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Try it yourself: explore our "ksqlDB Alternative" demo workspace. Explore Demo

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See why developers are choosing Timeplus over ksqlDB.

Timeplus vs. ksqlDB

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Two Open-Source Streaming Engines

ksqlDB (previously KSQL) is a database for Apache Kafka, a popular distributed streaming platform, and is licensed under the Confluent Community License. 

Timeplus Proton is a fast and lightweight streaming engine, powered by ClickHouse. It's the core engine of our streaming analytics platform, licensed under Apache License 2.0. 

ksqlDB and Timeplus Proton share many similar features, including support for:

Stateful streaming processing


Data persistence


Stream/table concept


Dual query mode: unbounded and bounded*


Read data and write results back to Kafka

* Long running unbounded push-based query, and bounded pull-based query

Explore our Timeplus vs. ksqlDB Demo

See why developers love Timeplus Cloud as a ksqlDB alternative.

How does ksqlDB compare with Timeplus Proton?
ksqlDB offers a SQL interface, integration with Apache Kafka, stateful processing, scalability, and great security features. However, it has its limitations, including deep coupling with Kafka, heavy resource consumption, and not specifically designed for analytics.

Along with shared features, Timeplus Proton offers additional benefits compared to ksqlDB.
Let's see 5 reasons why developers are choosing Timeplus as an alternative to ksqlDB.
Is it "true" open-source?


Not true open source

ksqlDB is licensed under the Confluent Community License (CCL) and all source edits must contribute back to it.

Timeplus Proton

Apache License 2.0

Timeplus Proton’s open source license is Apache License 2.0, which is more open compared to CCL. Developers can use, update, or redistribute it for free without any limitations.

Is it flexible?


Deep coupling with Kafka

ksqlDB is tightly coupled with Kafka, at the deployment level. Each ksqlDB server is binded with a Kafka cluster, ksqlDB uses Kafka as storage to keep lots of internal state. There is no way to process streams from different clusters unless you route the data from different clusters into the same Kafka.


Additionally, while running ksqlDB, it will impact the Kafka cluster by creating more internal topics with extra read and write.

Timeplus Proton

High flexibility consuming Kafka data

Timeplus Proton supports Kafka external stream with read and write, unlike other streaming processing systems where Kafka is only offered as a source or sink. Timeplus Proton takes Kafka as a stream, though no direct data persisted. The user can still create a materialized view in case data is required to be persisted, but more flexibility is provided to the user.


When working with Kafka, there is no direct coupling between Timeplus Proton and Kafka, so users can query any data from any Kafka cluster.

Is it efficient?


Heavy Resource Consumption

Every SQL query run on ksqlDB is a Kafka Streams application, which creates its own worker threads, adding overhead to every query.

ksqlDB uses Kafka topics to store state changelogs and using RocksDB to materialize these changelogs into tables, which means more resource consumption for the state.

Timeplus Proton

Lightweight and efficient

Timeplus Proton is lightweight, written in C++ and built on top of ClickHouse, notable for its outstanding performance. Leveraging SIMD, specially designed internal data format and other optimization techniques, Timeplus Proton can process over 1 million records per second on a commodity computer.

Is it for analytic workloads?


Not designed for analytics

With Kafka, ksqlDB can support streaming processing, but the RocksDB key-value storage used as the table storage is not great for quickly scanning huge amounts of data while skipping irrelevant data.

Timeplus Proton

Purpose-designed for analytics

Timeplus Proton supports both unbounded streaming queries (append-only log) and bounded historical queries (column store based on ClickHouse). When joining streaming data with historical data, Timeplus Proton can quickly scan huge amounts of historical data.

Does it support User Defined Functions?


Java UDF

ksqlDB uses Java-based UDFs. Compared to JavaScript UDFs, it's not as easy to use, and there's added complexity of handling JVM version, Kafka version, or dependency versions.

Timeplus Proton

JavaScript UDF

Timeplus Proton supports complex computing with JavaScript UDFs. With an embedded JavaScript engine, Proton extends query capabilities to a wider range of users. JavaScript UDFs are easy to build and deploy.

More from Our Blog

Our CTO, Gang Tao, shares more on ksqlDB vs. Timeplus Proton in his blog post. 


Timeplus Proton


Confluent Community License (CCL)
Apache 2.0


Java (on Kafka Stream)

Resource consumption


Stateful streaming processing


Bounded, pull based query


Unbounded, continuously push base query


Materialized view and table concept

Yes (on top of RocksDB)
Yes (on top of ClickHouse)

Kafka Connection

Yes (source and sink)
Yes (external stream)

Support for other messaging systems

Kafka only (dependency)
Pulsar, Kinesis, and more (supports but not dependent)

Cluster and HA

No (supported by Timeplus Cloud or Timeplus Enterprise)

User-Defined Function





Yes, role-based access control
Yes, based on ClickHouse

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