Apache Kafka and Mule ESB are both enterprise service bus (ESB) and integration platforms, which allow users to capture real-time data from multiple sources. Apache Kafka is robust and complex for large companies with ESB experience, while Mule ESB’s easy to use interface will come in handy for those newer to integration platforms.
Though both Apache Kafka and Mule ESB are used by enterprise-level companies, there are a few standout features of each that differentiate them.
Apache Kafka is, in essence, a message-brokering platform that delivers data from one point to another. Its uniqueness lies in its ability to distribute, store and process events. Users report that Apache Kafka is easy to configure and handles large amounts of data from different sources with ease. Its flexibility allows for success when handling millions of small files or a small number of large files, and it will accommodate bursts of traffic as well. Kafka is stable, secure, and well supported by Apache, so it can be a mission-critical part of a system without worry that it will fail. The fact that Apache continues to develop and improve it inspires confidence that it won’t go away anytime soon.
Mule ESB is a middleware tool for integrating various applications with each other. It is highly valued by its users for the sheer number of connections that are available. Most connections can be implemented via a drag and drop interface, making it easy to use for beginners. Mulesoft is a SalesForce company, so Salesforce integrations are robust yet simple. Pre-built connectors and templates make Mule ESB even faster to set up.
Each of these ESB products has its own set of limitations.
Apache Kafka, while robust, does not support wildcard topic selection, but matches only specific topic names. Handling a large number of topics can make Kafka grind to a halt. Though it has monitoring tools, users report that the selection of these tools is incomplete. Handling of duplicate messages could be improved, as could load balancing and restart. The product documentation can be difficult to follow.
While many appreciate how lightweight Mule ESB is, it can slow down when handling bigger applications or large amounts of messages, and frequent patches imply instability. Troubleshooting can be difficult, and some data types are conspicuously unavailable. Some users also note that the price is a little high for them.
As an open-source product, Apache Kafka is free to download and install. Mule ESB is part of the Mulesoft Anypoint Platform, which has a 30-day free trial. Contact Mulesoft to learn more about subscription pricing.
Provided by the TrustRadius Research Team
Published on October 16, 2020
Likelihood to Recommend
- Scalable and flexibly.
- User friendly simple configuration/setup.
- Ability to process huge loads which is a much-needed key feature of a messaging layer. And I believe Kafka fulfills this criterion.
- Adaptable for various integration products like Tibco, Mule, and even Java applications.
- It is best suited for Rest API development. Mule ESB uses RAML as an API descriptor which is less complex and easy to understand. RAML is an open standard majorly supported by Mulesoft. Once RAML is developed, it is very easy (a few clicks)to create flows corresponding to the resources defined in the RAML. One can also include JSON schema validation in RAML, and with the use of APIkit router, Mule ESB makes the request validation very easy (it's automatic basically.)
- Mule ESB comes with a large spectrum of community and enterprise connectors. We have connectors for all the major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, SAP, etc. This enables Mule ESB to integrate with the other systems in a faster and more robust way. Mule ESB has many components to fulfill the requirements of each integration (for example batch processing, parallel processing, choice, etc.)
- Mule API gateway is one of the best tools (modules) of Mulesoft's offering. It supports API governance and management very well. One can easily enforce policies on their APIs with API gateway. It enables some of the must-have features in an API solution (i.e. throttling, oAuth, access levels, etc.)
- Implementing a CI/CD (DevOps) environment for Mule ESB is a very easy task. Mule majorly uses MAVEN as its build tool, which in turn makes it best suitable for CI/CD approach. Mule also provides MAVEN plugins for auto deployments to the servers. Mule also has a best Unit testing module which is MUnit. MUnit can be used for both Unit and Functional testing, and it is easy to write and generates coverage reports in various formats.
- Apache Kafka does take some initial setup and deployment time especially if you haven't bought support from Confluent.
- It is not a full solution so for an analytics use case, you will still need something like Tibco.
- It does not have a SQL based query engine out-of-the-box so building/using analytics on top can be a lot of work. It would be great to have something already baked into Kafka out-of-the-box.
- Make sure to not over-engineer shared components. It can complicate development
- Create a roadmap for where you are going - if not, you may miss components
- I suggest getting support, otherwise it could be a difficult learning curve
Likelihood to Renew
Return on Investment
- Cost reduction.
- Ability to switch to open source programing languages like Java with Kafka from paid products like TIBCO with EMS(Since Tibco BW comes with EMS).