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Confluent Cloud vs. Amazon MSK

Confluent Cloud is the industry's only fully managed, cloud-native Apache Kafka®️ service. Built from the ground up for the cloud instead of simply installing Kafka on cloud infrastructure, Confluent Cloud gives you a true, fully managed experience with zero ops burden on the cloud platform of your choice.

Types of Managed Kafka as a Service

Cloud Native

  • Built for the cloud with an architecture that provides elastic compute and infinite storage.
  • Automation built-in throughout Kafka journey to reduce operational overhead.
  • Deployment flexibility with consistent experience across clouds and self-managed on-prem option.
  • Pay only for what you actually use vs. provisioned infrastructure.

Cloud Hosted

  • Installed software on provisioned cloud infrastructure with traditional broker architecture
  • Manual operations with provider or open-source tools required beyond provisioning
  • Deployment limited to single cloud provider and/or lacks option to self-manage on-prem
  • Pay for infrastructure as soon as it is provisioned regardless of usage

Cloud Native vs. Cloud Hosted Kafka Journey

Confluent Cloud

Automated operations enable efficent growth

Amazon MSK

Operation burden rapidly increases beyond deployment


Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Eliminate cumbersome performance testing and capacity planning with cluster sizing based on your streaming requirements.Allocate time and technical resources to run multiple performance tests to pick broker types and broker count.
Reduce infrastructure costs with elastically scalable, scale-to-zero pricing clusters where you only pay for usage versus provisioned infrastructure.Always pay for provisioned infrastructure, both compute and storage, for every cluster, even for those that may have low throughput during development.


Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Self serve, on demandBroker-based
Provision Kafka clusters along with any other Confluent Cloud component including Schema Registry, Connect & ksqlDB.Provision Kafka clusters.


Infrastructure Monitoring
Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Confluent proactive monitoringManual monitoring
Stay focused on app development with proactive cluster monitoring and maintenance from the Kafka experts.Assign resources to monitor broker metrics such as CPU utilization to proactively manage cluster performance
Infinite Storage enables unlimited cluster-level storage use cases while reducing risk of disk space-related failures.Monitor and create alerts for disk space to prevent failures due to storage capacity.
Topic Monitoring
Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Pre-aggregated and free metricsPer topic per broker metrics cost extra
Gain the most valuable insights about your applications at no additional cost with access to key metrics aggregated at the topic and cluster level with Data flow.Pay to consume and then manually aggregate per-broker and per-topic-per-broker level metrics to monitor topic and cluster level usage.
Consume aggregated metrics with your third party monitoring service of choice using Metrics API.Maintain metric processing and aggregation logic to accurately show data after scaling events when partitions are rebalanced across different brokers.
Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Always on latest versionLimited version support
Zero intervention as part of rolling upgrades to latest stable Kafka version that includes strategic patches ahead of scheduled Apache releasesManually trigger upgrades, usually limited to X.X.1 versions, once AWS adds support for it after a scheduled Apache release
High availability guaranteed with non-disruptive upgrades.User responsible for cluster availability based on ability to implement Amazon MSK best practices.
Vulnerability Patches
Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Proactive fixesNot Available
Stream confidently and reliably with Kafka experts that proactively address known bugs and vulnerabilities to resolve even the most complicated Kafka issues.Failures due to software excluded from uptime SLAs. Cluster migration to an older Kafka version potentially the best solution until a newer version is supported.


Cluster expansions
Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Elastic scalabilityAdd brokers without data balancing
Automatic resource allocation to your cluster to manage consumer lag as throughput scales up or down with self balancing clusters.Manual data rebalancing process required using Cruise Control after brokers are added to any cluster.
Eliminate cluster compute over-provisioning when increasing topic retention with Infinite Storage feature.Storage per broker limitations force users to either overpay for compute or force exporting data out of Kafka for long data retention use cases.
Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Pre-Built and fully managedSelf develop & manage
Accelerate integration to modern and legacy services across on-premises and public clouds with a continuously growing portfolio of 130+ Confluent connectors.Slow down delivery timelines with non-repeatable integrations to data services.
Reduce operational burden of provisioning, managing and supporting additional infrastructure to run connectors.Increase operational effort even when using community-built connectors by having to self manage infrastructure without AWS technical support.
Non-Java clients
Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Confluent supportedSelf supported
Enable developer velocity and make Kafka widely accessible to applications and services with a wide variety of battle-tested clients for C, Java, .Net, Go, Python and more.Leverage self built or community built clients without any technical support from AWS.


Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Committer-driven expertiseGeneral AWS Support
Expert 24x7 support engineers have solved tens of thousands of Kafka-related issues that become commits to the open source project.Limited experience supporting and maintaining Kafka and its ecosystem.
Accelerate time to market even further with expert guidance from the Professional Services team.

Future Proof

Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Freedom of ChoiceAWS only
Consistent cloud native experience across AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.Only available on AWS limiting hybrid cloud and multi-cloud use cases.
Extend consistent data architecture to on-premises or private cloud environments with Confluent Platform, our self-managed software.
Confluent CloudAmazon MSK
Maintain application compatibility with fully managed Confluent Schema Registry.Apache Kafka clusters only.
Develop real-time ETL pipelines with a lightweight SQL syntax with fully managed ksqlDB.
Instantly integrate your Kafka clusters to the most popular data sources and sinks with fully managed Connectors.

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