Java-Based RPC 'Dubbo' Now a Top-Level Apache Project

Apache Dubbo, a high-performance, Java-based remote procedure call (RPC) framework originally developed at the Alibaba online marketplace and open sourced in 2011 and open sourced last year, is now a Top Level Project (TLP).

The Dubbo framework specifies the methods that can be called remotely across distributed and microservice systems. Its primary functionalities are: interface based remote call; fault tolerance and load balancing; and automatic service registration and discovery.

Dubbo isn't what you'd call a household brand in the U.S., but it's used by more than 150 companies, largely in Asia, including Alibaba Group, China Life, China Telecom, Dangdang, Didi Chuxing, Haier, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, NetEase, Qunar, and Youzan, among others.

"Apache Dubbo is one of the most highly visible projects that was open-sourced by Alibaba," said Jiangwei Jiang, Principal Engineer at Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, in a statement. "Dubbo is widely used in Alibaba and many other companies. It is one of the best designed Open Source frameworks to develop microservices with high-throughput, complicated business logic, and sophisticated governance."

Dubbo came under the aegis of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) last year and entered the foundation's Incubator process, which is the official entry path for projects and code bases whose supporters want them to become part of the ASF. This process is where those projects are vetted to make sure they comply with the ASF legal standards and their support communities adhere to the ASF's guiding principles. As a TLP, Dubbo becomes a first-class-citizen in the ASF and will now be able to receive more contributions from the open source community.

"This day is not only the success of Apache Dubbo project itself, but also another success of The Apache Way," said Ian Luo, Vice President of Apache Dubbo, in a statement. "Back to the time when Dubbo started to incubate at The Apache Software Foundation, there was a small number of initial committers to the project, but today the number of the Dubbo committers has increased by five times, and we are proud of having far more contributors in this project by now. It is indeed a great journey."

Other things you should know about Dubbo:

  • Its transparent interface based RPC that provides high performance interface based RPC, which is transparent to users.
  • It's "intelligent load balancing" capability means that it multiple load balancing strategies out of the box, which perceives downstream service status to reduce overall latency and improve system throughput.
  • It's automatic service registration and discovery feature supports multiple service registries that can detect service online/offline instantly.
  • It provides high extensibility; its micro-kernel and plugin design ensures that it can easily be extended by third party implementation across core features like protocol, transport, and serialization.
  • Runtime traffic routing means it can be configured at runtime so that traffic can be routed according to different rules, which makes it easy to support features such as blue-green deployment, data center aware routing, etc.
  • Visualized service governance feature provides rich tools for service governance and maintenance such as querying service metadata, health status, and statistics.
Apache Dubbo is available under the Apache License v2.0 and is overseen by a "self-selected" team of active contributors to the project, according to the ASF. A Project Management Committee (PMC) guides the Project's day-to-day operations, including community development and product releases.

Downloads, documentation, and ways to become involved with project can be found on the Apache Dubbo Web site.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].