Kafka Blindness

Kevin Feasel

2018-08-15

Hadoop

George Vetticaden and Houshang Livian look at a common problem with Apache Kafka installations:

Over the last 12 months, the product team has been talking to our largest Kafka customers who are using this technology to implement a diverse set of use cases. We posed to them the following question:

What are your key challenges with using Kafka in production? What do you need to be successful with this powerful technology?

The most common response was the need for better tools to monitor and manage Kafka in production. Specifically, users wanted better visibility in understanding what is going on in the cluster across the four key entities with Kafka: producers, topics, brokers, and consumers.  In fact, because we heard this same response over and over from the users we interviewed, we gave it a name: The Kafka Blindness.

Kafka’s Omnipresence has led to Kafka blindness – the enterprise’s struggle to monitor, troubleshoot and see whats happening in their Kafka clusters.

It looks like the folks at Hortonworks are building tooling around visualizing Kafka topic status.  There are a bunch of these tools out there (each one typically with its own focus and blind spots), so we’ll see how theirs stacks up.

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