Compare Amazon MSK vs. Apache Flink

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Most Helpful Review
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Quotes From Members

We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:

"MSK has a private network that's an out-of-box feature."

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"The documentation is very good.""With Flink, it provides out-of-the-box checkpointing and state management. It helps us in that way. When Storm used to restart, sometimes we would lose messages. With Flink, it provides guaranteed message processing, which helped us. It also helped us with maintenance or restarts.""The event processing function is the most useful or the most used function. The filter function and the mapping function are also very useful because we have a lot of data to transform. For example, we store a lot of information about a person, and when we want to retrieve this person's details, we need all the details. In the map function, we can actually map all persons based on their age group. That's why the mapping function is very useful. We can really get a lot of events, and then we keep on doing what we need to do.""Another feature is how Flink handles its radiuses. It has something called the checkpointing concept. You're dealing with billions and billions of requests, so your system is going to fail in large storage systems. Flink handles this by using the concept of checkpointing and savepointing, where they write the aggregated state into some separate storage. So in case of failure, you can basically recall from that state and come back.""Apache Flink is meant for low latency applications. You take one event opposite if you want to maintain a certain state. When another event comes and you want to associate those events together, in-memory state management was a key feature for us.""This is truly a real-time solution.""The setup was not too difficult.""The top feature of Apache Flink is its low latency for fast, real-time data. Another great feature is the real-time indicators and alerts which make a big difference when it comes to data processing and analysis."

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"It should be more flexible, integration-wise."

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"We have a machine learning team that works with Python, but Apache Flink does not have full support for the language.""The state maintains checkpoints and they use RocksDB or S3. They are good but sometimes the performance is affected when you use RocksDB for checkpointing.""The TimeWindow feature is a bit tricky. The timing of the content and the windowing is a bit changed in 1.11. They have introduced watermarks. A watermark is basically associating every data with a timestamp. The timestamp could be anything, and we can provide the timestamp. So, whenever I receive a tweet, I can actually assign a timestamp, like what time did I get that tweet. The watermark helps us to uniquely identify the data. Watermarks are tricky if you use multiple events in the pipeline. For example, you have three resources from different locations, and you want to combine all those inputs and also perform some kind of logic. When you have more than one input screen and you want to collect all the information together, you have to apply TimeWindow all. That means that all the events from the upstream or from the up sources should be in that TimeWindow, and they were coming back. Internally, it is a batch of events that may be getting collected every five minutes or whatever timing is given. Sometimes, the use case for TimeWindow is a bit tricky. It depends on the application as well as on how people have given this TimeWindow. This kind of documentation is not updated. Even the test case documentation is a bit wrong. It doesn't work. Flink has updated the version of Apache Flink, but they have not updated the testing documentation. Therefore, I have to manually understand it. We have also been exploring failure handling. I was looking into changelogs for which they have posted the future plans and what are they going to deliver. We have two concerns regarding this, which have been noted down. I hope in the future that they will provide this functionality. Integration of Apache Flink with other metric services or failure handling data tools needs some kind of update or its in-depth knowledge is required in the documentation. We have a use case where we want to actually analyze or get analytics about how much data we process and how many failures we have. For that, we need to use Tomcat, which is an analytics tool for implementing counters. We can manage reports in the analyzer. This kind of integration is pretty much straightforward. They say that people must be well familiar with all the things before using this type of integration. They have given this complete file, which you can update, but it took some time. There is a learning curve with it, which consumed a lot of time. It is evolving to a newer version, but the documentation is not demonstrating that update. The documentation is not well incorporated. Hopefully, these things will get resolved now that they are implementing it. Failure is another area where it is a bit rigid or not that flexible. We never use this for scaling because complexity is very high in case of a failure. Processing and providing the scaled data back to Apache Flink is a bit challenging. They have this concept of offsetting, which could be simplified.""In terms of stability with Flink, it is something that you have to deal with every time. Stability is the number one problem that we have seen with Flink, and it really depends on the kind of problem that you're trying to solve.""In terms of improvement, there should be better reporting. You can integrate with reporting solutions but Flink doesn't offer it themselves.""The machine learning library is not very flexible.""In a future release, they could improve on making the error descriptions more clear.""One way to improve Flink would be to enhance integration between different ecosystems. For example, there could be more integration with other big data vendors and platforms similar in scope to how Apache Flink works with Cloudera. Apache Flink is a part of the same ecosystem as Cloudera, and for batch processing it's actually very useful but for real-time processing there could be more development with regards to the big data capabilities amongst the various ecosystems out there."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
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"This is an open-source platform that can be used free of charge.""The solution is open-source, which is free.""Apache Flink is open source so we pay no licensing for the use of the software."

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Questions from the Community
Top Answer: MSK has a private network that's an out-of-box feature.
Top Answer: MSK should be easier to integrate with other solutions. It should be more flexible, integration-wise. MSK has a private network that's an out-of-the-box feature. For our case, we needed something… more »
Top Answer: Behind the scenes, we use Kafka. We tried using MSK to collect old data surrounding inventory from e-commerce websites, for example.
Top Answer: The setup was not too difficult.
Top Answer: I am using the Python API and I have found the solution to be underdeveloped compared to others. There needs to be better integration with notebooks to allow for more practical development… more »
out of 32 in Streaming Analytics
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out of 32 in Streaming Analytics
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Also Known As
Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka
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Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka (Amazon MSK) is a fully managed service that enables you to build and run applications that use Apache Kafka to process streaming data. Amazon MSK provides the control-plane operations, such as those for creating, updating, and deleting clusters.

Apache Flink is a framework and distributed processing engine for stateful computations over unbounded and bounded data streams. Flink has been designed to run in all common cluster environments, perform computations at in-memory speed and at any scale.

Learn more about Amazon MSK
Learn more about Apache Flink
Sample Customers
Expedia, Intuit, Royal Dutch Shell, Brooks Brothers
LogRhythm, Inc., Inter-American Development Bank, Scientific Technologies Corporation, LotLinx, Inc., Benevity, Inc.
Top Industries
Computer Software Company27%
Comms Service Provider18%
Media Company17%
Financial Services Firm8%
Computer Software Company29%
Comms Service Provider18%
Media Company13%
Financial Services Firm9%
Company Size
No Data Available
Small Business13%
Midsize Enterprise13%
Large Enterprise75%
Find out what your peers are saying about Databricks, Solace, Amazon and others in Streaming Analytics. Updated: April 2021.
501,818 professionals have used our research since 2012.

Amazon MSK is ranked 8th in Streaming Analytics with 1 review while Apache Flink is ranked 4th in Streaming Analytics with 8 reviews. Amazon MSK is rated 8.0, while Apache Flink is rated 7.6. The top reviewer of Amazon MSK writes "Allows you to build and run applications easily". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Apache Flink writes "Scalable framework for stateful streaming aggregations". Amazon MSK is most compared with Confluent, Amazon Kinesis, Azure Stream Analytics, Google Cloud Dataflow and Apache Spark Streaming, whereas Apache Flink is most compared with Amazon Kinesis, Spring Cloud Data Flow, Google Cloud Dataflow, Azure Stream Analytics and Talend Data Streams.

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