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Alexander Walden’s Journey to the Forefront of Stream Processing

Written by:

Howard Tillerman is the Chief Marketing Officer for Step By Step Business and an award-winning marketing professional.

Alexander Walden’s Journey to the Forefront of Stream Processing

Alexander Walden, the CEO of Ververica, recounts his journey from a seasoned technologist to the helm of a leading stream processing company. In this interview, Walden not only traces his extensive two-decade career journey — from VP at T-systems to influential roles globally — but also reveals the pivotal steps that led him to Ververica.

He delves into the challenges he faced in catapulting Ververica to the forefront of stream processing technology, balancing the scales of groundbreaking innovation with unwavering customer service, and how Ververica is revolutionizing businesses with real-time data insights.

Let’s immerse ourselves in the compelling story of Alexander Walden and Ververica’s journey to innovation and success!

 Alexander Walden

The Road to Leadership

SBS – Can you describe the journey that led you to become the CEO of Ververica?

Alexander – I have over two decades of experience in the field of technology and stream processing. Prior to Ververica, I was the VP at T-systems. Before that, I held various executive roles and senior-level technical positions across the globe, which led me to land my first role at Ververica as head of partner management in 2021.

My enduring goal is to revolutionize the stream-processing sector, adapting swiftly to globalization and the growing frequency of major black swan events, and I am proud to say Ververica’s solutions do exactly that. My appointment as the CEO of Ververica in 2022 was a culmination of successful leadership, outstanding growth, and a reflection of my commitment to innovation in the field.

Overcoming Challenges

SBS – What were the main challenges you faced in transforming Ververica into a leader in stream processing technology?

Alexander – Ververica was founded in 2014 by the original creators of Apache Flink, which quickly became the leading open-source framework for both batch and stream processing of data and today remains an industry leader. Originally named Data Artisans, the company came together to address the lack of open-source technology on the market that allowed for the quick processing of data at scale.

While proudly “Made in Germany,” a key challenge has been to broaden our reach, establishing Ververica as a globally recognized open-source framework. With that being said, this is a pretty common initial challenge among companies working to expand globally. But between our high-caliber client base and the fact that we spearhead the flagship and leading industry conference for the stream processing industry worldwide, Flink Forward, we’ve been able to quickly re-introduce ourselves to the market. Today, the North American market is our biggest customer base.

Innovation Meets Stability

SBS – How do you maintain a balance between innovating and ensuring stable, reliable customer service?

Alexander – Striking the right balance between innovation and maintaining optimal customer service is a priority not just for me but for my entire team. It’s not something we are willing to compromise on, either.

Our goal is to continue fostering a culture that embraces creativity while respecting and understanding the evolving needs of our customers, which continuously change, and for that reason, we remain innovative! This year, we set new industry standards in real-time data processing by adding advanced features to our Ververica Cloud solution.

Our route of starting as an open-source venture that had a strong focus on the Apache Flink community has shifted focus to a split between catering to business and the Apache Flink open-source community. This gradual change was made in order to grow as a business. In order to sustain our success, we need to remain relevant in the Apache Flink open-source community while growing our products for our enterprise customers.

Empowering Businesses

SBS – Could you elaborate on how Ververica’s solutions empower businesses to leverage their real-time data insights?

Alexander – Absolutely. Our platform enables businesses to derive immediate insight from their data in real-time, which is no longer a nice to have but essential for the survival of modern enterprises. This includes small businesses that are using technology to store sensitive information.

Ververica’s flagship product, Ververica Platform, is an application manager for enterprises. The Platform enables high-throughput and low-latency solutions for event-driven applications. Ververica has evolved to offer both cloud-native (Ververica Cloud) and an on-premise solution (Ververica Platform). Customers can take advantage of the unparalleled flexibility and choice to meet their specific needs.

Ververica’s real-time stream processing technology plays a crucial role in protecting organizations from various threats and vulnerabilities. Beyond that, it allows organizations to look back and reconcile in a much more effective way while planning ahead. 

Cultivating a Community

SBS – What has been your approach to building and nurturing the ecosystem of partners and developers around Ververica?

Alexander – As mentioned earlier, Ververica organizes Flink Forward, the annual industry-leading conference dedicated to Apache Flink® and the stream processing community. This conference is a powerful way for us to champion industry innovation globally — it is held in three locations across the globe: North America, Europe, and Asia.

We provide everything from hands-on, comprehensive Apache Flink® training for beginners through to expert-level. Attendees gain insights into leaders in the stream processing field and an outlook on industry factors and key trends shaping the landscape.

Flink Forward, with its hundreds of industry attendees and positive testimonials, stands as a premier networking opportunity in the stream processing sector.

Staying Ahead in Data Streaming

SBS – How do you ensure that your products stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving field of data streaming?

Alexander – As a testament to Ververica’s ongoing work to continuously innovate, we’ve been recognized as a Contender in the Forrester Wave™ Streaming Data Platforms, Q4 2023 Report for the recent release of our Ververica Cloud product, which cites Ververica’s strengths in stream processing, streaming analytics and throughput. Ververica’s inclusion in this report serves, in our opinion, as a testament to Ververica’s capability in driving the industry forward. Furthermore, the dedication to meeting and exceeding the high standards expected by enterprises in today’s data-driven world further boosts buyer confidence in our solutions.

The release of Ververica Cloud and Ververica Academy earlier this year are the latest products in our portfolio, which we plan to develop further into 2024.

Shaping the Future of Data Analytics and Big Data

SBS – What role do you see for Ververica in the future of data analytics and big data?

Alexander – Our focus on advancing stream processing today is laying the groundwork for major industry advancements and setting the tone for tomorrow’s industry standards. Ververica Cloud signifies a groundbreaking advancement in the realm of real-time stream processing and analytics, and we’re proud to set new standards for performance and cost-efficiency, all while enabling flexible development options for streaming applications.

Establishing today’s benchmarks in real-time processing and analytics is an integral part of our ongoing commitment to innovation, and Ververica Cloud is designed to meet the most rigorous requirements and can support even the most demanding business use cases across different industries.

Entrepreneurial Essentials

SBS – In your opinion, what is the single most important trait for an entrepreneur to have?

Alexander – In my journey, three traits have been instrumental: resilience, innovation, and empathy:

  • Resilience: There will always be challenges along the entrepreneurial journey, and resilience is key to pushing through
  • Innovation: In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, innovation is crucial
  • Empathy: Understanding the needs and perspectives of both your customers and employees is pivotal. Empathy helps in forging strong relationships and fostering a positive work culture


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Alexander Walden’s Journey to the Forefront of Stream Processing