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Batch Processing vs Real-Time Data Processing

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Batch processing and real-time data processing are two of the most efficient data processing types to manage data-driven operations. Organizations can choose which one best suits their workloads based on their overall strategy and business requirements.

Constant technological innovations have led terabytes to petabytes of data to be analyzed instantly. Organizational data management has been prioritized as data expansion continues at a rapid rate. Organizations look to IT leaders to always come up with solutions to accelerate the processing of an immense amount of data — precisely and seamlessly. Choosing the best data processing technique per use case has become a growing question as technology and customer demands evolve over time.

The differences between batch processing and real-time data processing

Batch processing is a paradigm that allows high-volume data to be processed at once. It is a very efficient way of performing large-scale tasks like sorting, parsing, and counting the gathered information, in a parallel manner. Real-time data processing, on the other hand, involves constant input, processing, and output of retrieved data from the source in a matter of milliseconds. Data, as input, is instantly processed to provide an automated response based on streams of data. The master file or database is constantly being updated as data is received in milliseconds in real-time data processing.

Both batch and real-time processes prove to be crucial, yet they differ in specific areas. In batch processing, when data is entirely received, it is saved and subsequently processed as a batch over a set period. This processed batch is gathered and grouped into a single transactional file, which is then stored until all of the data from the source is obtained. Batch processes ensure large tasks are completed in small sections for debugging efficiency. Unlike batch processing, real-time processes are done on the fly, as it is deployed on the systems which are required to respond quickly and seamlessly. Both batch and real-time processing paradigms differ mainly as batch-based processes can be postponed or halted whenever required, while real-time processes need to respond instantly.

Since real-time data has become an emerging trend as technology like analytics are becoming highly dependent on real-time responses, it has an upper hand over batch processing. Batch processing has a much higher latency as outputs could take minutes to days depending on the data batch cycle, whereas data processing in real-time takes milliseconds. Storage remains another hindrance in batch processing as large batches require significant storage space for data collection in a defined period. real-time data processing, on the contrary, requires minimal storage due to the instant processing of random data input at a randomized time.


Batch-based processes are as complex in computation while being more cost-effective. Real-time data processes can be costly due to equipment but deliver specific and predictable outputs.

Data processing is a requirement for every data-driven enterprise. Processing methodologies may differ as organizational data relies on many factors including cost-effectiveness, volume, and time. Though it depends on organizational requirements to decide between them, they are all crucial for specific data-related processes.

Enterprises can take advantage of Macrometa's ready-to-go industry solutions that are powered by the real-time stream processing of millions of events per second in regional and global environments.

Related reading:

Complex Event Processing

How Stream Processing Can Enable Data Enrichment

Harnessing Real-Time Data Value

The Journey to a Data-Driven Enterprise


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