Apache Spark vs Flink – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

Apache Spark vs Flink – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). Most thriving companies in the modern economy are in some way connected to the technological sector and conducted entirely online. The actions of its users produce a flood of data every moment, which must be analysed quickly and turned into useful information just as quickly. The demand for data processing techniques like streaming and automation systems has arisen in response to these innovations.

In turn,  this allows for a wide range of options for dealing with extensive data in terms of storage, acquisition, analysis, and processing. By scanning continuous data feeds or agglomerations, conditions may be discovered rapidly as soon as information is received. The open source projects Apache Flink and Apache Spark were designed to do just that.

But, as readers are keen on comparing Flink with Spark, this post details the differences between the two.

So, shall we start with Apache Spark vs Flink – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons).

What is Apache Spark?

Apache Spark is an open source, unified analytics engine devised to process immense amounts of data in real time. It is deployed in a stand alone mode or on top of many other distributed computing frameworks.

In addition, it provides high level APIs for Java, Python, Scala, and R and a rich history of libraries predicated on streaming data engineering and machine learning. The data is stored in RAM or disk and then processed further. Hence, the processing is swift and is scaled up to use more cluster nodes.

The best part about Apache Spark is that it is compatible with almost every other distributed computing framework, making it a great choice for companies with a strong infrastructure.

Features of Apache Spark

Image Source: OpenLogic

  • Data Science at Scale

With Spark, it allows organizations to perform data science at scale by running analytics jobs quickly and efficiently on large datasets, which generally take a long time to process.

  • Machine Learning Library

Spark has an extensive library of machine learning algorithms, making it easy for developers to build and implement machine learning models.

  • SQL Analytics

Allows developers to use SQL queries to process and analyze data, making it easier for them to understand and visualize results. This helps them to make better decisions and develop more efficient applications.

  • Batch/Streaming Data

The Spark framework supports batch and streaming data processing, allowing developers to handle large volumes of data without sacrificing performance.

  • Scalable

Moreover Spark is highly scalable, allowing organizations to add more processing power and storage capacity, if necessary and quickly. This makes it an ideal platform for growing companies.

  • Multi-language Support

Tool supports Java, Python, Scala, and R programming languages, allowing developers to quickly build applications without learning a new language. The support for multiple languages makes integrating Spark with existing applications easier.

Pros of Apache Spark

  • Highly efficient in memory processing, allowing for faster processing times.
  • Compatible with almost every other distributed computing framework.
  • Extensive library of Java, Python, Scala, and R APIs.
  • In built libraries for streaming data engineering and machine learning.
  • A rich history of libraries based on streaming data engineering and machine learning.

Cons of Apache Spark

  • Difficult to debug as it is based on a complex architecture.
  • Inadequate support for real time streaming data processing.
  • High levels of memory consumption leads to increased operational costs.
  • Limited scalability and lack of integration with other systems.

What is Apache Flink?

Image source: NSFOCUS

Apache Flink is a distributed and fault tolerant streaming data processing platform. Designed to process data, enabling users to analyse and act on data as it is generated.

In essence, it allows for low latency, high throughput processing of data streams, which is inherently distributed and nimble for various applications ranging from real time analytics, stream processing, machine learning, and predictive modelling.

The architecture of Flink operates on a distributed system with nodes and tasks. Basically, it allows for using multiple computing resources in parallel, allowing for much higher throughput than Spark’s single threaded model.

Besides, it also uses data partitioning and task scheduling techniques, ensuring that tasks are efficiently split across machines and optimizing the performance and scalability of the system.

Features of Apache Flink

Image Source: Cloudera

  • Fault Tolerance

You might be wondering what fault tolerance actually means. Moreover, Flink is designed to be fault tolerant, meaning that it detects and recovers from errors or failures automatically. This makes it easier for you to run applications in production and reduce the risk of downtime.

  • Event-time Processing Semantics

Certainly, Flink supports flexible and sophisticated event time processing semantics, which makes it easier to analyse data in real time by leveraging the time associated with each event or record. This allows you to detect patterns in the data, predict future trends and act accordingly.

  • Effective State Management

Although Flink is a distributed system, its state management features make it easy to manage the data across nodes and tasks. This ensures the system remains consistent and reliable, even when running complex applications.

  • High-Level APIs

Concurrently, Flink provides high level APIs to quickly develop applications in popular programming languages such as Java, Python, and Scala. This makes it simpler for developers to build applications with minimal effort quickly.

  • Stream Processing

Developers and data scientists can use Flink to process event streams in real time and detect patterns in the data.

  • Data Partitioning

Flink’s data partitioning technique allows for automating the parallelization of tasks and provides better performance than manual partitioning. If you need to process large data sets, this is an important feature to consider.

  • Machine Learning

Flink also supports machine learning algorithms, enabling developers to quickly and efficiently train models on large datasets. This allows them to make better decisions and develop more accurate predictions. For example,  Flink is used for predictive analytics and anomaly detection.

Pros of Apache Flink

  • Highly efficient distributed streaming data processing platform.
  • Low latency, high throughput processing of data streams.
  • Allows for multiple computing resources to be used in parallel.
  • Uses data partitioning and task scheduling techniques to optimize performance.
  • Lower operational costs compared to other streaming data processing frameworks.

Cons of Apache Flink

  • Can be challenging to integrate with other systems due to their distributed nature.
  • Supports only limited types of streaming data sources.
  • Limited long term storage capabilities.

Apache Spark vs Flink - Differences



On one hand, Apache Spark requires hand optimized task scheduling, which requires much manual labor and many parameters. It also uses data partitioning and task scheduling techniques, but it needs the ability to automatically prioritize tasks and determine which task should be executed when.


On the other, Apache Flink’s automatic optimization process is more efficient than Spark’s as it automatically prioritizes tasks and allocates resources. Also supports a wide range of data formats, such as JSON, CSV, and Avro, making handling large volumes of data easier.



Here, with Apache Spark, it is an excellent option for those looking for a cost effective solution. Open source, so companies do not need to pay license fees. However, the development costs may be higher as there is an additional burden of manual optimization and scalability.


But, Apache Flink requires a more substantial investment in development costs due to its comprehensive nature. However, the overall cost of ownership is lower because of its automated optimization and scalability features.

Streaming Engine


The streaming engine in Apache Spark is less robust than Apache Flink. It lacks event time processing, complex data types, and stateful computing capabilities. However, Spark Streaming is a great tool for those who are looking to get started with streaming data processing.


Oppositely, Apache Flink has a richer set of features that enable it to process data in real time with low latency. In addition, it supports event time processing, complex data types, and stateful computing.

Fault Tolerance


Well, Spark Streaming automatically restores lost data and provides accurate semantics without additional programming or setup. You just need to specify the fault tolerance strategy when you configure your application.


Apache Flink provides strong guarantees on fault tolerance and data consistency. In addition, it is designed to handle outages with minimal impact on the result by automatically replaying the lost data from the source.

Iterative Processing


Spark relies on repetition not built into the system, such as standard for – cycles. Suitable for iterative calculations, but the programmer needs to be aware of potential issues such as memory leakage and data inconsistency due to caching.


Unlike Spark, Flink’s API has two iteration-specific functions—Iterate and Delta Iterate. This allows you to iteratively process data distributed with guaranteed consistency and other advanced features such as check pointing and fault tolerance.



The Apache Spark community has come a long way since its inception and is currently widely regarded as the most developed of its kind. However, since it employs micro batch analysis, its data flow is less effective than Flink’s.


Apache Flink outperforms every other data management solution on the market. Apache Flink streamlines the execution of machine learning and graphs with the help of native closed loop system iterations processors.

Memory Management


Spark’s storage capabilities are very adjustable. With version 1.6, Spark is also making strides in fully automating its memory management. This implies that it can manage memory usage across the cluster and adjust settings on the fly.


Apache Flink automatically optimizes the use of available resources and manages memory usage automatically. As a result, it can handle high throughput and low latency without manual configuration or tuning.

Operating Speed


Spark is popular for its high operating speed. Thanks to its in memory processing capabilities, it can process even the most complex data queries in milliseconds. However, it is still slower than Flink.


Overall, Apache Flink is even faster than Spark. In addition, its real time processing helps reduce data latency and makes it an ideal choice for applications that need to process data quickly. This makes it the perfect option for use cases such as financial analytics and fraud detection.

Thank you for reading Apache Spark vs Flink – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). We will conclude.

Apache Spark vs Flink - What's the Difference Conclusion

In particular, Spark is more established tool, and people use it widely, whereas Flink is more cutting edge in terms of functionality. Further, Spark provides leadership services. As a result, you find current applications with quality standards relatively easily. In addition, current open source initiatives may serve as a foundation.

Remember, Flink may not be as well developed, but it is superior to Hadoop in terms of speed, latency, and adaptability, making it ideal for complicated event handling or native streaming usage. Additionally, it provides enhanced virtualization and interprocess communication features. And last, it lets you do a lot of simple actions that would otherwise need the creation of special semantics in Spark.

Both approaches follow the current application communication and database architecture and are compatible with locally adapted applications in a single unified zone.

Please take a look at our Apache content in our blog over here. 

Avatar for Farhan Yousuf
Farhan Yousuf

I am a content writer with more than five years of experience in the field. I have written for a variety of industries, and I am highly interested in learning new things. I have a knack for writing engaging copy that captures the reader's attention. In my spare time, I like to read and travel.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x