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Serverless vs Apache Spark: What are the differences?

Serverless: The most widely-adopted toolkit for building serverless applications. Build applications comprised of microservices that run in response to events, auto-scale for you, and only charge you when they run. This lowers the total cost of maintaining your apps, enabling you to build more logic, faster. The Framework uses new event-driven compute services, like AWS Lambda, Google CloudFunctions, and more; Apache Spark: Fast and general engine for large-scale data processing. Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like streaming, interactive queries, and machine learning.

Serverless can be classified as a tool in the "Serverless / Task Processing" category, while Apache Spark is grouped under "Big Data Tools".

"API integration " is the primary reason why developers consider Serverless over the competitors, whereas "Open-source" was stated as the key factor in picking Apache Spark.

Serverless and Apache Spark are both open source tools. Serverless with 30.5K GitHub stars and 3.38K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Apache Spark with 22.3K GitHub stars and 19.3K GitHub forks.

Slack, Shopify, and SendGrid are some of the popular companies that use Apache Spark, whereas Serverless is used by Droplr, Plista GmbH, and Hammerhead. Apache Spark has a broader approval, being mentioned in 263 company stacks & 111 developers stacks; compared to Serverless, which is listed in 112 company stacks and 43 developer stacks.

Advice on Serverless and Apache Spark
Nilesh Akhade
Technical Architect at Self Employed · | 5 upvotes · 335.7K views

We have a Kafka topic having events of type A and type B. We need to perform an inner join on both type of events using some common field (primary-key). The joined events to be inserted in Elasticsearch.

In usual cases, type A and type B events (with same key) observed to be close upto 15 minutes. But in some cases they may be far from each other, lets say 6 hours. Sometimes event of either of the types never come.

In all cases, we should be able to find joined events instantly after they are joined and not-joined events within 15 minutes.

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Replies (2)
Recommends
ElasticsearchElasticsearch

The first solution that came to me is to use upsert to update ElasticSearch:

  1. Use the primary-key as ES document id
  2. Upsert the records to ES as soon as you receive them. As you are using upsert, the 2nd record of the same primary-key will not overwrite the 1st one, but will be merged with it.

Cons: The load on ES will be higher, due to upsert.

To use Flink:

  1. Create a KeyedDataStream by the primary-key
  2. In the ProcessFunction, save the first record in a State. At the same time, create a Timer for 15 minutes in the future
  3. When the 2nd record comes, read the 1st record from the State, merge those two, and send out the result, and clear the State and the Timer if it has not fired
  4. When the Timer fires, read the 1st record from the State and send out as the output record.
  5. Have a 2nd Timer of 6 hours (or more) if you are not using Windowing to clean up the State

Pro: if you have already having Flink ingesting this stream. Otherwise, I would just go with the 1st solution.

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Akshaya Rawat
Senior Specialist Platform at Publicis Sapient · | 3 upvotes · 212.4K views
Recommends
Apache SparkApache Spark

Please refer "Structured Streaming" feature of Spark. Refer "Stream - Stream Join" at https://spark.apache.org/docs/latest/structured-streaming-programming-guide.html#stream-stream-joins . In short you need to specify "Define watermark delays on both inputs" and "Define a constraint on time across the two inputs"

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Decisions about Serverless and Apache Spark

When adding a new feature to Checkly rearchitecting some older piece, I tend to pick Heroku for rolling it out. But not always, because sometimes I pick AWS Lambda . The short story:

  • Developer Experience trumps everything.
  • AWS Lambda is cheap. Up to a limit though. This impact not only your wallet.
  • If you need geographic spread, AWS is lonely at the top.
The setup

Recently, I was doing a brainstorm at a startup here in Berlin on the future of their infrastructure. They were ready to move on from their initial, almost 100% Ec2 + Chef based setup. Everything was on the table. But we crossed out a lot quite quickly:

  • Pure, uncut, self hosted Kubernetes — way too much complexity
  • Managed Kubernetes in various flavors — still too much complexity
  • Zeit — Maybe, but no Docker support
  • Elastic Beanstalk — Maybe, bit old but does the job
  • Heroku
  • Lambda

It became clear a mix of PaaS and FaaS was the way to go. What a surprise! That is exactly what I use for Checkly! But when do you pick which model?

I chopped that question up into the following categories:

  • Developer Experience / DX 🤓
  • Ops Experience / OX 🐂 (?)
  • Cost 💵
  • Lock in 🔐

Read the full post linked below for all details

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Pros of Serverless
Pros of Apache Spark
  • 12
    API integration
  • 7
    Supports cloud functions for Google, Azure, and IBM
  • 2
    Lower cost
  • 1
    Openwhisk
  • 1
    Auto scale
  • 59
    Open-source
  • 48
    Fast and Flexible
  • 8
    One platform for every big data problem
  • 7
    Great for distributed SQL like applications
  • 6
    Easy to install and to use
  • 3
    Works well for most Datascience usecases
  • 2
    Interactive Query
  • 2
    In memory Computation
  • 2
    Machine learning libratimery, Streaming in real

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Cons of Serverless
Cons of Apache Spark
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 3
      Speed

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Serverless?

    Build applications comprised of microservices that run in response to events, auto-scale for you, and only charge you when they run. This lowers the total cost of maintaining your apps, enabling you to build more logic, faster. The Framework uses new event-driven compute services, like AWS Lambda, Google CloudFunctions, and more.

    What is Apache Spark?

    Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like streaming, interactive queries, and machine learning.

    Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

    What companies use Serverless?
    What companies use Apache Spark?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Serverless or Apache Spark.
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    What tools integrate with Serverless?
    What tools integrate with Apache Spark?

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    Blog Posts

    Mar 24 2021 at 12:57PM

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    What are some alternatives to Serverless and Apache Spark?
    AWS Lambda
    AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you. You can use AWS Lambda to extend other AWS services with custom logic, or create your own back-end services that operate at AWS scale, performance, and security.
    Terraform
    With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.
    Zappa
    Zappa makes it super easy to deploy all Python WSGI applications on AWS Lambda + API Gateway. Think of it as "serverless" web hosting for your Python web apps. That means infinite scaling, zero downtime, zero maintenance - and at a fraction of the cost of your current deployments!
    Kubernetes
    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.
    Azure Functions
    Azure Functions is an event driven, compute-on-demand experience that extends the existing Azure application platform with capabilities to implement code triggered by events occurring in virtually any Azure or 3rd party service as well as on-premises systems.
    See all alternatives