We’re going a bunch of setup work here, so let’s take it from the top. First, I declare a consumer group, which I’m calling “Airplane Enricher.” Kafka uses the concept of consumer groups to allow consumers to work in parallel. Imagine that we have ten separate servers available to process messages from the Flights topic. Each flight message is independent, so it doesn’t matter which consumer gets it. What does matter, though, is that multiple consumers don’t get the same message, as that’s a waste of resources and could lead to duplicate data processing, which would be bad.
The way Kafka works around this is to use consumer groups: within a consumer group, only one consumer will get a particular message. That way, I can have my ten servers processing messages “for real” and maybe have another consumer in a different consumer group just reading through the messages getting a count of how many records are in the topic. Once you treat topics as logs rather than queues, consumer design changes significantly.
This is a fairly lengthy read, but directly business-applicable, so I think it’s well worth it.