Sitting on top of HTTP/2 and protocol buffers, gRPC provides a high-performance remote procedure call (RPC) framework. It supports features such as bi-directional streaming and authentication.

gRPC is also part of the CNCF. It is commonly used in applications like Kubernetes or TiKV.

Servers and Stubs

gRPC works off the idea that there is a server node which can accept requests from client nodes that use a stub.

The server implements the service interface and runs a gRPC server to handle all the incoming RPC calls from the client stubs. The client stubs have the same methods that the server implements, but instead send the request to the server.

Figure 1. GRPC Servers and Stubs


Sometimes it’s convienent to return or accept a stream of messages, instead of operating in the traditional 1:1 request response format.

gRPC supports both traditional 1:1 and streaming modes, enabling bi-directional streaming so clients and servers can write in whatever order they like. gRPC maintains ordering behind the scenes.

service StreamScan {
  rpc BatchGet (string, string) returns (stream string) {};

A Rust Crate

One of the TiKV maintaining organizations, PingCAP, maintains the grpc-rs library, providing Rust bindings to a C library for gRPC. TiKV uses this crate.