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Can Apache Kafka Replace a Database? – The 2021 Update

Can and should Apache Kafka replace a database? How long can and should I store data in Kafka? How can I query and process data in Kafka? These are common questions that come up more and more. This session explains the idea behind databases and different features like storage, queries, transactions, and processing to evaluate when Kafka is a good fit, and when it is not. The discussion includes different Kafka-native add-ons like Tiered Storage for long-term, cost-efficient storage, and ksqlDB as an event streaming database. The relation and trade-offs between Kafka and other databases are explored to complement each other instead of thinking about a replacement. This includes different options for pull and push-based bi-directional integration.


Kai Waehner

Kai Waehner works as Technology Evangelist at Confluent. Kai’s main area of expertise lies within the fields of Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning / Deep Learning, Cloud / Hybrid Architectures, Messaging, Integration, Microservices, Stream Processing, Internet of Things and Blockchain. He is a regular speaker at international conferences such as Kafka Summit, O’Reilly Software Architecture or ApacheCon, writes articles for professional journals, and shares his experiences with new technologies on his blog ( Contact and references: / @KaiWaehner / / LinkedIn (