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Self Managed Vs Managed Kafka Service

Nidhi Jindal
~ 3 min read | Published on Dec 15, 2023


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What is Kafka?

Apache Kafka is distributed store event and stream-processing platform. It is an open-source system written in Java and Scala. Kafka was built in 2010 at LinkedIn to solve the issue of low-latency ingestion of big amounts of event data. Currently, LinkedIn is consuming around 1 trillion messages per day with the help of Kafka.

Why use Kafka?

  1. Multiple Producers: Kafka can seamlessly handle multiple producers whether the clients are using the same topic or multiple different topics.
  2. Multiple Consumers: Multiple consumers can also consume data from the Kafka cluster with or without the interference of other consumers.
  3. Disk-Based Retention: Kafka frees its consumer from consuming data in real-time. If the consumer is down for some time, then these messages will be retained in Kafka without any data loss.
  4. High Performance
  5. Scalable: Kafka is a highly scalable publish/subscribe messaging system. The most important thing is that during the expansion there is no impact on the availability of the system.
  6. Durability
  7. Fault-tolerance

Application Scenarios of Kafka?

  1. Real-time data processing
  2. Application activity monitor
  3. Logging and/or monitoring system
  4. Messaging
  5. Matrices and Logging
  6. Stream Processing

What are Managed Services?

Managed Services mean we are outsourcing the maintenance and repair to experts. A managed service provider performs multiple functions for your company.

Managed services can make your job easier so you can focus on the things that matter the most. Managed services allow you to stay focused on your business’s core competencies, while a managed service vendor can help you with day-to-day tasks for more time-consuming and complex tasks such as:

  1. Data center solutions
  2. Cloud computing
  3. Disaster recovery planning
  4. Cyber Security
  5. Computer System and asset management
  6. End User Support
managed vs unmanaged Kafka services

Parameter Managed Kafka Service Self Managed Kafka
Maintenance Spending Managed Service providers typically operate with fixed monthly rates, items like hardware breakdown would not break the bank when they unexpectedly occur. We are responsible for the OPEX costs of the infrastructure.
Response Time With a support service provider by your side, help is always available -day, night, weekends, and holidays. Our team is responsible for fixing if some technical issue is faced
Expertise and Experience The biggest advantage of using managed Kafka is they provide a team of qualified and experienced resources having expertise in that specific industry. You and your team members are responsible for establishing your own IT infrastructure. Since they are working on multiple technologies so they might be slow as compared to the team of managed service providers.
Absolute Control You can not directly control your technology team. The advantage of unmanaged service is absolute control. You will directly have control over your technology team.
Costing You will be charged on the basis of fixed monthly rates. If you are a startup or mid-size company, it will likely be more expensive, since you will need to hire full-time professionals and components on an ad-hoc basis.
Time-Saving You don't need to spend your time on issues like network security attacks, downtimes, and other glitches. You need to spend a significant chunk of your time dealing with such issues.
Security You might give high-level access for the external team to operate smoothly. You are managing your data on your own.
Recursive costing You have to pay the rental of the managed Kafka on the monthly basis. If you have sufficient IT resources, then you should build your own custom infrastructure rather than paying a recurring cost.
Failure Handling All failure handling will be done by Managed service. In case of any failure you have to fix it manually and it can cost you data loss also.
Scalability Automatically scale up and scale down. We have to manually scale up and scale down the kafka cluster which can take lots of efforts.


It totally depends on your requirement whether you should choose managed Kafka or self-managed Kafka. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you need data security and have sufficient IT resources then you should setup your own custom infrastructure. If you want to eliminate the operational overhead and are ready to pay some extra money then you should managed kafka.

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