Pulsar vs. Kafka

Pulsar provides a multi-layer architecture that decouples storage and compute. Pulsar’s design allows organizations to elastically scale storage independently from compute and achieve different levels of resource isolation.

In contrast, Kafka has a monolithic architecture that tightly couples compute and storage, where resources must be scaled together.

Pulsar vs. Kafka performance

In our 2022 test, we found that, on identical servers, Pulsar outperformed Kafka significantly.

Download the benchmark to read the full test results.

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Maximum throughput

Pulsar is able to achieve 2.5x the maximum throughput compared to Kafka


Lower Publish latency

Pulsar provides consistent single-digit publish latency that is 100x lower than Kafka



Pulsar has a historical read rate that is 1.5x faster than Kafka

Kafka applications can run on Pulsar

StreamNative Cloud supports the native Apache Kafka protocol on Pulsar brokers. It means you can migrate your existing Kafka applications and services to Pulsar without modifying the code. This enables Kafka applications to leverage Pulsar’s powerful capabilities.

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Rebalance-free scaling

Tiered storage retention

Pulsar vs. Kafka features comparison

Apache Pulsar vs. Apache Kafka: Which streaming technology is right for you?

Key features
Message retention (time-based)
Message replay
Message retention (acknowledge-based)
Built-in tiered storage
Processing capabilities
Pulsar Functions
Processing capabilities (fully managed)
Queuing semantics (round robin)
Queuing semantics (key based)
Dead letter queue
Scheduled and delayed delivery
Topic compaction
Performance and scalability
Horizontally scalable
High availability (write)
Can only tolerate one node failure
Can tolerate many node failures
Rebalance-free scaling
Elastically scalable
Failure recovery
Max. number of topics
Up to 100k
Management features
Built-in multitenancy
Built-in georeplication
Built-in schema management
End-to-end encryption

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