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The Roadmap for Zookeeper-less Kafka

Colin McCabe explains the mechanics behind KIP-500:

So what is the problem with ZooKeeper? Actually, the problem is not with ZooKeeper itself but with the concept of external metadata management.

Having two systems leads to a lot of duplication. Kafka, after all, is a replicated distributed log with a pub/sub API on top. ZooKeeper is a replicated distributed log with a filesystem API on top. Each has its own way of doing network communication, security, monitoring, and configuration. Having two systems roughly doubles the total complexity of the result for the operator. This leads to an unnecessarily steep learning curve and increases the risk of some misconfiguration causing a security breach.

Storing metadata externally is not very efficient. We run at least three additional Java processes, and sometimes more. In fact, we often see Kafka clusters with just as many ZooKeeper nodes as Kafka nodes! Additionally, the data in ZooKeeper also needs to be reflected on the Kafka controller, which leads to double caching.

Read on to see how they’re looking to cut out Zookeeper dependencies. It’s an interesting story of post hoc dependency removal.