Product News

The First Real-Time Composable CDP with Materialize and Census Live Syncs

Will Voutier
Will Voutier January 25, 2024

Last week, Census made real-time Reverse ETL a reality with our release of Live Syncs, enabling any brand to activate data with subsecond latency to unlock high-speed customer engagement.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce Materialize, the leading Operational Data Warehouse, as a source for Census Live Syncs. Materialize is the only platform that combines the power of streaming data with the scalability and extensibility of a cloud data warehouse, meaning that business users can easily take action on the freshest data available to serve their operational use cases.

We’re excited about this partnership, and together, we’ll empower every business team to activate their real-time data faster and easier than ever before.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for years and it’s finally here. At Materialize, we've built a new kind of data warehouse, optimized to handle operational work on fast changing data. With the addition of Census Live Syncs, reverse ETL on real-time data is now a reality. Customers can now activate their real-time insights on a zero latency data infrastructure, without the complex engineering work needed to build it.” 
— Nikhil Benesch, Co-Founder and CTO at Materialize

Real-time use cases are no longer a limitation of the Composable CDP

Materialize + Census = Real-Time Composable CDP

At Census, we strongly believe that the Composable CDP is the future, providing marketing teams with complete Customer 360 views, more reliable data, and faster time-to-value by integrating natively with the cloud data warehouse.

However, the biggest limitation of the Composable CDP was the inability to perform real-time, high-speed use cases due to the batch-based architecture of traditional data warehouses. Current solutions for real-time use cases, mainly packaged CDPs or in-house engineering, have painful limitations such as complexity, data silos, and lack of adaptability.

Modern marketing teams want to leverage the data warehouse to power their operations, but until today, warehouse latency was one of the last barriers blocking adoption. 

With today’s release of Live Syncs for Materialize, marketing and business teams can unleash the full potential of the Composable CDP without custom engineering work. It’s now easier than ever to leverage Customer 360 profiles for real-time personalization and recommendations, cart abandonment campaigns, live geotargeting, and more.

The advantages of Census Live Syncs with Materialize

Both Census and Materialize are built from the ground up to take action on what’s happening right now.

  1. Activation at any speed — Subsecond latency makes any use case possible in real time. We provide one system that seamlessly activates data at any velocity, whether slow or fast.
  2. Fast and easy implementation — No need for custom engineering or development work. For data teams, all you need is SQL to manage your real-time pipelines. Then, Census’s no-code UI makes it easy to integrate with any part of your data stack and make data actionable in downstream SaaS applications.
  3. Managed connectors — Materialize handles the complexity of consuming data in real-time from relational databases (CDC), message brokers like Apache Kafka, or SaaS applications. Census syncs your data to 200+ marketing and business destinations with prebuilt connectors.

How Live Syncs work with Materialize

Materialize lets you perform complex computations over streaming data using SQL, giving you the flexibility and declarative ease-of-use of an analytical data warehouse, all while operating at the speed of streaming. You never have to build and maintain streaming microservices.

Run the same complex SQL as an analytical data warehouse and always receive up-to-date results.

Live Syncs are a new type of sync in Census, available to all organizations with access to Continuous syncs.

When users create a sync, they can choose a Run Mode for that sync, either Live or Triggered. 

  • Triggered Syncs can be run manually, via API or external trigger, or on a schedule. 
  • Live Syncs are always running while they are enabled, syncing data in real-time.

Live run mode is available for syncs from select sources, including Confluent Cloud, Apache Kafka®, and now Materialize.

Getting started with the Real-Time Composable CDP

We’re proud to work together with Materialize to pioneer a brave new world of real-time, operational data warehousing. We believe the ultimate goal of technology is to facilitate better customer experiences, so data infrastructure should never limit engagement and experimentation.

Today’s release helps every business operationalize data without the overhead of cost and complexity to engineer a custom solution. Brands can build next-generation data applications but also easily leverage their zero latency data infrastructure for business use cases.

If you share our vision of the real-time data warehouse as the center of business operations, we’d love to help you start building your Real-Time Composable CDP. Get a demo or start a free trial today.

We also welcome you learn more about Materialize by signing up for a free trial.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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For years, working with high-quality data in real time was an elusive goal for data teams. Two hurdles blocked real-time data activation on Snowflake from becoming a reality: Lack of low-latency data flows and transformation pipelines The compute cost of running queries at high frequency in order to provide real-time insights Today, we’re solving both of those challenges by partnering with Snowflake to support our real-time Live Syncs, which can be 100 times faster and 100 times cheaper to operate than traditional Reverse ETL. You can create a Live Sync using any Snowflake table (including Dynamic Tables) as a source, and sync data to over 200 business tools within seconds. We’re proud to offer the fastest Reverse ETL platform on the planet, and the only one capable of real-time activation with Snowflake. 👉 Luke Ambrosetti discusses Live Sync architecture in-depth on Snowflake’s Medium blog here. Real-Time Composable CDP with Snowflake Developed alongside Snowflake’s product team, we’re excited to enable the fastest-ever data activation on Snowflake. Today marks a massive paradigm shift in how quickly companies can leverage their first-party data to stay ahead of their competition. In the past, businesses had to implement their real-time use cases outside their Data Cloud by building a separate fast path, through hosted custom infrastructure and event buses, or piles of if-this-then-that no-code hacks — all with painful limitations such as lack of scalability, data silos, and low adaptability. Census Live Syncs were born to tear down the latency barrier that previously prevented companies from centralizing these integrations with all of their others. Census Live Syncs and Snowflake now combine to offer real-time CDP capabilities without having to abandon the Data Cloud. This Composable CDP approach transforms the Data Cloud infrastructure that companies already have into an engine that drives business growth and revenue, delivering huge cost savings and data-driven decisions without complex engineering. Together we’re enabling marketing and business teams to interact with customers at the moment of intent, deliver the most personalized recommendations, and update AI models with the freshest insights. Doing the Math: 100x Faster and 100x Cheaper There are two primary ways to use Census Live Syncs — through Snowflake Dynamic Tables, or directly through Snowflake Streams. Near real time: Dynamic Tables have a target lag of minimum 1 minute (as of March 2024). Real time: Live Syncs can operate off a Snowflake Stream directly to achieve true real-time activation in single-digit seconds. Using a real-world example, one of our customers was looking for real-time activation to personalize in-app content immediately. They replaced their previous hourly process with Census Live Syncs, achieving an end-to-end latency of <1 minute. They observed that Live Syncs are 144 times cheaper and 150 times faster than their previous Reverse ETL process. It’s rare to offer customers multiple orders of magnitude of improvement as part of a product release, but we did the math. Continuous Syncs (traditional Reverse ETL) Census Live Syncs Improvement Cost 24 hours = 24 Snowflake credits. 24 * $2 * 30 = $1440/month ⅙ of a credit per day. ⅙ * $2 * 30 = $10/month 144x Speed Transformation hourly job + 15 minutes for ETL = 75 minutes on average 30 seconds on average 150x Cost The previous method of lowest latency Reverse ETL, called Continuous Syncs, required a Snowflake compute platform to be live 24/7 in order to continuously detect changes. This was expensive and also wasteful for datasets that don’t change often. Assuming that one Snowflake credit is on average $2, traditional Reverse ETL costs 24 credits * $2 * 30 days = $1440 per month. Using Snowflake’s Streams to detect changes offers a huge saving in credits to detect changes, just 1/6th of a single credit in equivalent cost, lowering the cost to $10 per month. Speed Real-time activation also requires ETL and transformation workflows to be low latency. In this example, our customer needed real-time activation of an event that occurs 10 times per day. First, we reduced their ETL processing time to 1 second with our HTTP Request source. On the activation side, Live Syncs activate data with subsecond latency. 1 second HTTP Live Sync + 1 minute Dynamic Table refresh + 1 second Census Snowflake Live Sync = 1 minute end-to-end latency. This process can be even faster when using Live Syncs with a Snowflake Stream. For this customer, using Census Live Syncs on Snowflake was 144x cheaper and 150x faster than their previous Reverse ETL process How Live Syncs work It’s easy to set up a real-time workflow with Snowflake as a source in three steps: