Subscribe to the feed

In application development, you need efficient and reliable data streaming tools. Developers want seamless data flow, real-time processing, and scalability in their applications. The most flexible and powerful solutions to this are Apache Kafka and Red Hat’s kubernetes-native data streaming tool, streams for Apache Kafka (formerly known as AMQ streams). These technologies are related, but distinct, and in this article I'm going to explain what each one can bring to your development toolchain.

Why do developers rely on streaming tools?

Tools like streams for Apache Kafka help developers meet the demands of real-time data processing, event-driven architectures, and AI-driven applications. Insights gained from data streams can be used to deliver personalization for outstanding user experiences, to real-time payment processing, and even to detect fraud and manage the outbreak of a disease. When used in event-driven architecture, the flow of information enables systems to react quickly to changing conditions.

For a developer using artificial intelligence (AI), data streaming is a conduit for feeding AI models with a continuous stream of data, supporting iterative learning and adaptability essential for AI-readiness. A tool like streams for Apache Kafka provides infrastructure for building resilient and scalable systems through fault tolerance, message replayability, and efficient data storage. Developers are able to construct robust architectures that can seamlessly scale to meet the demands of data-intensive applications.

Foundation of Red Hat’s streaming capabilities: Leveraging Apache Kafka for distributed streaming excellence

Red Hat often engages with, and contributes to, various open source projects. In the case of streams for Apache Kafka, Red Hat leverages the open source Apache Kafka and Strimzi projects to provide a robust and enterprise-ready distributed streaming platform. Apache Kafka forms the foundation of streams for Apache Kafka, which allows Red Hat to offer a more reliable and scalable solution for distributed messaging and data streaming.

Strimzi is the open source project for the streams for Apache Kafka operator, and provides a way to run an Apache Kafka cluster on Red Hat OpenShift in various deployment configurations.

What is Apache Kafka?

Apache Kafka is a popular open source distributed streaming platform known for its durability, fault tolerance, and high throughput. Developers leverage Kafka to build real-time data pipelines, process streams of records, and seamlessly integrate various components within their applications.

How do developers use Kafka?

Kafka's architecture revolves around topics, producers, and consumers. Developers utilize Kafka to publish and subscribe to topics, enabling the transfer of data in real-time. The result is increased productivity and the ability to create scalable and responsive applications.

What is streams for Apache Kafka?

Streams for Apache Kafka is  Red Hat’s Kubernetes-native distribution of Apache Kafka. It is designed to facilitate the deployment, management, and scaling of Kafka clusters within OpenShift environments, aligning with Red Hat's focus on containerized applications.

How do developers use streams for Apache Kafka?

Streams for Apache Kafka provides developers with the familiarity of Kafka while integrating with Red Hat OpenShift. This Kubernetes-centric approach simplifies deployment and management, helping developers to focus on building applications without grappling with the complexities of infrastructure.

What are the key advantages of using streams for Apache Kafka?

While both Kafka and RedHat streams for Apache Kafka share common roots, there are a few areas where streams for Apache Kafka can give your application development a boost.

Strimzi for Kubernetes integration

In terms of Kubernetes integration, there are notable distinctions between Kafka and t streams for Apache Kafka. While Kafka depends on external tools for seamless integration with Kubernetes, streams for Apache Kafka takes a purpose-built approach for running in containerized environments. Designed specifically for OpenShift, streams for Apache Kafka leverages Strimzi operators to streamline the deployment and management processes within containerized environments.  Streams for Apache Kafka incorporates operators for Kafka topics, users, and brokers, contributing to a more efficient and user-friendly deployment on OpenShift. This compatibility with Kubernetes makes streams for Apache Kafka and the Strimzi operator a well-suited solution for any organization seeking an optimized and streamlined experience in its containerized environments.

Ecosystem and support

When considering the ecosystem and support surrounding messaging platforms, there's another difference between Apache Kafka and streams for Apache Kafka. Kafka has an extensive and mature ecosystem, backed by a broad community base that has contributed to its widespread adoption. On the other hand, streams for Apache Kafka offers additional support and integration within the Red Hat ecosystem. This strategic alignment enhances compatibility with key Red Hat technologies, including the popular OpenShift platform. Added integration within the Red Hat ecosystem positions streams for Apache Kafka as not only a powerful messaging solution, but also a tightly integrated component for organizations utilizing Red Hat technologies. This nuanced approach to ecosystem and support emphasizes the adaptability and versatility of streams for Apache Kafka for a diverse range of enterprise needs.

Operational simplicity

Kafka demands additional configurations and tools for the deployment and management of its clusters on Kubernetes, introducing complexities that developers need to navigate.

In contrast, Red Hat’s streams for Apache Kafka takes a user-centric approach by simplifying the operational aspects within the Kubernetes environment. This results in a more straightforward and intuitive experience for developers, enabling them to focus on their applications without grappling with intricate configurations.


Both Apache Kafka and Red Hat’s kubernetes-native distribution, streams for Apache Kafka, offer robust solutions for developers. While streams for Apache Kafka is based on the Apache Kafka upstream project, the choice between the two depends on factors like OpenShift integration, ecosystem preferences, and operational simplicity. Understanding these distinctions empower you to make informed decisions, ensuring that your applications not only meet but exceed expectations in a world of real-time data processing. Red Hat is here to help you enable your applications to flow seamlessly into the world of real-time innovation.

About the author

Greg Pack focuses on the Red Hat Application Foundation portfolio of integration and middleware capabilites and frameworks, and is passionate about open source.

Read full bio

Browse by channel

automation icon


The latest on IT automation for tech, teams, and environments

AI icon

Artificial intelligence

Updates on the platforms that free customers to run AI workloads anywhere

open hybrid cloud icon

Open hybrid cloud

Explore how we build a more flexible future with hybrid cloud

security icon


The latest on how we reduce risks across environments and technologies

edge icon

Edge computing

Updates on the platforms that simplify operations at the edge

Infrastructure icon


The latest on the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform

application development icon


Inside our solutions to the toughest application challenges

Original series icon

Original shows

Entertaining stories from the makers and leaders in enterprise tech