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Pub/Sub vs. Pub/Sub Lite


Course Intro
Understanding Pub/Sub
How to Use Pub/Sub
11m 23s
Course Conclusion

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Organizing and responding to events in a decentralized system (such as with microservices or IoT) can be a challenge. In this course, you will learn how to use Google Cloud Pub/Sub to create a reliable, asynchronous, messaging service for any scale.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what Cloud Pub/Sub is
  • How to send and receive messages
  • What the typical use cases are
  • How to get started

Intended Audience

  • GCP Developers
  • GCP Data Engineers
  • Anyone preparing for a Google Cloud certification (such as the Professional Data Engineer exam)


  • Access to a Google Cloud Platform account is recommended

In case you didn't already know, Cloud Pub/Sub includes two different offerings, Pub/Sub and Pub/Sub Lite. In this section, I'm going to talk about the differences between the two. Now, both Pub/Sub and Pub/Sub Lite are message queueing solutions. But, as the name suggests, Pub/Sub Lite is the less powerful option. Its main advantage is that it is more affordable.

Now, for complete details, you should check out this URL. In general, the Pub/Sub service should be your default choice. It offers the highest reliability and a wider range of options. You get per-message parallelism, global routing, and automatic capacity scaling. Pub/Sub Lite offers lower availability and durability. In addition, it requires you to manually reserve and manage resource capacity. However, Pub/Sub Lite can be as much as an order of magnitude less expensive. Here's a table to help you quickly understand the differences between the two.

You can see that Pub/Sub will replicate messages across multiple zones. Pub/Sub Lite is limited to a single zone. With Pub/Sub, you have automatic capacity provisioning. Where with Pub/Sub Lite, you have to do things manually. Now, that means in terms of cost, Pub/Sub is "pay for what you use." But Pub/Sub Lite is "pay for what you provision." If you provision more capacity than you end up using, you're gonna be spending more than you need to.

Pub/Sub has an unlimited storage limit for messages. Pub/Sub Lite gives you a little bit more than 10 terabytes per topic. Now, in Pub/Sub, messages can only be retained for up to seven days. In Pub/Sub Lite, you can actually make that unlimited retention. However, when it comes to message routing, Pub/Sub can route messages anywhere around the globe, but Pub/Sub Lite can only route messages within a zone. You need to understand the differences, as well as your specific needs, before choosing one versus the other.

About the Author
Daniel Mease
Google Cloud Content Creator
Learning Paths

Daniel began his career as a Software Engineer, focusing mostly on web and mobile development. After twenty years of dealing with insufficient training and fragmented documentation, he decided to use his extensive experience to help the next generation of engineers.

Daniel has spent his most recent years designing and running technical classes for both Amazon and Microsoft. Today at Cloud Academy, he is working on building out an extensive Google Cloud training library.

When he isn’t working or tinkering in his home lab, Daniel enjoys BBQing, target shooting, and watching classic movies.