Apache Kafka Review

The ability to partition data is valuable. There are far superior and cheaper alternatives in cloud-based solutions

How has it helped my organization?

We have used Kafka for streaming customer web clicks from live sessions to understand customer behavioral patterns.

What is most valuable?

The ability to partition data on Kafka is valuable. But Kafka needs support and management. It is better to have it fully managed on the cloud.

The only reason I give Kafka as product a low rating is because there are far superior and cheaper alternatives in cloud-based solutions, where we save money on manpower, electricity, servers, datacenters, networking, etc.

In fact, this is the view I have for pretty much all open source software compared to cloud based services. They just make things cheaper, faster, scalable and manageable. Kafka is good, but Kafka as a cloud service is awesome!!

This is a relative rating (compared to cloud services), not that something is wrong with Kafka. I hope that is clear.

What needs improvement?

The product is good, but it needs implementation and on-going support. The whole cloud engagement model has made the adoption of Kafka better due to PaaS (Amazon Kinesis, a fully managed service by AWS).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues here with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Ah, scalability!!! We need to set up multiple servers again for handling the load, which makes Kafka not scalable, unless you subscribe to cloud services.

How is customer service and technical support?

It’s an Apache-community based support, so it is not really prioritized if you have a business issue. This is why most enterprise customers pay for cloud services.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We didn’t have a previous solution. We started with Kafka and then switched to Amazon Kinesis (PaaS for Kafka). I think Microsoft Azure also released a competing service.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing issues are not applicable. Apache licensing makes it simple with almost zero cost for the software itself.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We unsuccessfully, and kind of foolishly, tried Apache Camel. They were not similar in services, so we moved to Kafka rightfully, and then to AWS cloud ultimately.

What other advice do I have?

If you have a dedicated Kafka resource to implement and manage the services, then go for Apache Kafka. Otherwise, do consider cloud-based services from AWS or Azure.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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