Nstream and SwimOS: Understanding the Difference

In Q1 2023, our company rebranded from Swim.inc to Nstream. The goal of this shift was to align better the company, our culture, and our value proposition with the evolution of streaming data applications. While our name and brand have changed, at our core, we continue to offer customers the ability to build streaming data applications in minutes, not months.

Even without a rebrand, however, it can sometimes be tricky to determine how commercially licensed software builds on top of open-source platforms. Keep reading for a better understanding of SwimOS (the open-source platform), the Nstream Platform (our commercially licensed software), and where to get started when you’re ready to build real-time streaming data applications.

SwimOS: the open-source platform

SwimOS is a distributed operating system that application developers, engineers, and architects can use to build stateful, real-time streaming data applications from the ground up. Nstream open-sourced SwimOS in 2019, and we believe SwimOS belongs to developers and the community. To date, SwimOS has been downloaded more than 70,000 times.

How SwimOS works

SwimOS allows developers to build streaming data applications that operate at the speed of your network thanks to three technical innovations. These include:

  • Stateful services: With stateful services, applications do not forget state and have the functionality of an application server on real-time / streaming data.
  • Streaming APIs: Streaming APIs facilitate pushing data through the entire application stack. Think of streaming APIs as having the functionality of REST APIs but for real-time / streaming data.
  • Real-time user interfaces (UIs) and enterprise integrations: Real-time UIs allow users to see the real-time state of their business down to the real-world object (such as a customer, truck, asset, or connected device) scale. Real-time UIs easily integrate with business intelligence (e.g., Tableau), enterprise applications (e.g., Twilio), microservices, and custom UIs (e.g., Angular, React).

Developers can use SwimOS to build streaming data applications to execute various sophisticated use cases, such as real-time customer 360, real-time marketplaces, real-time visibility, and more. However, the Nstream Platform is what makes SwimOS “enterprise-ready.” The Nstream Platform delivers advanced capabilities that make managing and operating streaming data applications at scale more accessible for enterprises.

What is the Nstream Platform?

The Nstream Platform is built on SwimOS to deliver advanced capabilities that make managing and operating streaming data applications easier for enterprises.

For example, the Nstream Platform includes several features that reduce the complexity of building, deploying, and managing streaming data applications while providing a faster time to value. These features include:

  • Scaleable SwimOS runtime.
  • Management tooling.
  • Configurable connectors.
  • Low-code app dev toolkit.

The Nstream Platform is built from first principles meant to reduce the duplicative nature of design and complexity. As a result, this vertically integrated software stack can quickly run in production at scale with enterprise customers without sacrificing performance.

Developers can choose to integrate the Nstream Platform into existing architectures (such as with Kafka, Akka, or Pulsar) to enhance their current capabilities. However, since the Nstream Platform provides a fully integrated stack, you can also build a streaming data application without the need for additional data systems, such as:

  • Stream processing frameworks (e.g., Pinot, Presto).
  • Additional databases (e.g., Druid, ClickHouse, MongoDB).
  • Additional applications services (e.g., Spring, NodeJS, .NET).
  • Data visualization software (e.g., Angular, React).

While intermediate real-time streaming skills are helpful for using SwimOS, developers do not need to have any real-time streaming experience to use Nstream, thanks to the platform’s low-code, configurable templates.

Start creating your own streaming data applications

At Nstream, we believe that streaming data applications will empower companies to discover new solutions, dream up revolutionary use cases, and even fundamentally change how they envision and do business.

Whether you’re starting on this journey of digital innovation by building a streaming data application from scratch with SwimOS or employing the Nstream Platform, we’re happy to help. If you have more specific questions, check out our FAQ or get in touch.