Citus vs Riak: What are the differences?
Citus: Worry-free Postgres for SaaS. Built to scale out. Citus is worry-free Postgres for SaaS. Made to scale out, Citus is an extension to Postgres that distributes queries across any number of servers. Citus is available as open source, as on-prem software, and as a fully-managed service; Riak: A distributed, decentralized data storage system. Riak is a distributed database designed to deliver maximum data availability by distributing data across multiple servers. As long as your client can reach one Riak server, it should be able to write data. In most failure scenarios, the data you want to read should be available, although it may not be the most up-to-date version of that data.
Citus and Riak belong to "Databases" category of the tech stack.
"Multi-core Parallel Processing" is the primary reason why developers consider Citus over the competitors, whereas "High Performance " was stated as the key factor in picking Riak.
Citus and Riak are both open source tools. Citus with 3.64K GitHub stars and 273 forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Riak with 3.24K GitHub stars and 530 GitHub forks.
What is Citus?
What is Riak?
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What are the cons of using Citus?
What are the cons of using Riak?
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PostgreSQL was an easy early decision for the founding team. The relational data model fit the types of analyses they would be doing: filtering, grouping, joining, etc., and it was the database they knew best.
Shortly after adopting PG, they discovered Citus, which is a tool that makes it easy to distribute queries. Although it was a young project and a fork of Postgres at that point, Dan says the team was very available, highly expert, and it wouldn’t be very difficult to move back to PG if they needed to.
The stuff they forked was in query execution. You could treat the worker nodes like regular PG instances. Citus also gave them a ton of flexibility to make queries fast, and again, they felt the data model was the best fit for their application.
At Heap, we searched for an existing tool that would allow us to express the full range of analyses we needed, index the event definitions that made up the analyses, and was a mature, natively distributed system.
After coming up empty on this search, we decided to compromise on the “maturity” requirement and build our own distributed system around Citus and sharded PostgreSQL. It was at this point that we also introduced Kafka as a queueing layer between the Node.js application servers and Postgres.
If we could go back in time, we probably would have started using Kafka on day one. One of the biggest benefits in adopting Kafka has been the peace of mind that it brings. In an analytics infrastructure, it’s often possible to make data ingestion idempotent.
In Heap’s case, that means that, if anything downstream from Kafka goes down, we won’t lose any data – it’s just going to take a bit longer to get to its destination. We also learned that you want the path between data hitting your servers and your initial persistence layer (in this case, Kafka) to be as short and simple as possible, since that is the surface area where a failure means you can lose customer data. We learned that it’s a very good fit for an analytics tool, since you can handle a huge number of incoming writes with relatively low latency. Kafka also gives you the ability to “replay” the data flow: it’s like a commit log for your whole infrastructure.
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