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Apache Kafka is a distributed streaming platform used to build reliable, scalable and high-throughput real-time streaming systems. Its capabilities, while impressive, can be further improved through the addition of Kubernetes. Accordingly, we’ve built an open-source Kafka operator and Supertubes to run and seamlessly operate Kafka on Kubernetes through its various features, like fine-grain broker configuration, metrics based scaling with rebalancing, rack awareness, and graceful rolling upgrades - just to name a few.
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A while ago we published some benchmarks about our experience of running Apache Kafka over a service mesh with the Banzai Cloud Kafka and Istio operator, orchestrated by our automated and operationalized service mesh, Backyards. The reasons for such a setup were many, and there are more details in the Running Apache Kafka over Istio - benchmark post, but let me recap some of our initial reasons, and how we evolved from there.
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One of the earliest features of our hybrid cloud container management platform, Pipeline, was to standardize the running of applications on Kubernetes with a framework we called Spotguides. Spotguides allowed us to build domain specific knowledge into apps, avoid writing boilerplate code, and go from commit to a production ready deployment in minutes. All of this while meeting enterprise-grade requirements such as federated monitoring, centralized log collection, security scans, cluster lifecycle management and lots more.
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It’s been some time since we open sourced our Kafka Operator, an operator designed from square one to take advantage of the full potential of Kafka on Kubernetes. That guiding principle was what led us to use simple pods instead of StatefulSet. This blog will not detail our every design decision, so if you are interested in learning more, feel free to look at an earlier blog post about the operator.
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Our thinking that there was a hunger for an operator that makes easy the provisioning and operating Kafka clusters on Kubernetes which is not based on Kubernetes stateful sets, proved to be correct as shortly after we released the first version our open-source Banzai Cloud Kafka Operator a community started to build around it. We received lots of valuable feedback that helps to shape the future of the Kafka operator and also feature contributions from the community.
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One of the key features of our container management platform, Pipeline, as well as our CNCF certified Kubernetes distribution, PKE, is their ability to form and run seamlessly across multi- and hybrid-cloud environments. While the needs of Pipeline users vary depending on whether they employ a single or multi-cloud approach, they usually build upon one or more of these key features: Multi-cloud application management An Istio based automated service mesh for multi and hybrid cloud deployments Federated resource and application deployments built on Kubernetes federation v2 As Istio operator-based multi-cluster and multi/hybrid-cloud adoption increased, so did the demand for the ability to run distributed or decentralized applications wired into a service mesh.
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If you’re reading this post, you’re likely already familiar with our container management platform, Pipeline, and our CNCF certified Kubernetes distribution, PKE: you probably already know how we make it possible to spin up clusters across five cloud providers and on-premise, in multi-cloud but also hybrid-cloud environments. But whether these are single or multi-cluster topologies, resilience is key. We at Banzai Cloud believe this is the case not just for infrastructural components but for entire managed application environments, like Apache Kafka.
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A few weeks ago we opensourced our Kafka operator, the engine behind our Kafka Spotguide - the easiest way to run Kafka on Kubernetes when it’s deployed to multiple clouds or on-prem, with out-of-the-box monitoring, security, centralized log collection, external access and more. One of our customers’ preferred features is the ability of our Kafka operator to react to custom alerts, in combination with the default options we provide: options like cluster upscaling, adding new Brokers, cluster downscaling, removing Brokers or adding additional disks to a Broker.
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Yes, we opensourced yet another Apache Kafka operator for Kubernetes. This might seem bizarre, considering the alternatives that are already available (they exist but there are not too many), so you may be wondering, ‘Why?’ Well, keep reading and we’ll tell you: from design gaps and features we believe are necessary to operate Kafka on K8s, through my personal fix for Envoy, to some of our specific usage scenarios.
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Two weeks ago we introduced our Kafka Spotguide for Kubernetes - the easiest way to deploy and operate Apache Kafka on Kubernetes. Since then, it’s been integrated into our application and DevOps container management platform, Pipeline, among other spotguides such as Spark on Kubernetes, Zeppelin, NodeJS and Golang, just to name a few. Because we’ve already met our goal of making it easy set up a Kafka cluster on Kubernetes with just few clicks, and in less than ten minutes - provisioning and operating its entire infrastructure, both in Kubernetes and Kafka - we’ve shifted our focus to Kafka security.
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