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Great question. S4 came out right around the time we started designing Storm.

The projects share similarities. The biggest difference with S4 is that Storm guarantees that messages will be processed, whereas S4 will just drop the messages. Getting this level of reliability is more than just using TCP to send messages - you need to track the processing of messages in an efficient way and retry messages if the message doesn't get completed for some reason (like a node goes down). Implementing reliability is non-trivial and affects the design of the whole system.

We also felt that there was a lot of accidental complexity in S4's API, but that's a secondary issue.

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