Kafka Java Producer

Confluent Platform includes the Java producer shipped with Kafka.

This section gives a high-level overview of how the producer works, an introduction to the configuration settings for tuning, and some examples from each client library.

Concepts

The Kafka producer is conceptually much simpler than the consumer since it has no need for group coordination. Its main function is to map each message to a topic partition and send a produce request to the leader of that partition. It does the first of these with a partitioner, which typically selects a partition using a hash function. The partitioners shipped with Kafka guarantee that all messages with the same non-empty key will be sent to the same partition. If no key is provided, then the partition is selected in a round-robin fashion to ensure an even distribution across the topic partitions.

Each partition in the Kafka cluster has a leader and a set of replicas among the brokers. All writes to the partition must go through the partition leader. The replicas are kept in sync by fetching from the leader. When the leader shuts down or fails, the next leader is chosen from among the in-sync replicas. Depending on how the producer is configured, each produce request to the partition leader can be held until the replicas have successfully acknowledged the write. This gives the producer some control over message durability at some cost to overall throughput.

Messages written to the partition leader are not immediately readable by consumers regardless of the producer’s acknowledgement settings. When all in-sync replicas have acknowledged the write, then the message is considered committed, which makes it available for reading. This ensures that messages cannot be lost by a broker failure after they have already been read. Note that this implies that messages which were acknowledged by the leader only (i.e. acks=1) can be lost if the partition leader fails before the replicas have copied the message. Nevertheless, this is often a reasonable compromise in practice to ensure durability in most cases while not impacting throughput too significantly.

Most of the subtlety around producers is tied to achieving high throughput with batching/compression and ensuring message delivery guarantees as mentioned above. In the next section, the most common settings to tune producer behavior are discussed.

Configuration

The full list of configuration settings are available in the Kafka documentation. The key configuration settings and how they affect the producer’s behavior are highlighted below.

Core Configuration: You are required to set the bootstrap.servers property so that the producer can find the Kafka cluster. Although not required, you should always set a client.id since this allows you to easily correlate requests on the broker with the client instance which made it. These settings are the same for Java, C/C++, Python, Go and .NET clients.

Message Durability: You can control the durability of messages written to Kafka through the acks setting. The default value of “1” requires an explicit acknowledgement from the partition leader that the write succeeded. The strongest guarantee that Kafka provides is with “acks=all”, which guarantees that not only did the partition leader accept the write, but it was successfully replicated to all of the in-sync replicas. You can also use a value of “0” to maximize throughput, but you will have no guarantee that the message was successfully written to the broker’s log since the broker does not even send a response in this case. This also means that you will not be able to determine the offset of the message. Note that for the C/C++, Python, Go and .NET clients, this is a per-topic configuration, but can be applied globally using the default_topic_conf sub-configuration in C/C++ and default.topic.config sub-configuration in Python, Go and .NET.

Message Ordering: In general, messages are written to the broker in the same order that they are received by the producer client. However, if you enable message retries by setting retries to a value larger than 0 (which is the default), then message reordering may occur since the retry may occur after a following write succeeded. To enable retries without reordering, you can set max.in.flight.requests.per.connection to 1 to ensure that only one request can be sent to the broker at a time. Without retries enabled, the broker will preserve the order of writes it receives, but there could be gaps due to individual send failures.

Batching and Compression: Kafka producers attempt to collect sent messages into batches to improve throughput. With the Java client, you can use batch.size to control the maximum size in bytes of each message batch. To give more time for batches to fill, you can use linger.ms to have the producer delay sending. Compression can be enabled with the compression.type setting. Compression covers full message batches, so larger batches will typically mean a higher compression ratio.

With the C/C++, Python, Go and .NET clients, you can use batch.num.messages to set a limit on the number of messages contained in each batch. To enable compression, use compression.codec.

Queuing Limits: Use buffer.memory to limit the total memory that is available to the Java client for collecting unsent messages. When this limit is hit, the producer will block on additional sends for as long as max.block.ms before raising an exception. Additionally, to avoid keeping records queued indefinitely, you can set a timeout using request.timeout.ms. If this timeout expires before a message can be successfully sent, then it will be removed from the queue and an exception will be thrown.

The C/C++, Python, Go and .NET clients have similar settings. Use queue.buffering.max.messages to limit the total number of messages that can be queued (for transmission, retries, or delivery reports) at any given time. queue.buffering.max.ms limits the amount of time the client waits to fill up a batch before sending it to the broker.

Examples

Initial Setup

The Java producer is constructed with a standard Properties file.

Properties config = new Properties();
config.put("client.id", InetAddress.getLocalHost().getHostName());
config.put("bootstrap.servers", "host1:9092,host2:9092");
config.put("acks", "all");
new KafkProducer<K, V>(config);

Configuration errors will result in a raised KafkaException from the constructor of KafkaProducer. The main difference in librdkafka is that it handles the errors for each setting directly:

char hostname[128];
char errstr[512];

rd_kafka_conf_t *conf = rd_kafka_conf_new();

if (gethostname(hostname, sizeof(hostname))) {
  fprintf(stderr, "%% Failed to lookup hostname\n");
  exit(1);
}

if (rd_kafka_conf_set(conf, "client.id", hostname,
                      errstr, sizeof(errstr)) != RD_KAFKA_CONF_OK) {
  fprintf(stderr, "%% %s\n", errstr);
  exit(1);
}

if (rd_kafka_conf_set(conf, "bootstrap.servers", "host1:9092,host2:9092",
                      errstr, sizeof(errstr)) != RD_KAFKA_CONF_OK) {
  fprintf(stderr, "%% %s\n", errstr);
  exit(1);
}

rd_kafka_topic_conf_t *topic_conf = rd_kafka_topic_conf_new();

if (rd_kafka_topic_conf_set(topic_conf, "acks", "all",
                      errstr, sizeof(errstr)) != RD_KAFKA_CONF_OK) {
  fprintf(stderr, "%% %s\n", errstr);
  exit(1);
}

/* Create Kafka producer handle */
rd_kafka_t *rk;
if (!(rk = rd_kafka_new(RD_KAFKA_PRODUCER, conf,
                        errstr, sizeof(errstr)))) {
  fprintf(stderr, "%% Failed to create new producer: %s\n", errstr);
  exit(1);
}

In Python, Go and C#:

from confluent_kafka import Producer
import socket

conf = {'bootstrap.servers': "host1:9092,host2:9092",
        'client.id': socket.gethostname(),
        'default.topic.config': {'acks': 'all'}}

producer = Producer(conf)
import (
    "github.com/confluentinc/confluent-kafka-go/kafka"
)

p, err := kafka.NewProducer(&kafka.ConfigMap{
    "bootstrap.servers": "host1:9092,host2:9092",
    "client.id": socket.gethostname(),
    "default.topic.config": kafka.ConfigMap{'acks': 'all'}
})

if err != nil {
    fmt.Printf("Failed to create producer: %s\n", err)
    os.Exit(1)
}
using Confluent.Kafka;
using System.Net;

...

var config = new Dictionary<string, object>
{
    { "bootstrap.servers", "host1:9092,host2:9092" },
    { "client.id", Dns.GetHostName() },
    { "default.topic.config", new Dictionary<string, object>
        {
            { "acks", "all" }
        }
    }
}

using (var producer = new Producer<Null, string>(config, null, new StringSerializer(Encoding.UTF8)))
{
    ...
}

Asynchronous Writes

All writes are asynchronous by default. The Java producer includes a send() API which returns a future which can be polled to get the result of the send.

final ProducerRecord<K, V> = new ProducerRecord<>(topic, key, value);
Future<RecordMetadata> future = producer.send(record);

With librdkafka, you first need to create a rd_kafka_topic_t handle for the topic you want to write to. Then you can use rd_kafka_produce to send messages to it. For example:

rd_kafka_topic_t *rkt = rd_kafka_topic_new(rk, topic, topic_conf);

if (rd_kafka_produce(rkt, RD_KAFKA_PARTITION_UA,
                     RD_KAFKA_MSG_F_COPY,
                     payload, payload_len,
                     key, key_len,
                     NULL) == -1) {
  fprintf(stderr, "%% Failed to produce to topic %s: %s\n",
       topic, rd_kafka_err2str(rd_kafka_errno2err(errno)));
}

You can pass topic-specific configuration in the third argument to rd_kafka_topic_new. Here you passed the topic_conf and you seeded with a configuration for acknowledgments. Passing NULL will cause the producer to use the default configuration.

The second argument to rd_kafka_produce can be used to set the desired partition for the message. If set to RD_KAFKA_PARTITION_UA, as in this case, librdkafka will use the default partitioner to select the partition for this message. The third argument indicates that librdkafka should copy the payload and key, which would let us free it upon returning.

In Python, you initiate a send by calling the produce method, passing in the value, and optionally a key, partition, and callback. The call will return immediately and does not return a value.

producer.produce(topic, key="key", value="value")

Similarly, in Go you initiate a send by calling the Produce() method, passing a Message` object and an optional ``chan Event that can be used to listen for the result of the send. The Message object contains an opaque interface{} field that can be used to pass arbitrary data with the message to the subsequent event handler.

delivery_chan := make(chan kafka.Event, 10000)
err = p.Produce(&kafka.Message{
    TopicPartition: kafka.TopicPartition{Topic: "topic", Partition: kafka.PartitionAny},
    Value: []byte(value)},
    delivery_chan,
)

In C#, you initiate a send by calling one of the ProduceAsync method overloads on your Producer instance. For example:

producer.ProduceAsync("topic", key, value);

If you want to invoke some code after the write has completed you can also provide a callback. In Java this is implemented as a Callback object:

final ProducerRecord<K, V> = new ProducerRecord<>(topic, key, value);
producer.send(record, new Callback() {
  public void onCompletion(RecordMetadata metadata, Exception e) {
    if (e != null)
      log.debug("Send failed for record {}", record, e);
  }
});

In the Java implementation you should avoid doing any expensive work in this callback since it is executed in the producer’s IO thread.

A similar feature is available in librdkafka, but you have to configure it on initialization:

static void on_delivery(rd_kafka_t *rk,
                        const rd_kafka_message_t *rkmessage
                        void *opaque) {
  if (rkmessage->err)
    fprintf(stderr, "%% Message delivery failed: %s\n",
            rd_kafka_message_errstr(rkmessage));
}

void init_rd_kafka() {
  rd_kafka_conf_t *conf = rd_kafka_conf_new();
  rd_kafka_conf_set_dr_msg_cb(conf, on_delivery);

  // initialization ommitted
}

The delivery callback in librdkafka is invoked in the user’s thread by calling rd_kafka_poll. A common pattern is to call this function after every call to the produce API, but this may not be sufficient to ensure regular delivery reports if the message produce rate is not steady. Note, however, that this API does not provide a direct way to block for the result of any particular message delivery. If you need to do this, then see the synchronous write example below.

In Python you can pass a callback parameter, which can be any callable, e.g. a lambda, function, bound method, or callable object. Although the produce() method enqueues the message immediately for batching, compression and transmission to broker, it will not handle any events (i.e. acknowledgements and callbacks they trigger) until poll() is invoked.

def acked(err, msg):
    if err is not None:
        print("Failed to deliver message: %s: %s" % (str(msg), str(err))
    else
        print("Message produced: %s" % (str(msg))

producer.produce(topic, key="key", value="value", callback=acked)

# Wait up to 1 second for events. Callbacks will be invoked during
# this method call if the message is acknowledged.
producer.poll(1)

In Go you can use the delivery report channel passed to Produce to wait for the the result of the message send:

e := <-delivery_chan
m := e.(*kafka.Message)

if m.TopicPartition.Error != nil {
    fmt.Printf("Delivery failed: %v\n", m.TopicPartition.Error)
} else {
    fmt.Printf("Delivered message to topic %s [%d] at offset %v\n",
               *m.TopicPartition.Topic, m.TopicPartition.Partition, m.TopicPartition.Offset)
}

close(delivery_chan)

In C#, you have two options. First, you can use a variant of ProduceAsync that returns a standard Task object that you can await, handle using the .ContinueWith method, or wait on using the .Wait or .WaitAll methods:

var deliveryReportTask = producer.ProduceAsync("topic", key, val);
deliveryReportTask.ContinueWith(task =>
{
    Console.WriteLine($"Partition: {task.Result.Partition}, Offset: {task.Result.Offset}");
});

Alternatively, you can use a variant of .ProduceAsync which takes an implementation of IDeliveryHandler. You should use use the latter approach if you require notification of message delivery strictly in the order of broker acknowledgement (or delivery failure) because Tasks may complete on any thread pool thread, and so ordering is not guaranteed.

Synchronous Writes

To make writes synchronous, just wait on the returned future. This would typically be a bad idea since it would kill throughput, but may be justified in some cases.

Future<RecordMetadata> future = producer.send(record);
RecordMetadata metadata = future.get();

A similar capability could be achieved in C/C++ and Python using the delivery callback, but it takes a bit more work. A full example can be found here. The Python client also contains a flush() method which has the same effect:

producer.produce(topic, key="key", value="value")
producer.flush()

In Go, receive from the delivery channel passed to the Produce() method call:

delivery_chan := make(chan kafka.Event, 10000)
err = p.Produce(&kafka.Message{
    TopicPartition: kafka.TopicPartition{Topic: "topic", Partition: kafka.PartitionAny},
    Value: []byte(value)},
    delivery_chan
)

 e := <-delivery_chan
 m := e.(*kafka.Message)

Or, to wait for all messages to be acknowledge, use the Flush() method:

p.Flush()

Note that Flush() will only serve the producer’s Events() channel, not application-specified delivery channels. If Flush() is called and no goroutine is processing the delivery channel, its buffer may fill up and cause the flush to timeout.

In C#, simply access the .Result property of the Task object returned from .ProduceAsync which will block until the delivery report is available:

var deliveryReport = producer.ProduceAsync("topic", key, value).Result;