Use this tag for questions about Apache Kafka - a distributed streaming (aka publish and subscribe or pub/sub) platform.

From the Apache Kafka Introduction page:

Apache Kafka® is a distributed streaming platform. What exactly does that mean?

A streaming platform has three key capabilities:

  • Publish and subscribe to streams of records, similar to a message queue or enterprise messaging system.
  • Store streams of records in a fault-tolerant durable way.
  • Process streams of records as they occur.

Kafka is generally used for two broad classes of applications:

  • Building real-time streaming data pipelines that reliably get data between systems or applications
  • Building real-time streaming applications that transform or react to the streams of data

First a few concepts:

  • Kafka is run as a cluster on one or more servers that can span multiple datacenters.
  • The Kafka cluster stores streams of records in categories called topics.
  • Each record consists of a key, a value, and a timestamp.

Kafka has four core APIs:

  • The Producer API allows an application to publish a stream of records to one or more Kafka topics.
  • The Consumer API allows an application to subscribe to one or more topics and process the stream of records produced to them.
  • The Streams API allows an application to act as a stream processor, consuming an input stream from one or more topics and producing an output stream to one or more output topics, effectively transforming the input streams to output streams.
  • The Connector API allows building and running reusable producers or consumers that connect Kafka topics to existing applications or data systems. For example, a connector to a relational database might capture every change to a table.