Rightly or wrongly, Kafka is viewed as a “heavy-duty” component, one where you have to ask, “Do we really really need it?” and wait until you have several use cases to justify adoption. Until then people often abuse other systems or try to get by as best they can without first-class support for events in their infrastructure. This is unfortunate, and we want to change it! A log of events is a fundamentally better abstraction and the ecosystem around Kafka is phenomenal. Limiting this to only large-scale users and big tech companies does a disservice to the small apps and use cases that are often some of the best uses of the technology.
We’re changing that. We offer three types of clusters, optimized for the type of use case. Our Basic cluster type allows you to just pay for the amount of Kafka you use with no cost at all for allocating an unused cluster. This scales down to zero cost and scales up very gradually. You can literally use a few dollars a month of Kafka with no additional operational overhead. This makes Kafka a very lightweight option, at very low cost, for even the smallest of use cases. This offering is also ideal for development and test environments, even for those using Dedicated clusters for their production environments.
This does seem to help out in cases where I’d otherwise suggest Kinesis or Event Hubs (or one of the five dozen other Azure products around brokering messages) due to the relative lack of volume.