 2014, we have always been believers in the potential of open source technologies for developers and enterprises," Flink founders Kostas Tzoumas and Stephan Ewen wrote in a blog post. "That’s why we started Apache Flink as an open source framework for efficient, yet user-friendly data processing at massive scale."

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As part of Alibaba, the Flink founders are optimistic that the project will accelerate. Alibaba has already contributed its own in-house Flink developers, known as Blink, to the broad open source community, and will continue to participate upstream in combination with data Artisans.

"Together with Alibaba, we can enhance our efforts and technology to new horizons by investing even more to open source," Tzoumas and Ewen wrote. "We can expand to new areas that we have not explored in the past and make sure that Flink becomes a more valuable data processing framework for the modern data-driven, real-time enterprise."

Apache Flink use case

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseAppsToday.com and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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