Asaf Yigal has a two-part series on comparing Apache Kafka and Redis for moving log events into Elasticsearch. Part 1 explains the technologies:
Redis is a bit different from Kafka in terms of its storage and various functionalities. At its core, Redis is an in-memory data store that can be used as a high-performance database, a cache, and a message broker. It is perfect for real-time data processing.
The various data structures supported by Redis are strings, hashes, lists, sets, and sorted sets. Redis also has various clients written in several languages which can be used to write custom programs for the insertion and retrieval of data. This is an advantage over Kafka since Kafka only has a Java client. The main similarity between the two is that they both provide a messaging service. But for the purpose of log aggregation, we can use Redis’ various data structures to do it more efficiently.
Kafka heavily relies on the machine memory (RAM). As we see in the previous graph, utilizing the memory and storage is an optimal way to maintain a steady throughput. Its performance depends on the data consumption rate. In the case that consumers don’t consume data fast enough, Kafka will have to read from a disk and not from memory which will slow down its performance.
As you might expect, the answer for which technology to use is “it depends.”