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Overview of batch processing vs. stream processing

Overview of batch processing vs. stream processing

In this section, we will explore the fundamental differences between batch processing and stream processing and understand their respective use cases. We’ll dive into the concepts of data ingestion, processing, and output, and how they differ in batch and stream processing scenarios.

Batch processing refers to processing a fixed set of data records together as a group, typically in a batch job. This approach is suited for scenarios where the data can be collected over a period of time and processed periodically. It is commonly used for tasks like generating reports, running analytics, and performing batch updates.

On the other hand, stream processing involves continuously processing data records in real-time as they arrive. It enables immediate analysis, decision-making, and real-time responses to events. Stream processing is suitable for use cases such as real-time monitoring, anomaly detection, fraud detection, and dynamic recommendations.

Code Sample:

To better understand the difference between batch and stream processing, consider the following code examples:

Batch Processing Example (using Apache Spark):

from pyspark.sql import SparkSession

# Initialize Spark session
spark = SparkSession.builder \
    .appName("BatchProcessingExample") \

# Read data from a batch source
batch_data = spark.read.csv("data/batch_input.csv", header=True)

# Perform transformations and aggregations
result = batch_data.groupBy("category").agg({"quantity": "sum"})

# Write the result to an output sink

Stream Processing Example (using Apache Kafka and Kafka Streams):

import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsBuilder;
import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsConfig;
import org.apache.kafka.streams.kstream.KStream;

import java.util.Properties;

public class StreamProcessingExample {

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Configure Kafka Streams application
        Properties config = new Properties();
        config.put(StreamsConfig.APPLICATION_ID_CONFIG, "StreamProcessingExample");
        config.put(StreamsConfig.BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS_CONFIG, "localhost:9092");

        StreamsBuilder builder = new StreamsBuilder();

        // Read data from a Kafka topic
        KStream<String, String> stream = builder.stream("input_topic");

        // Perform stream processing operations
        KStream<String, Integer> transformedStream = stream
                .mapValues(value -> Integer.parseInt(value))
                .filter((key, value) -> value > 0)
                .groupBy((key, value) -> key)

        // Write the result to another Kafka topic

        // Build and start the Kafka Streams application
        KafkaStreams streams = new KafkaStreams(builder.build(), config);

Reference Links:

  • Apache Kafka documentation on batch processing: link
  • Apache Kafka documentation on stream processing: link

Helpful Video:

  • “Batch Processing vs. Stream Processing” by Confluent: link

Note: The code samples provided here are just simplified examples for illustration purposes. In real-world scenarios, additional configurations, error handling, and optimizations may be required based on the specific use case and technology stack used.


In this module, we explored the key differences between batch processing and stream processing. Batch processing involves processing data in larger chunks at regular intervals, making it suitable for scenarios where immediate processing is not required. On the other hand, stream processing enables real-time analysis, decision-making, and immediate responses to events as data arrives. It is ideal for use cases that require low latency, continuous processing, and real-time insights.

Through the provided code examples, we learned how to perform batch processing using Apache Spark and stream processing using Apache Kafka and Kafka Streams. These examples showcased the different approaches and techniques employed in each processing paradigm.

Understanding the distinctions between batch processing and stream processing is crucial for selecting the right approach for specific use cases. By leveraging the appropriate processing paradigm, you can unlock the potential for real-time data analysis, actionable insights, and dynamic decision-making in your applications.

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Ozzie Feliciano CTO @ Felpfe Inc.

Ozzie Feliciano is a highly experienced technologist with a remarkable twenty-three years of expertise in the technology industry.

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