Confluent Kafka is a commercial release of Apache Kafka that includes additional enterprise capabilities like multi-datacenter replication, schema management, and security enhancements. However, building real-time data pipelines and streaming applications can all be done using Apache Kafka. Confluent Kafka has enterprise-grade features that are absent from Apache Kafka, which is a significant distinction between the two platforms. But, in terms of customization and implementation, Apache Kafka offers more benefits. Moreover, Confluent Kafka offers support and services to assist with the setup and maintenance of the platform, while Apache Kafka relies on community support. The choice between Confluent Kafka vs. Apache Kafka should be based on the organization’s unique needs and expectations.
In terms of platform performance, both Confluent Kafka and Apache Kafka are known for their ability to handle large amounts of data with low latency and high throughput. However, Confluent Kafka offers additional performance improvements through its enterprise features such as multi-datacenter replication and advanced caching mechanisms. These features allow Confluent Kafka to achieve even faster data processing and delivery times, which can be critical for high-performance applications. Apache Kafka, offers more flexibility in terms of hardware and network configurations, allowing for fine-tuning of performance based on specific needs.
There are no license fees or additional expenses associated with using Apache Kafka because it is open source and free to use. Organizations will nevertheless need to set aside funds for your staff to implement and manage the platform’s hardware and infrastructure. Conversely, Confluent Kafka has a subscription-based pricing structure. Access to extra enterprise capabilities, support services, and training materials is made available through this subscription, which aids businesses in streamlining their Kafka installations and enhancing operational effectiveness. A Confluent Kafka platform subscription can be somewhat expensive for large-scale deployments due to the size and complexity of the deployment and Apache Kafka may appear to be the more cost-effective solution for the business.
Both Apache Kafka and Confluent Kafka offer robust data streaming and processing capabilities, but there are some key differences between the two platforms. Apache Kafka is an open source message broker that provides a core set of features, including low latency, fault-tolerant, and high throughput processing of streaming data. Confluent Kafka platform builds on these core Apache Kafka features by adding additional pre-built connectors, such as the REST Proxy and Schema Registry, as well as advanced tools for managing and deploying Kafka clusters, such as Confluent Control Center. Unlike Apache Kafka, Confluent Kafka is available both as an open source platform under the Confluent Community License and as a fee-based enterprise license, which provides additional features and support services. Additionally, Confluent Kafka offers Confluent Cloud, a fully-managed service for deploying and running event streaming platforms on cloud providers.
While both platforms are suitable for companies looking to build robust event streaming and data processing pipelines, Confluent Kafka’s offerings may be more attractive to companies that require additional features, support, and manageability tools.
As aforementioned, Apache Kafka is an open source platform that is available for free, and there are no licensing fees associated with its use. However, users are responsible for maintaining and deploying their own Kafka servers, as well as any additional tools or technologies they may require. In contrast, Confluent Kafka is also built on the core Apache Kafka product, but it offers additional features and support services through its fee based enterprise license. Confluent’s enterprise license allows users to access additional technologies and features, including Confluent Control Center for managing Kafka clusters, as well as additional pre-built connectors. Confluent also offers a fully-managed service, Confluent Cloud, which allows users to deploy and run event streaming platforms on cloud providers. For those who prefer to use the open source version of Confluent Kafka, the Confluent Community License is available, which provides access to the Confluent Kafka platform with some added limitations and following restrictions.
While Apache Kafka may be a good option for those who want a free and open source data streaming platform, Confluent Kafka’s enterprise license and additional features may be more appealing to businesses that require more advanced features, support, and manageability tools.
Ease of Use
Confluent Kafka has a reputation for being a more user-friendly platform compared to Apache Kafka. Many user reviews highlight that Confluent’s additional pre-built connectors and managed service offerings make it easier to deploy and maintain Kafka clusters. Additionally, Confluent’s enterprise license provides users with more support and added features that help manage and scale their event streaming platform with ease. While Apache Kafka is a robust and efficient open source message broker, it requires more technical expertise and knowledge to manage and scale but some users may prefer the flexibility of Apache Kafka’s open source platform.
Support and Services
According to multiple user reviews, Confluent Kafka provides superior support and services compared to Apache Kafka. Confluent provides a managed service referred to as Confluent Cloud that is made to handle data streaming, event processing, and cloud storage. They also offer other features and tools, including REST Proxy, Schema Registry, and Kafka Connectors. Businesses may benefit from Confluent’s enterprise license, which includes high-availability clusters and extra technologies. To assist businesses in efficiently managing their Confluent instances, they also provide support and training services. On the other hand, Apache Kafka provides a free-to-use, open source data streaming platform that does not have any additional restrictions. There is no formal support or managed service offered; instead, the community offers support through mailing lists and forums.
Confluent Kafka’s community is substantially smaller than that of Apache Kafka. Being an open source message broker project, Apache Kafka is available for usage and development by anyone. Due to its open source nature and the huge and active developer community that constantly updates and adds new features to the platform, it is the preferred option for businesses that value the flexibility of an open source platform. This also means that there are plenty of resources and documentation available for users to learn from and troubleshoot any issues they may face. Confluent Kafka is fairly new to the industry and has a smaller community because it is a commercial platform even though it was created on the Apache Kafka infrastructure. Only individuals with a Confluent Community License or those who have paid for an enterprise license are eligible to join its community. Apache Kafka has a larger community and a plethora of information available, making it a more appealing alternative for businesses looking for community assistance although Confluent has its own set of resources and documentation available for users.
Confluent Kafka has the advantage here. It provides technology and pre-built interfaces that enable smooth integration with other data processing systems. Confluent Schema Registry, Confluent Control Center, and Confluent REST Proxy are among the products offered by Confluent Kafka. These tools can be used to set up, maintain, and keep an eye on Kafka clusters, which offer fault tolerance, high availability, and quick data streaming. Confluent also offers Confluent Cloud, a fully-managed solution on a public cloud provider that makes jobs involving stream processing and data engineering simpler. Additionally, Confluent Kafka offers an enterprise license with extra tools and functionality to support businesses with sophisticated data processing needs. Conversely, the main Apache Kafka product is available on the open source Apache platform. Although it offers the same degree of advanced technology and features as Confluent Kafka, it does not offer pre-built connectors or compatibility for as many platforms.
Both Apache Kafka and Confluent Kafka have strong security protections, however, Confluent Kafka has more features and capabilities that make it a more secure choice. Confluent Kafka, for instance, offers authentication and authorization procedures, as well as encryption in transit and at rest, all of which are also accessible in Apache Kafka. To add to these, Confluent Kafka additionally provides audit logging and role-based access control (RBAC), which are unavailable in Apache Kafka. Confluent Kafka also offers a schema registry that aids in data compatibility and validation, making it simpler to secure data transport. Moreover, Confluent provides a managed cloud service, not offered by Apache Kafka, that offers businesses a more secure environment and simplified management. Confluent Kafka offers stronger security features and capabilities under closer inspection, making it the preferable choice for businesses searching for a more secure data streaming platform.
Strong monitoring systems are provided on both Confluent Kafka and Apache Kafka. However, there are some differences between the two. Kafka Manager, a web-based utility provided by Apache Kafka, enables the monitoring of Kafka clusters and their topics.