Apache Kafka - FAQs


Apache Kafka : an open-source message broker project developed by the Apache Software Foundation written in Scala and is a distributed publish-subscribe messaging system.

Features of kafka 

High Throughput : Support for millions of messages with modest hardware

Scalability : Highly scalable distributed systems with no downtime

Replication : Messages are replicated across the cluster to provide support for multiple subscribers and balances the consumers in case of failures

Durability Provides support for persistence of message to disk

Stream Processing Used with real-time streaming applications like Apache Spark & Storm

Data Loss Kafka with proper configurations can ensure zero data loss

Various components of Kafka:

Topic – a stream of messages belonging to the same type

Producer – that can publish messages to a topic

Brokers – a set of servers where the publishes messages are stored

Consumer – that subscribes to various topics and pulls data from the brokers.

Topic : 

Topic is like a table identified by name.

Topic is split in partitions.

Topic 1 -- Partition 0, partition 1 , partition 2.

Explain the role of the offset.

Messages contained in the partitions are assigned a unique ID number that is called the offset. The role of the offset is to uniquely identify every message within the partition.

  • kafka stores offsets at which consumer group has been reading.
  • offsets will be stored in a separate topic called "_consumer_offsets"
  • When consumer has processed data received from kafka it should be committing the offsets. 
  • offset is specific to a partition. because offset 3 in partion 1 and 2 are not same. 
  • offset is in order with in a partition.
  • data / offsets kept only for one week by default. 
  • once data written cant be changed (immutable)
  • Data is assigned randomly to a partition if we dont specify key 

What is a Consumer Group?

To enhance parallelism.

Consumer Groups is a concept exclusive to Kafka.  Every Kafka consumer group consists of one or more consumers that jointly consume a set of subscribed topics.

You cant have more consumers than partitions. 

if you have 3 partitions u should not have 4 consumers in one group. because consumers in a group shares the partitions. if we have 3 partitions for a topic and 4 consumers in a group each consumer connects to one partitions and 4th one become idle and do nothing. 

consumer has to specify broker name and topic name to read and kafka will take care of pulling data from right brokers 

Messages are read in order like 0,1,2,... but in parallel across the partitions. 

B1 - Topic 1 - partition 0 - 0,1,2,3,4

B2 - Topic 2 - partition 1 - 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Each consumer within a group read from exclusive partitions.


  • A Kafka  cluster is composed of multiple brokers(servers)
  • Each broker contains certain topic partitions.
  • After connecting to any broker , you will be connected to entire cluster. 
  • A cluster with 3 brokers can be seen as follows , data is distributed with partitions.

Broker 1         Broker 2            Broker 3  

Topic 1          Topic 1             Topic 1 

P-0               P-2                   P-1

Topic 2          Topic 2 Topic 1

P-1               P-0                  P-0   

Replication Factor always > 1 

Partitions : 

  • Partitions are the main concurrency mechanism in kafka. 
  • A topic is divided into 1 or more partitions enabling producer and consumer loads to be scaled. 

What is the role of the ZooKeeper?

Kafka uses Zookeeper to store offsets of messages consumed for a specific topic and partition by a specific Consumer Group.

 Is it possible to use Kafka without ZooKeeper?

No, it is not possible to bypass Zookeeper and connect directly to the Kafka server. If, for some reason, ZooKeeper is down, you cannot service any client request.

Explain the concept of Leader and Follower.

Every partition in Kafka has one server which plays the role of a Leader, and none or more servers that act as Followers. The Leader performs the task of all read and write requests for the partition, while the role of the Followers is to passively replicate the leader. In the event of the Leader failing, one of the Followers will take on the role of the Leader. This ensures load balancing of the server.

Why are Replications critical in Kafka? Kafka is durable with replications.

Replication ensures that published messages are not lost and can be consumed in the event of any machine error, program error or frequent software upgrades.

How do you define a Partitioning Key?

Within the Producer, the role of a Partitioning Key is to indicate the destination partition of the message. By default, a hashing-based Partitioner is used to determine the partition ID given the key. Alternatively, users can also use customized Partitions.

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New Features in Java 13


New Features in Java 13

  • We initially saw switch expressions in JDK 12 itself, build on the previous version by adding a new yield statement.
  • Text Blocks - To embed JSON , XML etc to avoid escaping in the strings.
  • Class data sharing (CDS) 
  • ZGC: Uncommit Unused Memory 
  • Reimplement the Legacy Socket API 

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