Fastly, Microsoft partner on real-time analytics with Azure Data Explorer

| January 29, 2019

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Fastly is an edge cloud platform provider that, it says, processes about 10% of all requests on the Internet. Azure Data Explorer (ADX -- formerly project "Kusto") is a cloud-based big data analytics platform from Microsoft. ADX is still in public preview, but Fastly has nonetheless teamed with Microsoft to create a customer-facing solution for real-time analysis on high-volume click-stream data, based on ADX.I already had familiarity with Azure Data Explorer, but a conversation with with Lee Chen, Fastly's Head of Strategic Partnerships (and its former Head of Product), helped me understand why the Fastly-ADX solution is innovative. The background also helped me understand better what ADX itself is all about. That was very useful insight since, to be frank, the Azure Data Explorer name -- and the service's marketing thus far -- can make it sound like a generic analytics offering. ADX is not a generic data service though, despite the name. It works with fast data, but it's not a streaming data platform per se --the Azure Event Hubs service takes on that workload, as do Azure HDInsight Kafka clusters. As shown in the figure at the top of this post, ADX also allows querying and visualizing of its data with a SQL-like language called KQL (Kusto Query Language). But ADX isn't a streaming analytics or data visualization platform either -- Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Databricks and Power BI serve those workloads.

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