Case Study: How Streamdal Uses Suborbital to Power User-Defined Observability

Case Study: How Streamdal Uses Suborbital to Power User-Defined Observability

Streamdal is a real-time monitoring and observability platform for streaming data. It allows users to monitor, alert, replay, and modify events from systems like Kafka, RabbitMQ, NATS, and Amazon Kinesis.

Streamdal uses Suborbital’s plugin system to empower their customers to run user-defined functions for transforming and monitoring data streams in real-time. Customer-authored functions can also be used for alerting and for handling events in Streamdal’s dead letter queue.

Screenshot of Streamdal's UI for adding custom functions, with the Suborbital plugin editor shown as an embedded widget therein.

Stepping Off the Integration Treadmill

Ustin Zarubin, Streamdal's co-founder and CEO, wanted to create tools which could see inside any event-driven architecture, but the endless parade of custom integrations was taxing: "Everyone in the data space is about integrations, but if you set a goal to build 100 integrations, then you have to maintain and support 100 integrations. That's a big time sink."

Recognizing that their customers were best placed to understand their own needs, Ustin sought out a sandboxed plug-in system for the Streamdal platform. After evaluating several options, he settled on Suborbital, citing its security, performance, and flexibility. "We monitor data in flight. For us, it's important that whatever monitors we don't think of, you can deploy a function and that will be the monitor. You can write custom logic."

Streamdal's engineering lead, Mark Gregan, echoed that sentiment: "whatever we don't have, our customers can add themselves."

On-Premises Possibilities

Suborbital's portable design makes it a perfect fit for on-premises installations. As Ustin put it, “we can easily bundle all of Streamdal's software into a Helm chart and deploy it on-prem, including the Suborbital components."

This flexibility is essential for selling into larger organizations or regulated industries where no amount of assurances or certifications can substitute for keeping data within the customer’s infrastructure.

Blazing Fast Performance

Streamdal handles extremely high event volumes and needed a custom function solution to match. Since many transformations—like scrubbing PII or reshaping data—are best run at event ingestion, Streamdal needed a high-performance solution to prevent backpressure from building up.

Working closely together, Streamdal and Suborbital co-designed a unique deployment strategy that leveraged SE2’s modular architecture to eliminate network overhead and ensure rapid processing. The result: a single developer laptop benchmarked at over 950,000 data transformations per second, each running in a secure, isolated WebAssembly sandbox. This scalability allows the Suborbital platform to operate in the most demanding of Streamdal's environments.

Flexible Plugins for Flexible Data

Streamdal integrated Suborbital’s plugin capabilities into several key points of their platform. For example, pipelines of custom plugins can be applied to every incoming event, transforming or scrubbing data as needed:

A Streamdal function pipeline, showing two Suborbital plugins chained together to modify every incoming event. The functions can be re-ordered, new functions can be added.

Similarly, Streamdal allows users to write Suborbital plugins to resolve conflicts and re-inject events from their dead letter queue:

The Streamdal Dead Letter Queue, showing a prompt to apply a custom function to all of the events stuck in given stage of the queue.

Users can also author plugins that define custom alerts, or which alter data during egress or replay.

The ability to execute user-provided logic in real time on large streams of data proved an effective way to give each of Streamdal’s customers the flexibility to address their unique monitoring and observability needs.

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