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Kong vs Zuul: What are the differences?

Kong and Zuul are both widely used API gateway solutions. Let's explore the key differences between them.

  1. Configuration Language: Kong uses a declarative configuration language, where the API configurations are defined in a static file or via an API. On the other hand, Zuul uses a dynamic configuration mechanism, where configurations can be updated in real-time without the need for a restart. This makes Zuul more flexible in handling dynamic changes to its routing rules.

  2. Scalability: Kong is built on top of Nginx and leverages its event-driven architecture, allowing it to handle high loads and large scale deployments with ease. Zuul, on the other hand, is built on top of Netflix's Hystrix and Ribbon, which provides fault tolerance and load balancing capabilities but may not be as scalable as Kong in terms of performance.

  3. Plugins and Extensibility: Kong has a large set of built-in plugins that provide additional functionality such as logging, rate limiting, and caching. It also has a flexible plugin architecture that allows users to develop and integrate their custom plugins. Zuul, on the other hand, offers a limited set of built-in filters and does not have as extensive plugin support as Kong.

  4. Service Discovery: Kong relies on external service discovery mechanisms such as Consul, etcd, or DNS for service discovery and dynamically updating its routing tables. Zuul integrates with Netflix's Eureka for service registration and discovery, providing a more seamless integration with the rest of the Netflix ecosystem.

  5. Community and Support: Kong has a large and active community with regular updates and a wide range of community-contributed plugins. It also has solid documentation and support from the Kong Inc. team. Zuul, being a part of the Netflix OSS ecosystem, has a supportive community but may not have the same level of active development and support as Kong.

  6. Deployment Options: Kong can be deployed as a standalone server or as a Docker container, providing flexibility in deployment options. It can also be easily integrated with Kubernetes for container orchestration. Zuul, on the other hand, is designed to be run on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and is typically deployed as a service within a Java-based microservices architecture.

In summary, Kong, based on Nginx and Lua, offers a more lightweight and flexible approach with extensive plugin support, making it suitable for microservices architectures. In contrast, Zuul, part of the Netflix OSS stack, is tightly integrated with Spring Cloud and provides advanced routing and filtering capabilities, often preferred in Java-based enterprise applications.

Decisions about Kong and Zuul
Prateek Mittal
Fullstack Engineer| Ruby | React JS | gRPC at Ex Bookmyshow | Furlenco | Shopmatic · | 4 upvotes · 297K views

Istio based on powerful Envoy whereas Kong based on Nginx. Istio is K8S native as well it's actively developed when k8s was successfully accepted with production-ready apps whereas Kong slowly migrated to start leveraging K8s. Istio has an inbuilt turn-keyIstio based on powerful Envoy whereas Kong based on Nginx. Istio is K8S native as well it's actively developed when k8s was successfully accepted with production-ready apps whereas Kong slowly migrated to start leveraging K8s. Istio has an inbuilt turn key solution with Rancher whereas Kong completely lacks here. Traffic distribution in Istio can be done via canary, a/b, shadowing, HTTP headers, ACL, whitelist whereas in Kong it's limited to canary, ACL, blue-green, proxy caching. Istio has amazing community support which is visible via Github stars or releases when comparing both.

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Pros of Kong
Pros of Zuul
  • 37
    Easy to maintain
  • 32
    Easy to install
  • 26
  • 21
    Great performance
  • 7
    Api blueprint
  • 4
    Custom Plugins
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
    Has a good plugin infrastructure
  • 2
  • 1
    Load balancing
  • 1
    Documentation is clear
  • 1
    Very customizable
  • 8
    Load blancing

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What is Kong?

Kong is a scalable, open source API Layer (also known as an API Gateway, or API Middleware). Kong controls layer 4 and 7 traffic and is extended through Plugins, which provide extra functionality and services beyond the core platform.

What is Zuul?

It is the front door for all requests from devices and websites to the backend of the Netflix streaming application. As an edge service application, It is built to enable dynamic routing, monitoring, resiliency, and security. Routing is an integral part of a microservice architecture.

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What companies use Kong?
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