Highly available Kafka cluster in Docker

Apache Kafka cluster in Docker

Up until now we’ve been experimenting with Apache Kafka, a tool build with cluster and high availability in mind, but using exactly one host and availability settings which only few very optimistic people would call high.

Not today.

Today we’re going to spin up multi-host Kafka cluster and we’ll replicate topic in it, so if one host goes down, data and its availability won’t suffer.

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“Hello world” with Apache Kafka

Single node cluster

So it’s time to send some data bits through Apache Kafka. But first, as usual, we need to install it first.

Installing Kafka is so trivial, so I’ll change my rule and will actually explain the process. Here goes the manual:

  1. Install Java Development Kit (you probably have it already)
  2. Download Kafka tarball
  3. Uncompress it ( tar -xzf kafka_2.11-0.10.1.0.tgz in *nix systems)
  4. Done. You installed Kafka.

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Quick intro to Apache Kafka

What is Apache Kafka

Official definition of Apache Kafka is distributed streaming platform, which starts to make sense only after reading at least few chapters of its documentation. However, idea behind it is relatively simple. In large distributed apps we have many services that produce messages: logs, monitoring events, audit entries – any type of records. On the other hand there’s similar amount of services that consume that data. Kafka brings these parties together: it accepts data from producers, reliably stores it in topics and allows consumers to subscribe to them. In other words, Kafka is a love child of distributed storage and messaging system.

Apache Kafka

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Building RabbitMQ Cluster

Cluster with RabbitMQ

As I promised last time, it’s time to check out RabbitMQ feature we can consider advanced – clustering. RabbitMQ cluster is a set of individual nodes that share the same users, queues, exchanges and runtime parameters. New nodes can come and go, be located at different continents, yet for the connected client they will look like one entity.

Clustering is not the same as replication or high availability. Yes, users and whatever is usually necessary for node to work will be copied across all nodes. Queues, however, will reside on the node they were initially created, though they will be accessible from any node. If one node goes down, its queues go with him.

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Quick intro to RabbitMQ

Quick intro to RabbitMQ

RabbitMQ is an example of full blown Message Queue that somehow remained simple to use. Unlike ZeroMQ, which is embeddable into the services that use it, RabbitMQ is a broker. It’s an intermediary messaging service with own users, permissions, encryption, configurable durability and delivery acknowledgements, clustering, high availability, and bazillion of other features you might never need. RabbitMQ is built on top of Erlang and inherits its known resilience with compatibility to virtually any OS.

In the following article we’ll try to get a sense of how messaging with RabbitMQ feels like. I’ve chosen Ubuntu (in a Docker container) as a platform, but it could’ve been anything else. Continue reading “Quick intro to RabbitMQ”