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gRPC vs Kafka: What are the differences?

gRPC: A high performance, open-source universal RPC framework. gRPC is a modern open source high performance RPC framework that can run in any environment. It can efficiently connect services in and across data centers with pluggable support for load balancing, tracing, health checking..; Kafka: Distributed, fault tolerant, high throughput pub-sub messaging system. Kafka is a distributed, partitioned, replicated commit log service. It provides the functionality of a messaging system, but with a unique design.

gRPC can be classified as a tool in the "Remote Procedure Call (RPC)" category, while Kafka is grouped under "Message Queue".

Some of the features offered by gRPC are:

  • Simple service definition
  • Works across languages and platforms
  • Start quickly and scale

On the other hand, Kafka provides the following key features:

  • Written at LinkedIn in Scala
  • Used by LinkedIn to offload processing of all page and other views
  • Defaults to using persistence, uses OS disk cache for hot data (has higher throughput then any of the above having persistence enabled)

gRPC and Kafka are both open source tools. gRPC with 22K GitHub stars and 5.12K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Kafka with 12.7K GitHub stars and 6.81K GitHub forks.

Uber Technologies, Spotify, and Slack are some of the popular companies that use Kafka, whereas gRPC is used by Slack, 9GAG, and Policygenius. Kafka has a broader approval, being mentioned in 509 company stacks & 470 developers stacks; compared to gRPC, which is listed in 53 company stacks and 48 developer stacks.

What is gRPC?

gRPC is a modern open source high performance RPC framework that can run in any environment. It can efficiently connect services in and across data centers with pluggable support for load balancing, tracing, health checking...

What is Kafka?

Kafka is a distributed, partitioned, replicated commit log service. It provides the functionality of a messaging system, but with a unique design.
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    What are some alternatives to gRPC and Kafka?
    GraphQL
    GraphQL is a data query language and runtime designed and used at Facebook to request and deliver data to mobile and web apps since 2012.
    RabbitMQ
    RabbitMQ gives your applications a common platform to send and receive messages, and your messages a safe place to live until received.
    REST
    An architectural style for developing web services. A distributed system framework that uses Web protocols and technologies.
    MQTT
    It was designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport. It is useful for connections with remote locations where a small code footprint is required and/or network bandwidth is at a premium.
    JSON-RPC
    It is a very simple protocol, defining only a few data types and commands. It allows for notifications (data sent to the server that does not require a response) and for multiple calls to be sent to the server which may be answered out of order.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about gRPC and Kafka
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    How developers use gRPC and Kafka
    Avatar of Pinterest
    Pinterest uses KafkaKafka

    http://media.tumblr.com/d319bd2624d20c8a81f77127d3c878d0/tumblr_inline_nanyv6GCKl1s1gqll.png

    Front-end messages are logged to Kafka by our API and application servers. We have batch processing (on the middle-left) and real-time processing (on the middle-right) pipelines to process the experiment data. For batch processing, after daily raw log get to s3, we start our nightly experiment workflow to figure out experiment users groups and experiment metrics. We use our in-house workflow management system Pinball to manage the dependencies of all these MapReduce jobs.

    Avatar of Coolfront Technologies
    Coolfront Technologies uses KafkaKafka

    Building out real-time streaming server to present data insights to Coolfront Mobile customers and internal sales and marketing teams.

    Avatar of ShareThis
    ShareThis uses KafkaKafka

    We are using Kafka as a message queue to process our widget logs.

    Avatar of Christopher Davison
    Christopher Davison uses KafkaKafka

    Used for communications and triggering jobs across ETL systems

    Avatar of theskyinflames
    theskyinflames uses KafkaKafka

    Used as a integration middleware by messaging interchanging.

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