Serf vs SmartStack: What are the differences?
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.
What is SmartStack? Automated service discovery and registration framework. Scaling a web infrastructure requires services, and building a service-oriented infrastructure is hard. Make it EASY, with SmartStack’s automated, transparent service discovery and registration: cruise control for your distributed infrastructure.
Serf and SmartStack belong to "Open Source Service Discovery" category of the tech stack.
Some of the features offered by Serf are:
- 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.
On the other hand, SmartStack provides the following key features:
- Within a health check interval’s delay of a backend becoming healthy, it is made available in Zookeeper
- this makes it instantly available to consumers via Synapse’s Zookeeper watches.
- We detect problems within a health check interval, and take backends out of rotation. A mechanism which allows services to notify Nerve that they’re not healthy is planned, to reduce the interval further. In the meantime, deploys can stop Nerve when they start, and then re-start it at the end.
Serf and SmartStack are both open source tools. It seems that Serf with 4.7K GitHub stars and 467 forks on GitHub has more adoption than SmartStack with 228 GitHub stars and 41 GitHub forks.