What is Serf?
Serf is a service discovery and orchestration tool that is decentralized, highly available, and fault tolerant. Serf runs on every major platform: Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. It is extremely lightweight: it uses 5 to 10 MB of resident memory and primarily communicates using infrequent UDP messages.
Serf is a tool in the Open Source Service Discovery category of a tech stack.
Serf is an open source tool with 4.9K GitHub stars and 504 GitHub forks. Here’s a link to Serf's open source repository on GitHub
Who uses Serf?
4 companies reportedly use Serf in their tech stacks, including HashiCorp, UNIQLO, and ClickBalance.
8 developers on StackShare have stated that they use Serf.
Pros of Serf
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- Membership: Serf maintains cluster membership lists and is able to execute custom handler scripts when that membership changes. For example, Serf can maintain the list of web servers for a load balancer and notify that load balancer whenever a node comes online or goes offline.
- Failure detection and recovery: Serf automatically detects failed nodes within seconds, notifies the rest of the cluster, and executes handler scripts allowing you to handle these events. Serf will attempt to recover failed nodes by reconnecting to them periodically.
- Custom event propagation: Serf can broadcast custom events and queries to the cluster. These can be used to trigger deploys, propagate configuration, etc. Events are simply fire-and-forget broadcast, and Serf makes a best effort to deliver messages in the face of offline nodes or network partitions. Queries provide a simple realtime request/response mechanism.
Serf Alternatives & Comparisons
What are some alternatives to Serf?
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Consul is a tool for service discovery and configuration. Consul is distributed, highly available, and extremely scalable.
A centralized service for maintaining configuration information, naming, providing distributed synchronization, and providing group services. All of these kinds of services are used in some form or another by distributed applications.
etcd is a distributed key value store that provides a reliable way to store data across a cluster of machines. It’s open-source and available on GitHub. etcd gracefully handles master elections during network partitions and will tolerate machine failure, including the master.
Eureka is a REST (Representational State Transfer) based service that is primarily used in the AWS cloud for locating services for the purpose of load balancing and failover of middle-tier servers.
The main goal of this project is to provide simple and robust facilities for loadbalancing and high-availability to Linux system and Linux based infrastructures.