Pulsar vs ZeroMQ

Many organizations leverage data to improve internal processes, facilitate decision-making, and delight clients and customers. Message queue tools have proved vital for the success of these operations. However, there are many distributed messaging systems out there. Choosing the right one makes a difference between failure and success. The messaging services for Pulsar vs ZeroMQ differ in a few different ways.

Today, we decided to compare two message queue tools – Pulsar and ZeroMQ- to help you make the right choice. Scroll down to review Pulsar vs ZeroMQ comparison, benefits each tool has to offer, and more.

What is Pulsar

Apache Pulsar is a distributed messaging and streaming platform. It is a cloud-native platform originally created at Yahoo. Today, it is an open-source Apache Software Foundation project. Pulsar is developed to handle data in real-time and at scale. Let’s quickly go through some of the pros Pulsar offers.

Support for complex processing logic. Thanks to Pulsar Functions, you don’t have to add additional solutions to your tech stack. They are built to enable operational simplicity and streamline troubleshooting.

Unparalleled scalability. Pulsar enables you to scale resources independently. You can scale as needed while keeping the costs minimal. Scaling doesn’t result in disruptions and doesn’t require reparations. It’s because Pulsars decouples processing, storage layers, and message serving.

Persistent message storage. Pulsar uses Apache BookKeeper, which is a distributed log system. Without going into technical specifics, BookKeeper is what enables Pulsar to guarantee message delivery for applications. In addition, Geo-replication enables you to store message data across multiple servers placed worldwide.

Improved operations, lightning-fast speed, and lower costs. Pulsar was developed as a multi-tenant system ground up. It means that several teams or departments in your organization can share a single Pulsar cluster. Instead of creating another abstraction layer, you can use access control or different namespaces to leverage Pulsar’s multi-tenant capabilities. 

What is ZeroMQ

Unlike Apache Pulsar, which is a cloud-based multi-tenant distributed messaging system, ZeroMQ is the library. More specifically, it is a lightweight messaging library. It enables developers to design advanced communication systems with ease. You can use the ZeroMQ library to extend any of the standard socket interfaces. With ZeroMQ, you will be able to add features that are only available in standard distributed messaging environments. 

In practice, ZeroMQ acts like a concurrency framework. It allows you to use sockets that carry messages. Sockets are inter-connectable, and you can use them with different patterns, including pub-sub, request-reply, task distribution, and fan-out. Here are some of the pros of using ZeroMQ.

Universal library. You can use ZeroMQ to connect your code despite the programming language you used to write it. Additionally, ZeroMQ works with any platform.

Extremely high-speed. ZeroMQ is a lightweight library. It delivers exceptional performance even when it is used in asynchronous input-output engines. 

Support for multi-transport. With ZeroMQ, you can carry messages across WebSocket, TCP, UDP, multicast, TIPC, IPC, and inproc. 

Key Considerations: Pulsar vs ZeroMQ

Right at the start, you need to know that Apache Pulsar is a fully-fledged high-performance distributed messaging and queueing system. ZeroMQ is a lightweight messaging kernel – a library you can use to extend the functionality of standard socket interfaces. 


Both Pulsar and ZeroMQ are open-source. It means that you can download either one and start using it for free. However, there are few things that you should know. To use any of these message queue tools, you will need to have a configured IT infrastructure and someone on the payroll who knows how to code and work with message queue tools.

If you don’t, you will have to invest in infrastructure and hire someone to install, configure, maintain and update your system. The other option is to outsource the entire project to a 3rd party company which can be expensive and inefficient time-wise. 


In terms of scalability, Pulsar is way ahead of ZeroMQ because it is a multi-tenant distributed messaging system capable of processing terabytes of data at scale. Don’t get us wrong, ZeroMQ has excellent capabilities too, and can be scaled up if the programmer knows how to leverage it in the app. More specifically, your developers will need to know how to design an app using inprocs sockets and patterns. It will need to be able to divide the flow of data and the processing properly. Plus, your developers will need to adjust the app’s architecture over time as the load increases.

At the same time, Pulsar does it seamlessly because it was built with scaling in mind. Pulsar advantages over ZeroMQ in terms of scalability partially come from BookKeeper. Thanks to BookKeeper, Pulsar is horizontally scalable. It means that you can scale both capacity and throughput. 

For instance, you can scale up capacity instantly by just adding more bookies to a cluster. Plus, BookKeeper enables Pulsar to use cursors to handle subscription data for consumers in a scalable fashion.

Which is Better for Future Workloads

A distributed messaging system for future workloads has to be versatile. It has to be able to collect and process both structured and unstructured data in real-time, streaming from multiple resources at a time. At the same time, it has to improve the organization’s agility by enabling it to scale up operations as data load increases. 

Many organizations are shifting a paradigm and turning to data to improve processes across the board. It simply means that future workloads will become even more demanding in terms of processing and storage. Geo-replication and multi-tenacity being native to Pulsar and not with ZeroMQ give Pulsar an advantage when handling massive workloads for thousands of users at the same time. 

As we mentioned in the Pulsar vs ZeroMQ Pricing section, the only downside is having to invest in infrastructure and experts who know how to configure and maintain Pulsar for your organization’s needs. This is where Pandio, a managed Pulsar service provider, comes in. 

Pandio can help you remain focused on your applications while handling your messaging needs with Pulsar. You can try it for free now or contact the experts at Pandio to learn how their services can benefit you. 

Leave a Reply