Message Hub is a fully managed Bluemix service based on Apache Kafka. As a scalable, high-throughput, distributed messaging engine, Message Hub iconKafka enables applications using microservices architecture to be connected to each other and to other external systems. Kafka can stream large volumes of event data efficiently to applications, enabling sophisticated analytics to be performed on real-time data streams.

Message Hub brings the full power of Kafka to applications on the cloud. This article describes the benefits of using Kafka-as-a-Service to build and deploy complex applications.

Getting started

If you are developing an application that uses Kafka, a managed Kafka service is a great way to get started. Message Hub frees you from the tasks of installation, configuration and maintenance of a test Kafka cluster, enabling you to focus on your application development. Innovate quickly using microservices architecture with Kafka-as-a-Service to minimize the time to develop, test, deploy and update your applications.

Lower Cost

Message Hub Kafka clusters are shared across multiple users, enabling efficient use of resources. This enables us to provide a cost-effective platform for users with low or medium usage of Kafka. The pay-as-you-go pricing scheme makes Message Hub a perfect choice during application development and for experimentation. Kafka-as-a-Service also offers lower operational cost and complexity for deployments, freeing you to focus on your business application.

Elastic Scalability

Message Hub enables you to scale your deployment up and down as you require, without investing on expensive infrastructure based on your maximum usage.


Message Hub clusters are monitored around the clock. Alerts for various metrics including latency ensure that any potential issues are attended to as soon as possible. You can also monitor your usage of Message Hub using Grafana and Kibana.

High Availability

Redundancy is built into every Kafka cluster to ensure high availability. 3-way replication is used to ensure that message data is not lost if a Kafka broker node fails. Applications requiring guaranteed delivery can request acknowledgement when messages are published to all in-sync brokers. The minimum number of in-sync brokers is set to two to prevent message loss when brokers fall behind or fail.


Message Hub ensures the privacy and security of your data. SASL-based authentication and TLS encryption safeguard your data from access by other users of the public service. Connections to Message Hub can be made only using TLSv1.2 with a limited set of strong ciphers. Kafka brokers are behind a dual firewall and message data is stored on encrypted disks. All connections including those from the DMZ are encrypted to enforce a very high level of security.

Timely updates of critical fixes

Security updates and other critical fixes in Kafka are applied to the Message Hub platform as soon as updates are available. Non-disruptive rolling updates ensure that the service is continuously available while patches are applied.


Message Hub Kafka clusters are located in the same data centre as your Bluemix application to deliver low latency even for applications using the public service. Your applications benefit from the high throughput Kafka messaging engine while Message Hub takes care of scaling the clusters vertically when required to provide optimum performance. Our 24×7 monitoring of performance metrics enables us to react to increased usage quickly. However, if your application requires hard real-time performance guarantees, Bluemix Dedicated may be more suitable.

Dedicated Deployment – Coming soon

The public Bluemix Message Hub service is shared across multiple users. While security is guaranteed, performance of a shared cluster may not be sufficient for production applications which require guaranteed throughput or very low latency. The upcoming release of Message Hub for Bluemix Dedicated will provide a single-user solution to address this usecase. A dedicated environment will also enable a greater level of customization than the public service. With IBM support for operations, the dedicated service provides a fully managed service with performance and reliability characteristics tailored to your requirements.

Message Hub will also be available later in Bluemix Local to support users who have stringent requirements for data isolation. On-premise deployments running behind your firewall in close proximity to your existing systems further improve latency and security.

Integration with other Bluemix services

Message Hub service in Bluemix can be easily integrated with other Bluemix services to build complex applications quickly. Take a look at Streaming Analytics Bluemix Service and Message Connect Service to see how applications can harness the power of streaming and analytics on real-time data streams using built-in services in Bluemix that are already integrated with Message Hub.

Useful links

Interested to find out more? To try it yourself in Bluemix and to learn more about Message Hub and Apache Kafka, visit:

3 comments on"Message Hub: Apache Kafka as a Service"

    • Hi. Thank you for your message. I’m sorry that it has taken so long to respond. Message Hub (now called ‘Event Streams’) was never MQ Light. Message Hub is a Kafka-based technology, whereas MQ Light was based on MQ. I hope that that helps

  1. How is this positioned against MQ and IIB?

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