Serialization Technologies Rest, Avro, Thrift, Grpc, MessagePack

Okan Sungur
2 min readDec 20, 2021

Representational state transfer is the software architecture used for web services. RESTful web services provide computer systems and internet, work together. According to the rest, API clients and servers are separated from each other. The server doesn’t keep any information about the client, so it’s stateless. They have a uniform interface and are loosely coupled, like the way we want in microservices. They have a layered system. They can also extend the functionality of clients temporarily on demand. A RESTful web application provides information about its resources. Resources are identified with the help of URLs.

But what is the best serialization technology and how are we going to decide it?. It depends on our software and architecture. If we use protocol buffers or Apache Thrift, we should go on using them, because it will be risky to change the code infrastructure. Or if we use JSON, we should continue with JSON but we should consider using MessagePack for optimization purposes. Avro should be used if we are dealing with big data.

The famous companies, using serialization technologies, may give us a clue about choosing the right technology :

  • Apache Thrift: Facebook, Cassandra
  • Protocol Buffers: Google, ActiveMQ,
  • Apache Hadoop: Avro

Avro Protocol Buffers have better documentation when compared with Apache Thrift. Protocol Buffers are slightly faster. Avro differs from these systems in the following fundamental aspects Dynamic typing, Untagged data, No manually-assigned field ID. For more please check Apache Avro

There is a sample benchmarking for thrift-protobuf-avro and you can get the document from There are also serialization and deserialization performances.

Create an object, serialize it to a byte array, then deserialize it back to an object

Thanks for reading.