What is Stream Analytics?

Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed, cost effective real-time event processing engine that helps to unlock deep insights from data. Stream Analytics makes it easy to set up real-time analytic computations on data streaming from devices, sensors, web sites, social media, applications, infrastructure systems, and more.

With a few clicks in the Azure portal, you can author a Stream Analytics job specifying the input source of the streaming data, the output sink for the results of your job, and a data transformation expressed in a SQL-like language. You can monitor and adjust the scale/speed of your job in the Azure portal to scale from a few kilobytes to a gigabyte or more of events processed per second.

Stream Analytics leverages years of Microsoft Research work in developing highly tuned streaming engines for time-sensitive processing, as well as language integrations for intuitive specifications of such.

What can I use Stream Analytics for?

Vast amounts of data are flowing at high velocity over the wire today. Organizations that can process and act on this streaming data in real time can dramatically improve efficiencies and differentiate themselves in the market. Scenarios of real-time streaming analytics can be found across all industries: personalized, real-time stock-trading analysis and alerts offered by financial services companies; real-time fraud detection; data and identity protection services; reliable ingestion and analysis of data generated by sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects (Internet of Things, or IoT); web clickstream analytics; and customer relationship management (CRM) applications issuing alerts when customer experience within a time frame is degraded. Businesses are looking for the most flexible, reliable and cost-effective way to do such real-time event-stream data analysis to succeed in the highly competitive modern business world.

Key capabilities and benefits

  • Ease of use: Stream Analytics supports a simple, declarative query model for describing transformations. In order to optimize for ease of use, Stream Analytics uses a T-SQL variant, and removes the need for customers to deal with the technical complexities of stream processing systems. Using the Stream Analytics query language in the in-browser query editor, you get intelli-sense auto-complete to help you can quickly and easily implement time series queries, including temporal-based joins, windowed aggregates, temporal filters, and other common operations such as joins, aggregates, projections, and filters. In addition, in-browser query testing against a sample data file enables quick, iterative development.
  • Scalability: Stream Analytics is capable of handling high event throughput of up to 1GB/second. Integration with Azure Event Hubs and Azure IoT Hubs allow the solution to ingest millions of events per second coming from connected devices, clickstreams, and log files, to name a few. In order to achieve this, Stream Analytics leverages the partitioning capability of Event Hubs, which can yield 1MB/s per partition. Users are able to partition the computation into a number of logical steps within the query definition, each with the ability to be further partitioned to increase scalability.
  • Reliability, repeatability and quick recovery: A managed service in the cloud, Stream Analytics helps prevent data loss and provides business continuity in the event of failures through built-in recovery capabilities. With the ability to internally maintain state, the service provides repeatable results ensuring it is possible to archive events and reapply processing in the future, always getting the same results. This enables customers to go back in time and investigate computations when doing root-cause analysis, what-if analysis, etc.
  • Low cost: As a cloud service, Stream Analytics is optimized to provide users a very low cost to get going and maintain real-time analytics solutions. The service is built for you to pay as you go based on Streaming Unit usage and the amount of data processed by the system. Usage is derived based on the volume of events processed and the amount of compute power provisioned within the cluster to handle the respective Stream Analytics jobs.
  • Reference data: Stream Analytics provides users the ability to specify and use reference data. This could be historical data or simply non-streaming data that changes less frequently over time. The system simplifies the use of reference data to be treated like any other incoming event stream to join with other event streams ingested in real time to perform transformations.
  • User Defined Functions: Stream Analytics has integration with Azure Machine Learning to define function calls in the Machine Learning service as part of a Stream Analytics query. This expands the capabilities of Stream Analytics to leverage existing Azure Machine Learning solutions. For further information on this, please review the Machine Learning integration tutorial.
  • Connectivity: Stream Analytics connects directly to Azure Event Hubs and Azure IoT Hubs for stream ingestion, and the Azure Blob service to ingest historical data. Results can be written from Stream Analytics to Azure Storage Blobs or Tables, Azure SQL DB, Azure Data Lake Stores, Azure Cosmos DB, Event Hubs, Azure Service Bus Topics or Queues, and Power BI, where it can then be visualized, further processed by workflows, used in batch analytics via Azure HDInsight or processed again as a series of events. When using Event Hubs it is possible to compose multiple Stream Analytics together with other data sources and processing engines without losing the streaming nature of the computations.

Get help

For further assistance, try our Azure Stream Analytics forum

Next steps

You've been introduced to Stream Analytics, a managed service for streaming analytics on data from the Internet of Things. To learn more about this service, see: