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AWS Lambda vs Apache Spark: What are the differences?

What is AWS Lambda? Automatically run code in response to modifications to objects in Amazon S3 buckets, messages in Kinesis streams, or updates in DynamoDB. AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you. You can use AWS Lambda to extend other AWS services with custom logic, or create your own back-end services that operate at AWS scale, performance, and security.

What is Apache Spark? Fast and general engine for large-scale data processing. Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like streaming, interactive queries, and machine learning.

AWS Lambda belongs to "Serverless / Task Processing" category of the tech stack, while Apache Spark can be primarily classified under "Big Data Tools".

Some of the features offered by AWS Lambda are:

  • Extend other AWS services with custom logic
  • Build custom back-end services
  • Completely Automated Administration

On the other hand, Apache Spark provides the following key features:

  • Run programs up to 100x faster than Hadoop MapReduce in memory, or 10x faster on disk
  • Write applications quickly in Java, Scala or Python
  • Combine SQL, streaming, and complex analytics

"No infrastructure" is the top reason why over 121 developers like AWS Lambda, while over 45 developers mention "Open-source" as the leading cause for choosing Apache Spark.

Apache Spark is an open source tool with 22.5K GitHub stars and 19.4K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Apache Spark's open source repository on GitHub.

According to the StackShare community, AWS Lambda has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1022 company stacks & 612 developers stacks; compared to Apache Spark, which is listed in 266 company stacks and 112 developer stacks.

Advice on AWS Lambda and Apache Spark

Need advice on what platform, systems and tools to use.

Evaluating whether to start a new digital business for which we will need to build a website that handles all traffic. Website only right now. May add smartphone apps later. No desktop app will ever be added. Website to serve various countries and languages. B2B and B2C type customers. Need to handle heavy traffic, be low cost, and scale well.

We are open to either build it on AWS or on Microsoft Azure.

Apologies if I'm leaving out some info. My first post. :) Thanks in advance!

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Replies (2)
Anis Zehani

I recommend this : -Spring reactive for back end : the fact it's reactive (async) it consumes half of the resources that a sync platform needs (so less CPU -> less money). -Angular : Web Front end ; it's gives you the possibility to use PWA which is a cheap replacement for a mobile app (but more less popular). -Docker images. -Kubernetes to orchestrate all the containers. -I Use Jenkins / blueocean, ansible for my CI/CD (with Github of course) -AWS of course : u can run a K8S cluster there, make it multi AZ (availability zones) to be highly available, use a load balancer and an auto scaler and ur good to go. -You can store data by taking any managed DB or u can deploy ur own (cheap but risky).

You pay less money, but u need some technical 2 - 3 guys to make that done.

Good luck

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My advice will be Front end: React Backend: Language: Java, Kotlin. Database: SQL: Postgres, MySQL, Aurora NOSQL: Mongo db. Caching: Redis. Public : Spring Webflux for async public facing operation. Admin api: Spring boot, Hibrernate, Rest API. Build Container image. Kuberenetes: AWS EKS, AWS ECS, Google GKE. Use Jenkins for CI/CD pipeline. Buddy works is good for AWS. Static content: Host on AWS S3 bucket, Use Cloudfront or Cloudflare as CDN.

Serverless Solution: Api gateway Lambda, Serveless Aurora (SQL). AWS S3 bucket.

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Nilesh Akhade
Technical Architect at Self Employed · | 5 upvotes · 217.5K views

We have a Kafka topic having events of type A and type B. We need to perform an inner join on both type of events using some common field (primary-key). The joined events to be inserted in Elasticsearch.

In usual cases, type A and type B events (with same key) observed to be close upto 15 minutes. But in some cases they may be far from each other, lets say 6 hours. Sometimes event of either of the types never come.

In all cases, we should be able to find joined events instantly after they are joined and not-joined events within 15 minutes.

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Replies (2)
Recommends
Elasticsearch

The first solution that came to me is to use upsert to update ElasticSearch:

  1. Use the primary-key as ES document id
  2. Upsert the records to ES as soon as you receive them. As you are using upsert, the 2nd record of the same primary-key will not overwrite the 1st one, but will be merged with it.

Cons: The load on ES will be higher, due to upsert.

To use Flink:

  1. Create a KeyedDataStream by the primary-key
  2. In the ProcessFunction, save the first record in a State. At the same time, create a Timer for 15 minutes in the future
  3. When the 2nd record comes, read the 1st record from the State, merge those two, and send out the result, and clear the State and the Timer if it has not fired
  4. When the Timer fires, read the 1st record from the State and send out as the output record.
  5. Have a 2nd Timer of 6 hours (or more) if you are not using Windowing to clean up the State

Pro: if you have already having Flink ingesting this stream. Otherwise, I would just go with the 1st solution.

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Akshaya Rawat
Senior Specialist Platform at Publicis Sapient · | 3 upvotes · 120.7K views
Recommends
Apache Spark

Please refer "Structured Streaming" feature of Spark. Refer "Stream - Stream Join" at https://spark.apache.org/docs/latest/structured-streaming-programming-guide.html#stream-stream-joins . In short you need to specify "Define watermark delays on both inputs" and "Define a constraint on time across the two inputs"

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Decisions about AWS Lambda and Apache Spark

When adding a new feature to Checkly rearchitecting some older piece, I tend to pick Heroku for rolling it out. But not always, because sometimes I pick AWS Lambda . The short story:

  • Developer Experience trumps everything.
  • AWS Lambda is cheap. Up to a limit though. This impact not only your wallet.
  • If you need geographic spread, AWS is lonely at the top.
The setup

Recently, I was doing a brainstorm at a startup here in Berlin on the future of their infrastructure. They were ready to move on from their initial, almost 100% Ec2 + Chef based setup. Everything was on the table. But we crossed out a lot quite quickly:

  • Pure, uncut, self hosted Kubernetes — way too much complexity
  • Managed Kubernetes in various flavors — still too much complexity
  • Zeit — Maybe, but no Docker support
  • Elastic Beanstalk — Maybe, bit old but does the job
  • Heroku
  • Lambda

It became clear a mix of PaaS and FaaS was the way to go. What a surprise! That is exactly what I use for Checkly! But when do you pick which model?

I chopped that question up into the following categories:

  • Developer Experience / DX 🤓
  • Ops Experience / OX 🐂 (?)
  • Cost 💵
  • Lock in 🔐

Read the full post linked below for all details

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Pros of AWS Lambda
Pros of Apache Spark
  • 126
    No infrastructure
  • 81
    Cheap
  • 68
    Quick
  • 57
    Stateless
  • 47
    No deploy, no server, great sleep
  • 9
    AWS Lambda went down taking many sites with it
  • 5
    Easy to deploy
  • 5
    Event Driven Governance
  • 5
    Extensive API
  • 4
    Auto scale and cost effective
  • 3
    VPC Support
  • 1
    Integrated with various AWS services
  • 58
    Open-source
  • 48
    Fast and Flexible
  • 7
    One platform for every big data problem
  • 6
    Easy to install and to use
  • 6
    Great for distributed SQL like applications
  • 3
    Works well for most Datascience usecases
  • 2
    Machine learning libratimery, Streaming in real
  • 2
    In memory Computation
  • 0
    Interactive Query

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Cons of AWS Lambda
Cons of Apache Spark
  • 5
    Cant execute ruby or go
  • 0
    Can't execute PHP w/o significant effort
  • 3
    Speed

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is AWS Lambda?

AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you. You can use AWS Lambda to extend other AWS services with custom logic, or create your own back-end services that operate at AWS scale, performance, and security.

What is Apache Spark?

Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like streaming, interactive queries, and machine learning.

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What companies use AWS Lambda?
What companies use Apache Spark?
See which teams inside your own company are using AWS Lambda or Apache Spark.
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What tools integrate with AWS Lambda?
What tools integrate with Apache Spark?

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What are some alternatives to AWS Lambda and Apache Spark?
Serverless
Build applications comprised of microservices that run in response to events, auto-scale for you, and only charge you when they run. This lowers the total cost of maintaining your apps, enabling you to build more logic, faster. The Framework uses new event-driven compute services, like AWS Lambda, Google CloudFunctions, and more.
Azure Functions
Azure Functions is an event driven, compute-on-demand experience that extends the existing Azure application platform with capabilities to implement code triggered by events occurring in virtually any Azure or 3rd party service as well as on-premises systems.
AWS Elastic Beanstalk
Once you upload your application, Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring.
AWS Step Functions
AWS Step Functions makes it easy to coordinate the components of distributed applications and microservices using visual workflows. Building applications from individual components that each perform a discrete function lets you scale and change applications quickly.
Google App Engine
Google has a reputation for highly reliable, high performance infrastructure. With App Engine you can take advantage of the 10 years of knowledge Google has in running massively scalable, performance driven systems. App Engine applications are easy to build, easy to maintain, and easy to scale as your traffic and data storage needs grow.
See all alternatives