Apache Flink and Apache Spark are both open-source, distributed data processing frameworks used widely for big data processing and analytics. Spark is known for its ease of use, high-level APIs, and the ability to process large amounts of data. Flink shines in its ability to handle processing of data streams in real-time and low-latency stateful computations. Both support a variety of programming languages, scalable solutions for handling large amounts of data, and a wide range of connectors. Historically, Spark started out as a batch-first framework and Flink began as a streaming-first framework.
In this post, we share a comparative study of streaming patterns that are commonly used to build stream processing applications, how they can be solved using Spark (primarily Spark Structured Streaming) and Flink, and the minor variations in their approach. Examples cover code snippets in Python and SQL for both frameworks across three major themes: data preparation, data processing, and data enrichment. If you are a Spark user looking to solve your stream processing use cases using Flink, this post is for you. We do not intend to cover the choice of technology between Spark and Flink because it’s important to evaluate both frameworks for your specific workload and how the choice fits in your architecture; rather, this post highlights key differences for use cases that both these technologies are commonly considered for.
Read on for an analysis of the two products.