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

Valuable Features:

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.

Improvements to My Organization:

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

Room for 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).

Use of Solution:

I have used Kafka for a very short period; like six months. Then I moved to Amazon Kinesis, the PaaS offering for Kafka.

Stability Issues:

No issues here with stability.

Scalability Issues:

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.

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.

Previous Solutions:

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.

Initial Setup:

The setup was straightforward.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

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

Other Solutions Considered:

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.

Other Advice:

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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