I’m excited to announce Akka 22.10, the first release under the new Business Source License (BSL) 1.1 license—a license change announced a few weeks ago. It marks the beginning of our renewed investment in Akka, towards Akka Edge, and building a solid future for Akka.
You might be wondering about the new version number 22.10. The Akka distribution consists of many modules with specific version numbers (e.g., Akka 2.7.0 and Akka HTTP 10.4.0). A new release of the Akka distribution itself means bundling up all these modules into a single overall umbrella release. Previously, we have used semantic versioning, e.g., Akka 2.6.20, to refer to it. Starting from this release, we will use “Ubuntu-style versioning,” letting the version number refer back to the year and month of the release. So for this release, released in October 2022, it is 22.10. All the modules in Akka 22.10 are fully binary compatible with their previous versions (the latest Apache 2-licensed release), so upgrading will be straightforward.
A priority of this release has been around security and bug fixes. We updated several third-party libraries for Akka, collectively fixing a long list of CVEs. See the release notes for more information.
Another considerable effort has been around SOC 2 compliance. Lightbend is now SOC 2 compliant and will be certified soon. This means Akka 22.10 and beyond is built in an environment where the software supply chain is continually validated and all potential security vulnerabilities are addressed in source code and from dependencies. SOC 2 compliance means Lightbend customers can rely on Akka as a part of security-sensitive systems and in environments requiring compliance throughout their supply chain. Our vendors and development processes must meet the same high standards. But please note that Akka 2.6.20 is not SOC 2 compliant.
The most exciting new feature in 22.10 is the “Projections over gRPC” module, which makes it easy to build “brokerless” publish-subscribe service-to-service communication. “Brokerless” means that no message queue/broker is needed as an intermediary for the event delivery. Instead, it uses gRPC for point-to-point communication, relying on an event journal on the producer side and Akka Projections event processing and offset tracking on the consumer side. The implementation allows exactly-once event delivery, with automatic retransmission de-duplication on failure.
This feature allows you to get reliable pub-sub between services while eliminating the burden of operating message broker infrastructure (e.g., running an Apache Kafka or Apache Pulsar cluster) while ensuring excellent performance. Read the blog post about the feature and the reference documentation for more details.
Other new features include Akka Persistence plugins for Postgres and Yugabyte with R2DBC and official support for Java 17 (alongside Java 8 and 11) and Scala 3.1 (alongside Scala 2.12 and 2.13). See the release notes for a list of all new features.
The most exciting project we are working on now is Akka Edge. It lays the foundation for our work in building out Kalix to address the full cloud-to-edge continuum—a vision you can learn more about in this webinar.
The “brokerless publish-subscribe service-to-service communication” feature (discussed above) is the first step towards Akka Edge—even though it is equally helpful today for cloud or on-premises deployments. It is already used in Kalix as the backbone for its service-to-service communication.
The next step is to build upon that by laying in and adapting our proven Replicated Event Sourcing for reliable and efficient multi-cluster and multi-region event sourcing. Once we have completed that (targeted for the next release of Akka), we plan to add “selective and adaptive event replication” to ensure that we only replicate what we need, where it is needed, and when it is needed, and lightweight storage of the event journal allowing it all to run in memory constrained environments (e.g., at the far edge).
This release marks the beginning of the next chapter of the Akka story. We’re excited about the big, bold plans we have on the roadmap and continue to share what we have in store.