Apache Kafka is on a roll. Last year it registered a 260 percent jump in developer popularity, as Redmonk’s , a number that has only ballooned since then as IoT and other enterprise demands for real-time, streaming data become common. , Kafka’s founding engineering team spun out to form , which has been a primary developer of the Apache project ever since.

But not the only one. Indeed, given the rising importance of Kafka, more companies than ever are committing code, including , started by Kenny Gorman and Erik Beebe, both co-founders of ObjectRocket (acquired by Rackspace). Whereas ObjectRocket provides the MongoDB database as a service, Eventador offers a fully managed Kafka service, further lowering the barriers to streaming data.

Talking with the Eventador co-founders, it became clear that streaming data is different, requiring “fresh eyes” because “data being mutated in real time enables new use cases and new possibilities.” Once an enterprise comes to depend on streaming data, it’s hard to go back. Getting to that point is the key.

Kafka vs. Hadoop

As popular as Apache Hadoop has been, the Hadoop workflow is simply too slow for the evolving needs of modern enterprises. Indeed, as Gorman tells it, “Businesses are realizing that the value of data increases as it becomes more real-time.” For those companies that prefer to wait on adding a real-time data flow to their products and services, they risk the very real likelihood that their competitors are not content to sit on their batchy laurels.