gRPC stands for Google Remote Procedure Call.

Unlocking the Power of Modern Communication: What is gRPC and How the gRPC Protocol Works

gRPC has been in existence since the late 1970s and was formulated to enable a program to request the execution of a service on a server or computer as if it were on its own local machine. gRPC, which emerged in 2015, was derived from Google’s internal tool called Stubby. When designing gRPC, its creators were not satisfied with the Stubby capabilities and sought to create something more revolutionary for the microservices interaction in distributed environments. Today, gRPC is also supported by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation as a CNCF project.

What is gRPC?

Before you understand what is gRPC, you have to understand what gRPC stands for? gRPC stands for Google Remote Procedure Call. It is a high-performance open-source framework that is the creation of Google. It enables inter-service communication in a decentralised schema by using gRPC protocol, where, according to the semantics, services can communicate as if the called function was local.

What’s the working mechanism of gRPC?

Here is the working mechanism of gRPC -

  • Protocol Buffers (Protobuf): However, the concept of building gRPC heavily relies on Protobuf, which is a language-independent binary serialisation format that works for defining the structure of the data and the service’s interfaces. Developers write down how their services will function and what form of data their services will take. Proto files followed by which, with the help of the protocol compiler, create client and server code in different languages.
  • Communication Mechanism: It is embedded in the HTTP/2 transport with more or less performance enhancements compared to HTTP/1. x, such as reduced transmission delay, many signals on one wire, and simultaneous two-way transmission. There are four types of RPC methods supported by gRPC: There are four types of RPC methods supported by gRPC:
    1. Unary RPC: An example of the client-server model in which a client sends one message and receives a single message back.
    2. Server Streaming RPC: A model where a movie clip is made of a single request followed by a series of prompt responses.
    3. Client Streaming RPC: Increased application and API requests made to the system, followed by a single response.
    4. Bidirectional Streaming RPC: In this model, the client and server both transmit sets of messages which are organised in streams.

Top Benefits received by the usage gRPC:

REST is popular to be used with web services because of its ease of use and readability by other people

Here are some benefits received by the usage of gRPC -

  • Efficiency: Based on gRPC’s methods of utilising the Protobuf format for binary serialisation it enables it to have a decreased data size and processing time as compared to textual formats such as JSON.
  • Language Agnostic: This depends on gRPC since it supports the various programming languages and allows for interoperation between different technology stacks.
  • Strong Typing: Unlike some other formats that can handle data more naturally, Protobuf maintains strict typing and lacks ambiguity.
  • Extensibility: This can be done without causing any detachments to previously enrolled clients, in every possibility, augmenting the services that can be offered in new fields and methods.
  • Real-Time Communication: HTTP/2 support enhances efficient Steam real-time and bidirectional.

What distinguishes gRPC vs REST?

While making calls via REST API and while passing data back and forth over the wire, the API usually uses JSON as its encoding scheme and HTTP as its transport protocol; by contrast, gRPC APIs use Protobuf for their data encoding format and HTTP/2 for their transport network. This leads to improved communication, which is essential in high-performance systems and other systems that need real-time and accurate data transfer. REST is popular to be used with web services because of its ease of use and readability by other people without needing to parse JSON. At the same time, gRPC is designed for microservice architectures and applications needing low latency and high throughput.

Challenges with gRPC

Despite having multiple advantages, gRPC does come with challenges.

It’s never that downtimes won’t arise. Such happens with gPRC, too. As in, despite having multiple advantages, gRPC does come with challenges. Read on to know what are the various obstacles one faces while using gRPC:

  1. Complexity: It can be seen that there are more problems with Protobuf and bins when compared to JSON.
  2. Steep Learning Curve: People can start the process of discovering more about gRPC, Protobuf, & HTTP/2 all over again.
  3. Debugging: It is not human-readable because binary data is reduced, and therefore when there is an error, debugging is not easy.
  4. Ecosystem Maturity: The currently available gRPC tools and libraries are less rich than REST due to the relatively younger ecosystem of the technology stack.

Use Cases for gRPC

gRPC stands out most when the following criteria are met: when performance is a requirement, when real-time messaging is required frequently, and when there is a need to have clients written in different programming languages. Common use cases include:

  1. Microservices: Communication between services which are created in different languages but provide great results.
  2. Real-Time Applications: For example, social media like chat applications, live streaming, and online gaming.
  3. IoT Systems: Ensuring the throughput over the number of devices while avoiding high latency.

Optimizory and gRPC Workflows for gRPC-Based Systems

Engaging gRPC services with Optimizory provides tools that allow for the automated development of services for a gRPC gateway. With Optimizory, teams can take advantage of providing superior debugging tools, monitoring solutions and keeping things clean with Debug. Or when the PC has been working with heavy gRPC communications. It does so to ensure that services are reliable, efficient and scalable to support the production needs and thus easy to manage.


In a distributed environment, gRPC marks a huge step forward in how services talk. Today’s microservice architectures highly benefit from gRPC as it is effective, immediate, and supports many programming languages. gRPC has managed to do away with lots of restrictions found in usual RESTful APIs by utilising efficient binary serialisations through Protocol Buffers and low-latency communication via HTTP/2.

This makes it particularly appropriate for applications with a great deal of need for performance and real-time data exchange, such as IoT systems (Internet of Things), real-time analytics and high-frequency trading platforms.

Despite all challenges, gRPC is an important tool for some particular applications due to its benefits. No other technology can boast of the level of performance achieved by it in enhancing communication between services written in diverse languages.

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