gRPC

Empower your Remote Procedure Calls with Google's gRPC

gRPC was created by Google, as an open-source, high-performance Remote Procedure Call framework to be used within just about any type of environment. gRPC can connect services inside or across data centers and has pluggable support for load balancing, tracing, health checking, and authentication. You can even use gRPC in the “last mile” of distributed computing, to connect remote services (such as apps on mobile devices) to backend services.

gRPC isn’t a new concept. In fact, it was adopted from Remote Procedure Call RPC and has gained significant popularity in a few short years.

gRPC 3

gRPC Developers Hiring Guide

  • How to choose the best
  • Interview questions
  • Job Description

What is a Remote Procedure Call?

Before we dive further into gRPC, let’s find out what exactly a Remote Procedure Call is. RPC is a form of client-server communication that relies on a function call instead of the usual HTTP call. Here’s how it works:

A client sends a request message to a remote server to execute a specific procedure.

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The remote server sends a response to the client

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The client application receives the response and can proceed with the process.

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It’s that simple. A client request, a server response, and the requesting client can then proceed with the action at hand. 

Without this communication between clients and servers, apps that depend on remote data or functions wouldn’t work.

There are 2 main problems with RPC, though:

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    The RPC communication process is hidden from the user and (at times) the system, which leads to a "who is the client and who is the server" situation.
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    RPC often omits many of the protocol layers to improve performance, thereby making it less secure.

With gRPC, the framework declares the service in a language-agnostic Interface Definition Language (IDL) and then generates language-specific bindings. The big difference between RPC and gRPC is that gRPC is designed to make the client believe the server is on the same machine. This is partly achieved by how the protocol uses serialization.

gRPC makes it possible for any custom data type that requires serialization to be defined as a Protocol Buffer, which is an open-source, cross-platform library used to serialize structured data. Protocol Buffers are useful for applications that are designed to communicate with one another over a network or for storing data.

What is gRPC

Originally, everyone assumed the “g” in gRPC stood for “Google.” To avoid that, Google changes the meaning of the “g” in each version they release, so no one actually knows what the “g” stands for. Regardless of nomenclature, gRPC has become incredibly popular. Why? Because gRPC:

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    Makes abstraction incredibly easy.
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    It's supported by a large number of programming languages.
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    It's a performance-centric protocol.
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    It's much easier to use (and more reliable and secure) than typical HTTP calls.
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    It is widely used in microservices.

It’s within the world of microservices that gRPC really excels.

  • What is a microservice?
    Before we continue on, let’s define microservice. Simply put, a microservice is an architecture that enables the rapid, frequent, and reliable delivery of complicated applications and services at scale. Instead of depending on monolithic services, microservices build systems by “bundling” single-function modules that work together to form a complex service.

    These single-function modules must have the means to communicate with one another. That’s where gRPC comes into play.

    With microservices, you have several pieces that must interact. By making use of gRPC in microservices, developers don’t have to also write extra documentation for their project, because the gRPC code is often self-explanatory. On top of that, gRPC includes multiple libraries to support most functions. So it’s not only easier to write, it’s a more widely supported communication protocol.

What makes gRPC such a good communication protocol?

One of the most important reasons why gRPC is such a performant system is because it’s very good at making use of HTTP2. 

The big advantage of HTTP2 over HTTP is that the second iteration makes it possible to send multiple requests and receive multiple responses simultaneously. Because of this, a new connection will not be required for each request/response. Not only does this make HTTP2 more efficient, but it also makes it more performant and reliable.

Other reasons why gRPC is superior include:

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    gRPC also makes use of metadata. Instead of relying on HTTP request headers, metadata works with key-value data that can be set on either the client or the server-side.
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    gRPC can work with 3 types of streaming: Server Streaming (where the client sends a single request and the server can then return multiple responses), Client Streaming (where the client sends multiple requests and the server sends back a single response), and Bidirectional Streaming (where both the client and the server send simultaneous messages without waiting for a response).
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    gRPC uses interceptors that allow you to intercept and modify requests and responses.
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    gRPC is capable of using load balancing (and is implemented in the GoLang language).
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    gRPC clients are capable of canceling a gRPC call, on the off chance the client no longer requires a response.

It’s within the world of microservices that gRPC really excels.

  • What is a microservice?
    Before we continue on, let’s define microservice. Simply put, a microservice is an architecture that enables the rapid, frequent, and reliable delivery of complicated applications and services at scale. Instead of depending on monolithic services, microservices build systems by “bundling” single-function modules that work together to form a complex service.

    These single-function modules must have the means to communicate with one another. That’s where gRPC comes into play.

    With microservices, you have several pieces that must interact. By making use of gRPC in microservices, developers don’t have to also write extra documentation for their project, because the gRPC code is often self-explanatory. On top of that, gRPC includes multiple libraries to support most functions. So it’s not only easier to write, it’s a more widely supported communication protocol.

When should you use gRPC?

The answer here is simple: When you’re building an application that is a collection of microservices, and those microservices require the means to efficiently and reliably communicate with one another, your best bet is gRPC.

And because gRPC supports so many languages (such as C#, Java, Go, Node.js, Python, Ruby, and PHP), you can be sure that whatever project you are working on supports this outstanding communication framework.

gRPC Hiring Guide

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    Hiring Guide

  • gRPC 5

    Interview Questions

  • gRPC 6

    Job Description

gRPC offers 2 different kinds of message transfers - unary and streaming. In unary transfer, a client sends a single request to the server and gets a single response. In streaming, more than one message is relayed to another party. Streaming can have 3 types: server streaming, client streaming, and bi-directional streaming. 

In server streaming, the server sends a stream of messages in response to a request. In client streaming, the client sends a stream of messages to the server and waits for its reply. The 2-way streaming (bidirectional streaming) feature allows both the server and client to send a sequence of messages using a read-write stream. The client and server read and write messages in the order they choose. 

gRPC is very safe and uses various authentication mechanisms to improve interaction with other systems. Some of the authentication mechanisms built into gRPC are ALTS, SSL/TLS, and Google Token-based authentication. You can also plug in your own authentication protocol in gRPC.  


gRPC In Today’s Market

gRPC was first created in 2015 by Google as an open-source project. Since December 2020, gRPC has been under an incubation status within CNCF. Despite that, it’s still used worldwide in a variety of projects. Being a Google product also raises gRPC's credibility to a whole new extent.

gRPC is lightweight and allows for contact first API development. Therefore, it’s highly useful for systems where efficiency and point-to-point streaming responses are required. Many companies such as Slack, Microsoft, Groww, and Medium use gRPC. Moreover, gRPC has proven to be much faster than REST, the most popular state transfer protocol in use today.  


Issues Faced While Hiring gRPC Developers

Hiring gRPC developers is a challenge for many businesses since employers desire a qualified and reliable gRPC professional who can handle specific business requirements. Often, developers only have the basic understanding of gRPC, but they lack the expertise to effectively implement it into industry-level projects and services. 

Even if they are good with gRPC integration, many developers don't have enough experience in debugging and bug fixing. Simple things like keeping non-primitive string inputs in gRPC protobuf or using non-standard keywords (nil instead of null) can cause runtime errors in the final product. 

Sometimes, even though a candidate has full knowledge of gRPC, they may face difficulty with implementation. For example, memory issues and buffer overflow issues can pop up if developers don't use memory-safe languages during development. 

That lack of knowledge is the major hurdle companies have to overcome when hiring gRPC developers. However, it isn’t an overly complicated issue, as there are plenty of senior developers capable of handling gRPC successfully. 


How To Choose The Best gRPC Developer

The selected candidate should be very experienced with gRPC and architecture development. In addition, they should have good exposure to protocol buffers, performance tuning, and service development. 

The developer should also be knowledgeable about microservices management. They should be able to write test suites and modules and work on fixing bugs. Knowledge of error handling is required to deliver a high-quality end product.

They should also know about GCP and distributed cloud. They should also be able to work on project scalability, both horizontal and vertical. 


Conclusion

Many companies use gRPC despite it still being in an incubation status. It enables transparent communication between client and server applications. Many organizations worldwide have incorporated gRPC and it’s regarded as the next big thing for communication. For easy scalability and efficiency, gRPC is still the way to go for all distributed applications and services.

What is a protocol buffer?

A protocol buffer is a powerful and open-source mechanism for the serialization of structured data. It’s used to create programs and services that can communicate with each other over a network. For example, protobuf encodes data and provides interface definition language for services. It also provides the message format for sending messages. 


What are some of the languages supported by gRPC, and how is it important?

One of the biggest benefits of gRPC is that it supports multiple languages. gRPC supports C#, Java, Go, Python, Ruby, PHP, and Node.js, among many others. Multi-language support offers flexibility to implement services in a language that best suits the developer/organization. 


Which one is better- gRPC or REST?

According to Google, gRPC performs much better than REST in terms of sending and receiving data. Therefore, it’s regarded as the future of enterprise communication. It’s high-performance, supports multiple languages, and runs over http2. 

But it is a fairly new framework, and organizations worldwide have already adopted REST. Moreover, REST uses HTTP and http2. Therefore, REST works best when standardization of HTTP protocol and high-speed iteration is required. 


What are Client and Server Stubs, and how are they used?

Stubs are small pieces of code used for the conversion of parameters during a remote procedure call. Stubs can be generated both automatically and manually. 

Client stubs take the client parameters and make a system call. They also recover the results from the Server after the query execution to return to the client. Server stubs convert the messages passed on by clients and work with the server procedure to create results. They then send it back to the client.


Explain the difference between remote procedure calls and local calls

Remote calls occur between different network nodes or different networks, while a single server handles local calls. 

Remote calls can sometimes crash without the user’s knowledge. Local calls, on the other hand, generally don’t fail. Remote calls are also slow compared to local calls.

We are looking for a highly qualified gRPC developer that can design and implement communication architecture for large-scale distributed applications and systems. We are looking for a qualified professional who can code and debug open-source components. The developer should be a team player and able to collaborate with different teams for diverse projects.


Responsibilities

  • Write reusable and reliable enterprise-level code
  • Create projects using Redis and Go and apply architecture using gRPC. 
  • Work on complex architecture components.   
  • Develop distributed, real-time infrastructure. 
  • Work on low-level components (kernels).
  • Coordinate with internal and external teams to understand business requirements
  • Follow best industry practices and standards
  • {{Add other relevant responsibilities}}

Skills and Qualifications

  • Knowledge of Go/Redis. The developer should also have prior experience with gRPC. 
  • Experience in designing efficient, high-performance code and modules 
  • Proven experience with building high-throughput systems
  • Deep understanding of distributed architecture and client master communication. 
  • Experience with low latency coding for microservices
  • Experience with code versioning tools (Git and Jenkins)
  • Problem-solving skills and team spirit 
  • {{Add other frameworks or libraries related to your development stack}} 
  • {{List education level or certification required}}

Related Pages

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