Why should I use Amazon Kinesis and not SNS-SQS?

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Top 5 Answer for Why should I use Amazon Kinesis and not SNS-SQS?

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Keep in mind this answer was correct for Jun 2015

After studying the issue for a while, having the same question in mind, I found that SQS (with SNS) is preferred for most use cases unless the order of the messages is important to you (SQS doesn't guarantee FIFO on messages).

There are 2 main advantages for Kinesis:

  1. you can read the same message from several applications
  2. you can re-read messages in case you need to.

Both advantages can be achieved by using SNS as a fan out to SQS. That means that the producer of the message sends only one message to SNS, Then the SNS fans-out the message to multiple SQSs, one for each consumer application. In this way you can have as many consumers as you want without thinking about sharding capacity.

Moreover, we added one more SQS that is subscribed to the SNS that will hold messages for 14 days. In normal case no one reads from this SQS but in case of a bug that makes us want to rewind the data we can easily read all the messages from this SQS and re-send them to the SNS. While Kinesis only provides a 7 days retention.

In conclusion, SNS+SQSs is much easier and provides most capabilities. IMO you need a really strong case to choose Kinesis over it.

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On the surface they are vaguely similar, but your use case will determine which tool is appropriate. IMO, if you can get by with SQS then you should - if it will do what you want, it will be simpler and cheaper, but here is a better explanation from the AWS FAQ which gives examples of appropriate use-cases for both tools to help you decide:


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Kinesis support multiple consumers capabilities that means same data records can be processed at a same time or different time within 24 hrs at different consumers, similar behavior in SQS can be achieved by writing into multiple queues and consumers can read from multiple queues. However writing again into multiple queue will add sub seconds {few milliseconds} latency in system.

Second, Kinesis provides routing capability to selective route data records to different shards using partition key which can be processed by particular EC2 instances and can enable micro batch calculation {Counting & aggregation}.

Working on any AWS software is easy but with SQS is easiest one. With Kinesis, there is a need to provision enough shards ahead of time, dynamically increasing number of shards to manage spike load and decrease to save cost also required to manage. it's pain in Kinesis, No such things are required with SQS. SQS is infinitely scalable.

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Semantics of these technologies are different because they were designed to support different scenarios:

  • SNS/SQS: the items in the stream are not related to each other
  • Kinesis: the items in the stream are related to each other

Let's understand the difference by example.

  1. Suppose we have a stream of orders, for each order we need to reserve some stock and schedule a delivery. Once this is complete, we can safely remove the item from the stream and start processing the next order. We are fully done with the previous order before we start the next one.
  2. Again, we have the same stream of orders, but now our goal is to group orders by destinations. Once we have, say, 10 orders to the same place, we want to deliver them together (delivery optimization). Now the story is different: when we get a new item from the stream, we cannot finish processing it; rather we "wait" for more items to come in order to meet our goal. Moreover, if the processor process crashes, we must "restore" the state (so no order will be lost).

Once processing of one item cannot be separated from processing another one, we must have Kinesis semantics in order to handle all the cases safely.

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The biggest advantage for me is the fact that Kinesis is a replayable queue, and SQS is not. So you can have multiple consumers of the same messages of Kinesis (or the same consumer at different times) where with SQS, once a message has been ack'd, it's gone from that queue. SQS is better for worker queues because of that.

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