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Consul

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204
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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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Pros of Consul
Pros of Serf
  • 59
    Great service discovery infrastructure
  • 35
    Health checking
  • 27
    Distributed key-value store
  • 25
    Monitoring
  • 23
    High-availability
  • 11
    Web-UI
  • 10
    Token-based acls
  • 6
    Gossip clustering
  • 5
    Dns server
  • 2
    Not Java
  • 1
    Docker integration
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    What is Consul?

    Consul is a tool for service discovery and configuration. Consul is distributed, highly available, and extremely scalable.

    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.

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    What companies use Consul?
    What companies use Serf?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Consul or Serf.
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    What tools integrate with Consul?
    What tools integrate with Serf?
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      Blog Posts

      What are some alternatives to Consul and Serf?
      etcd
      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.
      Zookeeper
      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.
      SkyDNS
      SkyDNS is a distributed service for announcement and discovery of services. It leverages Raft for high-availability and consensus, and utilizes DNS queries to discover available services. This is done by leveraging SRV records in DNS, with special meaning given to subdomains, priorities and weights (more info here: http://blog.gopheracademy.com/skydns).
      Ambassador
      Map services to arbitrary URLs in a single, declarative YAML file. Configure routes with CORS support, circuit breakers, timeouts, and more. Replace your Kubernetes ingress controller. Route gRPC, WebSockets, or HTTP.
      Kubernetes
      Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.
      See all alternatives