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Consul vs Zookeeper: What are the differences?

Consul and Zookeeper are two popular distributed systems for service discovery and configuration management. Let's explore the key differences between them.

  1. Consistency Model: Consul uses a strongly consistent model, ensuring that clients always see the latest published values. On the other hand, Zookeeper follows a weakly consistent model and may have a lag in propagating updates to clients, leading to potential data inconsistencies.

  2. Ease of Deployment: Consul is designed to be easy to deploy and configure, with a simple binary installation and minimal dependencies. Zookeeper, on the other hand, requires Java to be installed and requires more complex configurations, making it potentially more challenging to set up.

  3. Service Mesh Integration: Consul provides built-in support for service mesh features, such as service routing, traffic splitting, and observability. Zookeeper does not have native support for service mesh integration, requiring additional tools or custom development to achieve similar functionality.

  4. Health Checking: Consul includes a built-in health checking mechanism that allows services to be monitored for their availability. Zookeeper, on the other hand, does not offer native health checking capabilities, requiring external tools or custom implementations.

  5. Consul Template: Consul provides a built-in templating engine called Consul Template, which allows for dynamic configuration updates based on the latest service discovery information. Zookeeper does not have an equivalent feature, requiring external tools or custom scripting to achieve a similar result.

  6. User Interface: Consul includes a web-based user interface that provides a visual representation of service discovery and management. Zookeeper does not have a dedicated user interface, necessitating the use of command-line tools or third-party applications for administration.

In summary, while Consul offers a modern, feature-rich solution with support for service mesh and health checking, Zookeeper is a battle-tested system known for its stability and strong consistency guarantees in large-scale distributed environments.

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Pros of Consul
Pros of Zookeeper
  • 61
    Great service discovery infrastructure
  • 35
    Health checking
  • 29
    Distributed key-value store
  • 26
  • 23
  • 12
  • 10
    Token-based acls
  • 6
    Gossip clustering
  • 5
    Dns server
  • 4
    Not Java
  • 1
    Docker integration
  • 1
  • 11
    High performance ,easy to generate node specific config
  • 8
  • 8
    Kafka support
  • 5
    Spring Boot Support
  • 3
    Supports extensive distributed IPC
  • 2
  • 2
    Used in ClickHouse
  • 2
    Supports DC/OS
  • 1
    Used in Hadoop
  • 1
    Embeddable In Java Service

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What is Consul?

Consul is a tool for service discovery and configuration. Consul is distributed, highly available, and extremely scalable.

What is Zookeeper?

A centralized service for maintaining configuration information, naming, providing distributed synchronization, and providing group services. All of these kinds of services are used in some form or another by distributed applications.

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What companies use Consul?
What companies use Zookeeper?
See which teams inside your own company are using Consul or Zookeeper.
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Blog Posts

Amazon S3KafkaZookeeper+5
May 6 2020 at 6:34AM


What are some alternatives to Consul and Zookeeper?
etcd is a distributed key value store that provides a reliable way to store data across a cluster of machines. It’s open-source and available on GitHub. etcd gracefully handles master elections during network partitions and will tolerate machine failure, including the master.
SkyDNS is a distributed service for announcement and discovery of services. It leverages Raft for high-availability and consensus, and utilizes DNS queries to discover available services. This is done by leveraging SRV records in DNS, with special meaning given to subdomains, priorities and weights (more info here:
Map services to arbitrary URLs in a single, declarative YAML file. Configure routes with CORS support, circuit breakers, timeouts, and more. Replace your Kubernetes ingress controller. Route gRPC, WebSockets, or HTTP.
Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.
Redis is an open source (BSD licensed), in-memory data structure store, used as a database, cache, and message broker. Redis provides data structures such as strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets with range queries, bitmaps, hyperloglogs, geospatial indexes, and streams.
See all alternatives