Consul vs Serf: What are the differences?
What is Consul? A tool for service discovery, monitoring and configuration. Consul is a tool for service discovery and configuration. Consul is distributed, highly available, and extremely scalable.
What is Serf? Service orchestration and management tool. 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.
Consul and Serf can be categorized as "Open Source Service Discovery" tools.
Some of the features offered by Consul are:
- Service Discovery - Consul makes it simple for services to register themselves and to discover other services via a DNS or HTTP interface. External services such as SaaS providers can be registered as well.
- Health Checking - Health Checking enables Consul to quickly alert operators about any issues in a cluster. The integration with service discovery prevents routing traffic to unhealthy hosts and enables service level circuit breakers.
- Key/Value Storage - A flexible key/value store enables storing dynamic configuration, feature flagging, coordination, leader election and more. The simple HTTP API makes it easy to use anywhere.
On the other hand, Serf provides the following key features:
- 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.
Consul and Serf are both open source tools. It seems that Consul with 16.2K GitHub stars and 2.82K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Serf with 4.69K GitHub stars and 467 GitHub forks.
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