Apache Storm vs. Spark [Comparison]

With the increasing popularity of big data, real-time data streaming platforms are also seeing increased traction. The two most popular real-time streaming platforms, Apache Storm and Apache Spark, however, can get confusing for new users.

In this blog, we have provided a comparison of Apache Storm vs. Spark considering various parameters, to help users understand the similarities and differences between both that can help them in making better-informed decisions. Before starting with the Apache Storm vs. Spark comparison, let’s get a basic understanding of each technology.

Understanding Apache Storm vs. Spark

Let’s begin with the fundamentals of Apache Storm vs. Spark.

Apache Storm

Apache Storm is an open-source, fault-tolerable stream processing system used for real-time data processing. 

Apache Spark

Apache Spark is an open-source lightning-fast general-purpose cluster computing framework.

Feature comparison of Apache Storm vs. Spark

Now let’s have a feature-by-feature comparison of Apache Storm vs. Spark to get a better understanding of both the technologies.

1. Processing Model

Storm: Apache Storm supports true stream micro-batch processing through the core Storm layer.

Spark: Spark supports batch processing, and Spark streaming is a wrapper over Spark batch processing.

3. Messaging

Storm: It uses ZeroMQ, Netty framework for messaging.

Spark: It uses Akka, Netty framework for messaging.

4. Programming language

Storm: Apache Storm supports Java, Scala, and Clojure.

Spark: Apache Spark supports lesser languages than Storm. It has support for only Java and Scala.

6. Primitives

Storm: Apache Storm provides a wide range of primitives. These primitives perform tuple level processing at intervals. With semantics, aggregation over messages is possible. For Example, Left join, right join, and inner join.

Spark: Apache Spark provides two varieties of operators. The first is the stream transformation operators. These operators transform one DStream into another. The second operator type is the output operator. The output operators write information on the external system.

Also Read: Apache Spark Tutorial For Beginners

7. Fault tolerance

Both frameworks are similar in fault-tolerance.

Storm: The supervisor process restarts automatically when a process fails. The state management is managed by Zookeeper in Apache Storm.

Spark: In Spark, if a process fails, the work is restarted through its standalone process manager or Mesos and Yarn. 

8. Latency

Storm: Storm provides low latency with fewer constraints.

Spark: Spark has higher latency as compared to Storm.

9. Throughput

Storm: Storm has a lower throughput as compared to Spark as it serves only 10k records per node per sec.

Spark: Spark, on the other hand, has a high throughput and serves 100k records per node per sec.

10. Sources

Storm: The source of stream processing in Storm is Spout.

Spark: Spark uses HDFS as the source for stream processing.

11. Provisioning

Storm: Apache Storm uses Apache Ambari for monitoring.

Spark: It supports basic monitoring using Ganglia.

12. Ease of operability

Storm: Storm can get tricky with installation and deployment. It is dependent on the Zookeeper cluster to coordinate with other clusters, store states, and statistics. 

Spark: It, itself, is the basic framework for Spark streaming. Spark clusters can be easily maintained on YARN.

13. Message level failure handling

Storm: Apache Storm supports three message processing guarantees.

  • At least once
  • At most once
  • Exactly once

Spark: Apache Spark streaming supports only one message processing handle – at least once.

13. Autoscaling

Storm: Apache Storm allows the configuration of initial parallelism at various topology levels. It also supports dynamic rebalancing.

Spark: Apache Spark community is currently developing dynamic scaling.

14. Persistence

Storm: Storm uses the MapState persistence technique.

Spark: Spark uses per RDD persistence technique.

15. Community

Storm: A large number of big corporations are running Storm, pushing the boundaries for performance and scale. 

Spark: Apache Spark streaming is a developing community and is thus limited in expertise when compared to Storm.

Must Read: Apache Storm Overview


After comparing Apache Storm vs. Spark, we can conclude that both have their own sets of pros and cons. Apache Storm is an excellent solution for real-time stream processing but can prove to be complex for developers. Similarly, Apache Spark can help with multiple processing problems, such as batch processing, stream processing, and iterative processing, but there are issues with high latency. However, both of these prove to be excellent big data streaming solutions.

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