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Orchestration Made Easy with Zeebe and Kafka


Orchestration with Zeebe and Kafka as a workflow engine was approached to encounter the challenges faced by microservices. In other words, shifting from monolith to microservices was a bold move. But it also brought issues of complexity and lack of visibility. Therefore, these orchestration tools formed a layer to monitor and manage long-running business processes that span multiple microservices.

While businesses were already using Microservice Choreography to handle the interaction between microservices, complexity and visibility issues persisted.

This diagram shows  how Choreography had been the exact opposite of what you expect:

Choreography Expectations vs Reality.png

As a result, microservice orchestration with Zeebe and Kafka evolved that is loosely coupled, autonomous, ensure visibility (unlike choreography), and supports continuous progress. At present, the approach is being widely used to handle the interaction between microservices.

let us discuss in detail about these orchestration tools:

Orchestration with Zeebe and Kafka

What is Apache Kafka?

Apache Kafka is an open-source stream-processing software platform created by LinkedIn in 2011 to handle throughput, low latency transmission, and processing of the stream of records in real-time.

It has the following three significant capabilities, which makes it ideal for users:

1. Publishing and subscribing to the stream of records.

2. Storing streams of record in a fault-tolerant way.

3. Processing stream of records as they occur.

Why is it critical for your company?

1. Acts as the backbone of your business

Apache Kafka works in multi-step intermediator. It receives data from the source system and makes it available to target systems in real-time. Your systems won’t crash as Kafka has its set of servers (Apache Kafka cluster).

2. Enables easy integrations

As all your data streams through Apache Kafka, there is no need to add multiple integrations. Instead, you only have to create one integration for each producing system and each consuming system.

3. Low latency and high throughput

By decoupling your data-streams, Apache Kafka lets you consume data when you want it. It can scale to hundreds of servers within a cluster to manage big data.

Big companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Twitter are using Kafka for integrating their diverse kinds of data, for example, page searches, shopping cart, likes, all go into the predictive analytics engine to analyze customer behavior.

What is Zeebe?

Zeebe is an open-source, free workflow engine for defining, orchestrating, and monitoring business processes across microservices. Businesses use this tool for orchestrating microservices and ensuring robust end-to-end workflow. It is most suitable in environments where high-performing apps demand scalability or where we must support workflows that span across multiple microservices. The tool operates in event-driven architecture.

How it helps your business grow?

1. Provides end-to-end workflow visibility

Zeebe works alongside other components in the event-driven architecture. It does not require to replace or remove any services to ensure visibility.

2. Orchestrates microservices

Zeebe also publishes commands as events which can be consumed by one or more microservices.

3. Monitors timeouts

By continuously retrying to resolve the issue, Zeebe ensures that the workflow is complete and without errors.

Moreover, Zeebe as an orchestration provides:

  • Horizontal scalability: Zeebe uses partitioning to provide horizontal scalability, which is critical to handle a large volume of workflow instances in microservice orchestration.
  • Fault tolerance: Zeebe is highly fault-tolerant, which means it can easily recover from machine or software failure with no data loss and minimal downtime.
  • Language-agnostic model: You can build Zeebe in just about any programming language that an organization uses for building microservices.
  • Message-driven: Zeebe clients can communicate via publish-subscribe, making it possible to adhere to the principles of loose coupling and to enable asynchronous communication between Zeebe and microservices.
  • Visual workflows modeled in ISO-standard BPMN 2.0: Technical and non-technical stakeholders can collaborate on workflow design in a common language.
  • Ensures easy auditing: Zeebe exporters makes it easy to stream workflow event data into the storage system so that the data is available for an indefinite time. It is also essential for reporting, visibility, and regulatory purposes.

How integrating Zeebe and Apache Kafka together can help?

Zeebe connects with Kafka for coordinating workflows that span across many microservices, thus offering end-to-end visibility and not breaking the rule of loose coupling. In the Kafka architecture, Zeebe can quickly produce events or commands and subscribe to those events which will be correlated with the workflow. All the way, Zeebe would monitor and keep track of progress and the status of the workflow. Moreover, Zeebe works as a distributed, event-driven, event-sourced system, making it horizontally scalable and fault-tolerant and able to handle the flow rate which is required to work in tandem with Kafka in the microservice architecture.

So, if you want to have a powerful app like Netflix, Twitter, and LinkedIn that can stream a large amount of data – Softobiz can helpWe have been using the integration of Zeebe and Kafka to launch revolutionary products that are futuristic, scalable, and capable of meeting the market demand. 

Want to know more about Zeebe and Kafka? Talk to our experts


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