Monday, November 14, 2016

Ruminating on AMQP vs MQTT

While working on IoT projects, a lot of our customers ask us to recommend the open protocol to be used between the remote devices and the cloud-based IoT platform - e.g. MQTT or AMQP.

First and foremost, it is important to note that both MQTT and AMQP operate on top of TCP/IP and hence can use TLS to encrypt the transport layer. Jotting down some of the important characteristics of each protocol to help you make a decision.

  • Very low resource (CPU/memory) footprint - suitable to constrained IoT devices. 
  • Support for pub-sub model (topics), but NO support for peer-to-peer messaging (queues). 
  • Only supports binary message format. So your JSON strings would need to be converted to bytes by your MQTT client - (be cautious about encoding/decoding especially UTF)
  • Does not support advanced messaging features such as transactions, custom message headers, expiration, correlation ID, etc. 
  • Was designed for interoperability between different messaging middleware (MOM). 
  • Supports advanced features such as reliable queuing, transactions, etc.
  • A lot of fine-grained control available to control all the features. 
  • Useful for preventing vendor lock-in. 
Final verdict (recommendation) - Use MQTT for IoT applications and use AMQP for enterprise messaging.

Some good reading links provided below: