Apache Kafka vs IBM MQ


Message Queue (MQ)

A Message Queue (MQ) is an asynchronous service-to-service communication protocol used in microservices architectures. In MQ, messages are queued until they are processed and deleted. Each message is processed only once. In addition, MQs can be used to decouple heavyweight processing, buffering, and batch work.

Apache Kafka

Apache Kafka was originally developed at Linkedin as a stream processing platform before being open-sourced and gaining large external demand. Later, the Kafka project was handled by the Apache Software Foundation. Today, Apache Kafka is widely known as an open-source message broker and a distributed data storage platform written in Scala.

It provides services in a distributed, highly scalable, elastic, fault-tolerant, and secure manner. Options are available to self manage your kafka environments or fully managed services offered by vendors. It can be deployed on bare-metal hardware, virtual machines, and containers in on-premise as well as cloud environments.

IBM MQ

IBM MQ is a messaging middleware that integrates various business applications and data across multiple platforms faster and easier. It provides enterprise-grade messaging capabilities with a proven record for expertly and securely moving data. Indeed, apps can communicate with the aid of IBM MQ. By transmitting message data via messaging queues, IBM MQ makes exchanging information easier for applications, services, systems, and files. This dramatically simplifies the process of developing and maintaining business applications.

Additionally, IBM MQ fits into several environments, such as on-premise, cloud, and hybrid cloud deployments, and is compatible with a broad range of computing systems. It also offers a global messaging backbone with a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Integration

Initial set up for both IBM MQ & Kafka is straightforward and has good documentation & community support

Communication

Pull based communication is used in Kafka where receiving system send a message request to producing system. IBM MQ utilizes push based communication where it pushes the message to the queue where any receiver can consume at the same time from multiple systems

Cost

Kafka is an open-source solution. IBM MQ is a paid platform. IBM MQs has good customer support. Kafka on the other hand provides paid assistance based on subscription system but there is good open-source community as it is fairly popular messaging solutions

Security

IBM MQ offers a range of advanced capabilities such as enhanced granular security and message simplification capability while Apache Kafka do not. However, both provide superior security features to build data sensitive, mission critical applications

In Apache Kafka, messages are not erased once the receiving system has read them. Hence, it is easier to log events

Performance

  • Both Kafka and MQ can be horizontally scaled. But Kafka is more scalable with the number of consumers as it uses the single log file for all consumers
  • IBM MQ is suited for applications which require high reliability and do not tolerate message loss where as Kafka is suited for applications which requires high throughput
  • Apache Kafka can get a message from one system to it’s receiver quickly compared to traditional message queue tools, but each receiver must make a request for the message, rather than the producing system placing the message into an accessible queue.  Additionally, while Apache Kafka can be used to log events and scales well, it doesn’t include as many granular features for security and message simplification. 

References

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