Configuring a Streams Application

Kafka and Kafka Streams configuration options must be configured before using Streams. You can configure Kafka Streams by specifying parameters in a StreamsConfig instance.

  1. Create a java.util.Properties instance.

  2. Set the parameters.

  3. Construct a StreamsConfig instance from the Properties instance. For example:

    import java.util.Properties;
    import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsConfig;
    Properties settings = new Properties();
    // Set a few key parameters
    settings.put(StreamsConfig.APPLICATION_ID_CONFIG, "my-first-streams-application");
    settings.put(StreamsConfig.BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS_CONFIG, "kafka-broker1:9092");
    // Any further settings
    settings.put(... , ...);
    // Create an instance of StreamsConfig from the Properties instance
    StreamsConfig config = new StreamsConfig(settings);

Configuration parameter reference

This section contains the most common Streams configuration parameters. For a full reference, see the Streams and Client Javadocs.

Required configuration parameters

Here are the required Streams configuration parameters.

Parameter Name Importance Description Default Value Required An identifier for the stream processing application. Must be unique within the Kafka cluster. None
bootstrap.servers Required A list of host/port pairs to use for establishing the initial connection to the Kafka cluster. None

(Required) The application ID. Each stream processing application must have a unique ID. The same ID must be given to all instances of the application. It is recommended to use only alphanumeric characters, . (dot), - (hyphen), and _ (underscore). Examples: "hello_world", "hello_world-v1.0.0"

This ID is used in the following places to isolate resources used by the application from others:

  • As the default Kafka consumer and producer prefix
  • As the Kafka consumer for coordination
  • As the name of the subdirectory in the state directory (cf. state.dir)
  • As the prefix of internal Kafka topic names
When an application is updated, the should be changed unless you want to reuse the existing data in internal topics and state stores. For example, you could embed the version information within, as my-app-v1.0.0 and my-app-v1.0.2.


(Required) The Kafka bootstrap servers. This is the same setting that is used by the underlying producer and consumer clients to connect to the Kafka cluster. Example: "kafka-broker1:9092,kafka-broker2:9092".

Kafka Streams applications can only communicate with a single Kafka cluster specified by this config value. Future versions of Kafka Streams will support connecting to different Kafka clusters for reading input streams and writing output streams.

Optional configuration parameters

Here are the optional Streams configuration parameters, sorted by level of importance:

  • High: These parameters can have a significant impact on performance. Take care when deciding the values of these parameters.
  • Medium: These parameters can have some impact on performance. Your specific environment will determine how much tuning effort should be focused on these parameters.
  • Low: These parameters have a less general or less significant impact on performance.
Parameter Name Importance Description Default Value
application.server Low A host:port pair pointing to an embedded user defined endpoint that can be used for discovering the locations of state stores within a single Kafka Streams application. The value of this must be different for each instance of the application. the empty string
buffered.records.per.partition Low The maximum number of records to buffer per partition. 1000
cache.max.bytes.buffering Medium Maximum number of memory bytes to be used for record caches across all threads. 10485760 bytes Medium An ID string to pass to the server when making requests. (This setting is passed to the consumer/producer clients used internally by Kafka Streams.) the empty string Low The frequency with which to save the position (offsets in source topics) of tasks. 30000 milliseconds (at-least-once) / 100 milliseconds (exactly-once)
default.deserialization.exception.handler Medium Exception handling class that implements the DeserializationExceptionHandler interface. See default.deserialization.exception.handler
default.production.exception.handler Medium Exception handling class that implements the ProductionExceptionHandler interface. See default.production.exception.handler
default.key.serde Medium Default serializer/deserializer class for record keys, implements the Serde interface (see also value.serde). Serdes.ByteArray().getClass().getName()
default.value.serde Medium Default serializer/deserializer class for record values, implements the Serde interface (see also key.serde). Serdes.ByteArray().getClass().getName()
default.timestamp.extractor Medium Default timestamp extractor class that implements the TimestampExtractor interface. See Timestamp Extractor
metric.reporters Low A list of classes to use as metrics reporters. the empty list
metrics.num.samples Low The number of samples maintained to compute metrics. 2
metrics.recording.level Low The highest recording level for metrics. INFO Low The window of time a metrics sample is computed over. 30000 milliseconds
num.standby.replicas Medium The number of standby replicas for each task. 0 Medium The number of threads to execute stream processing. 1
partition.grouper Low Partition grouper class that implements the PartitionGrouper interface. See Partition Grouper Low The amount of time in milliseconds to block waiting for input. 100 milliseconds
processing.guarantee Medium The processing mode. Can be either at-least-once (default) or exactly-once. See Processing Guarantee
replication.factor High The replication factor for changelog topics and repartition topics created by the application. 1
retries Medium The number of retries for broker requests that return a retryable error. 0 Medium The amount of time in milliseconds, before a request is retried. This applies if the retries parameter is configured to be greater than 0. 100 Low The amount of time in milliseconds to wait before deleting state when a partition has migrated. 6000000 milliseconds
state.dir High Directory location for state stores. /var/lib/kafka-streams Low Added to a windows maintainMs to ensure data is not deleted from the log prematurely. Allows for clock drift. 86400000 milliseconds = 1 day


The default deserialization exception handler allows you to manage record exceptions that fail to deserialize. This can be caused by corrupt data, incorrect serialization logic, or unhandled record types. The default is LogAndFailExceptionHandler. These exception handlers are available:

  • LogAndContinueExceptionHandler: This handler logs the deserialization exception and then signals the processing pipeline to continue processing more records. This log-and-skip strategy allows Kafka Streams to make progress instead of failing if there are records that fail to deserialize.
  • LogAndFailExceptionHandler. This handler logs the deserialization exception and then signals the processing pipeline to stop processing more records.


The default production exception handler allows you to manage exceptions triggered when trying to interact with a broker such as attempting to produce a record that is too large. By default, Kafka provides and uses the DefaultProductionExceptionHandler that always fails when these exceptions occur.

Each exception handler can return a FAIL or CONTINUE depending on the record and the exception thrown. Returning FAIL will signal that Streams should shut down and CONTINUE will signal that Streams should ignore the issue and continue processing. If you want to provide an exception handler that always ignores records that are too large, you could implement something like the following:

import java.util.Properties;
import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsConfig;
import org.apache.kafka.common.errors.RecordTooLargeException;
import org.apache.kafka.streams.errors.ProductionExceptionHandler;
import org.apache.kafka.streams.errors.ProductionExceptionHandler.ProductionExceptionHandlerResponse;

class IgnoreRecordTooLargeHandler implements ProductionExceptionHandler {
    public void configure(Map<String, Object> config) {}

    public ProductionExceptionHandlerResponse handle(final ProducerRecord<byte[], byte[]> record,
                                                     final Exception exception) {
        if (exception instanceof RecordTooLargeException) {
            return ProductionExceptionHandlerResponse.CONTINUE;
        } else {
            return ProductionExceptionHandlerResponse.FAIL;

Properties settings = new Properties();

// other various kafka streams settings, e.g. bootstrap servers, application id, etc



The default Serializer/Deserializer class for record keys. Serialization and deserialization in Kafka Streams happens whenever data needs to be materialized, for example:

  • Whenever data is read from or written to a Kafka topic (e.g., via the StreamsBuilder#stream() and KStream#to() methods).
  • Whenever data is read from or written to a state store.

This is discussed in more detail in Data types and serialization.


The default Serializer/Deserializer class for record values. Serialization and deserialization in Kafka Streams happens whenever data needs to be materialized, for example:

  • Whenever data is read from or written to a Kafka topic (e.g., via the StreamsBuilder#stream() and KStream#to() methods).
  • Whenever data is read from or written to a state store.

This is discussed in more detail in Data types and serialization.


A timestamp extractor pulls a timestamp from an instance of ConsumerRecord. Timestamps are used to control the progress of streams.

The default extractor is FailOnInvalidTimestamp. This extractor retrieves built-in timestamps that are automatically embedded into Kafka messages by the Kafka producer client since Kafka version 0.10. Depending on the setting of Kafka’s server-side log.message.timestamp.type broker and message.timestamp.type topic parameters, this extractor provides you with:

  • event-time processing semantics if log.message.timestamp.type is set to CreateTime aka “producer time” (which is the default). This represents the time when a Kafka producer sent the original message. If you use Kafka’s official producer client or one of Confluent’s producer clients, the timestamp represents milliseconds since the epoch.
  • ingestion-time processing semantics if log.message.timestamp.type is set to LogAppendTime aka “broker time”. This represents the time when the Kafka broker received the original message, in milliseconds since the epoch.

The FailOnInvalidTimestamp extractor throws an exception if a record contains an invalid (i.e. negative) built-in timestamp, because Kafka Streams would not process this record but silently drop it. Invalid built-in timestamps can occur for various reasons: if for example, you consume a topic that is written to by pre-0.10 Kafka producer clients or by third-party producer clients that don’t support the new Kafka 0.10 message format yet; another situation where this may happen is after upgrading your Kafka cluster from 0.9 to 0.10, where all the data that was generated with 0.9 does not include the 0.10 message timestamps.

If you have data with invalid timestamps and want to process it, then there are two alternative extractors available. Both work on built-in timestamps, but handle invalid timestamps differently.

  • LogAndSkipOnInvalidTimestamp: This extractor logs a warn message and returns the invalid timestamp to Kafka Streams, which will not process but silently drop the record. This log-and-skip strategy allows Kafka Streams to make progress instead of failing if there are records with an invalid built-in timestamp in your input data.
  • UsePreviousTimeOnInvalidTimestamp. This extractor returns the record’s built-in timestamp if it is valid (i.e. not negative). If the record does not have a valid built-in timestamps, the extractor returns the previously extracted valid timestamp from a record of the same topic partition as the current record as a timestamp estimation. In case that no timestamp can be estimated, it throws an exception.

Another built-in extractor is WallclockTimestampExtractor. This extractor does not actually “extract” a timestamp from the consumed record but rather returns the current time in milliseconds from the system clock (think: System.currentTimeMillis()), which effectively means Streams will operate on the basis of the so-called processing-time of events.

You can also provide your own timestamp extractors, for instance to retrieve timestamps embedded in the payload of messages. If you cannot extract a valid timestamp, you can either throw an exception, return a negative timestamp, or estimate a timestamp. Returning a negative timestamp will result in data loss – the corresponding record will not be processed but silently dropped. If you want to estimate a new timestamp, you can use the value provided via previousTimestamp (i.e., a Kafka Streams timestamp estimation). Here is an example of a custom TimestampExtractor implementation:

import org.apache.kafka.clients.consumer.ConsumerRecord;
import org.apache.kafka.streams.processor.TimestampExtractor;

// Extracts the embedded timestamp of a record (giving you "event-time" semantics).
public class MyEventTimeExtractor implements TimestampExtractor {

  public long extract(final ConsumerRecord<Object, Object> record, final long previousTimestamp) {
    // `Foo` is your own custom class, which we assume has a method that returns
    // the embedded timestamp (milliseconds since midnight, January 1, 1970 UTC).
    long timestamp = -1;
    final Foo myPojo = (Foo) record.value();
    if (myPojo != null) {
      timestamp = myPojo.getTimestampInMillis();
    if (timestamp < 0) {
      // Invalid timestamp!  Attempt to estimate a new timestamp,
      // otherwise fall back to wall-clock time (processing-time).
      if (previousTimestamp >= 0) {
        return previousTimestamp;
      } else {
        return System.currentTimeMillis();
    return timestamp;


You would then define the custom timestamp extractor in your Streams configuration as follows:

import java.util.Properties;
import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsConfig;

Properties streamsConfiguration = new Properties();
streamsConfiguration.put(StreamsConfig.TIMESTAMP_EXTRACTOR_CLASS_CONFIG, MyEventTimeExtractor.class);


The number of standby replicas. Standby replicas are shadow copies of local state stores. Kafka Streams attempts to create the specified number of replicas and keep them up to date as long as there are enough instances running. Standby replicas are used to minimize the latency of task failover. A task that was previously running on a failed instance is preferred to restart on an instance that has standby replicas so that the local state store restoration process from its changelog can be minimized. Details about how Kafka Streams makes use of the standby replicas to minimize the cost of resuming tasks on failover can be found in the State section.

This specifies the number of stream threads in an instance of the Kafka Streams application. The stream processing code runs in these thread. For more information about Kafka Streams threading model, see Threading Model.


A partition grouper creates a list of stream tasks from the partitions of source topics, where each created task is assigned with a group of source topic partitions. The default implementation provided by Kafka Streams is DefaultPartitionGrouper. It assigns each task with one partition for each of the source topic partitions. The generated number of tasks equals the largest number of partitions among the input topics. Usually an application does not need to customize the partition grouper.


The processing guarantee that should be used. Possible values are "at_least_once" (default) and "exactly_once". Note that if exactly-once processing is enabled, the default for parameter changes to 100ms. Additionally, consumers are configured with isolation.level="read_committed" and producers are configured with retries=Integer.MAX_VALUE, enable.idempotence=true, and per default. Note that by default exactly-once processing requires a cluster of at least three brokers what is the recommended setting for production. For development you can change this, by adjusting broker setting transaction.state.log.replication.factor to the number of broker you want to use. For more details see streams_concepts_processing_guarantees.


This specifies the replication factor of internal topics that Kafka Streams creates when local states are used or a stream is repartitioned for aggregation. Replication is important for fault tolerance. Without replication even a single broker failure may prevent progress of the stream processing application. It is recommended to use a similar replication factor as source topics.

Increase the replication factor to 3 to ensure that the internal Kafka Streams topic can tolerate up to 2 broker failures. Note that you will require more storage space as well (3 times more with the replication factor of 3).


The state directory. Kafka Streams persists local states under the state directory. Each application has a subdirectory on its hosting machine that is located under the state directory. The name of the subdirectory is the application ID. The state stores associated with the application are created under this subdirectory.

Kafka consumers, producer, and admin client configuration parameters

You can specify parameters for the Kafka consumers, producers, and admin client that are used internally. The consumer, producer, and admin client settings are defined by specifying parameters in a StreamsConfig instance.

In this example, the Kafka consumer session timeout is configured to be 60000 milliseconds in the Streams settings:

Properties streamsSettings = new Properties();
// Example of a "normal" setting for Kafka Streams
streamsSettings.put(StreamsConfig.BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS_CONFIG, "kafka-broker-01:9092");
// Customize the Kafka consumer settings of your Streams application
streamsSettings.put(ConsumerConfig.SESSION_TIMEOUT_MS_CONFIG, 60000);
StreamsConfig config = new StreamsConfig(streamsSettings);


Some consumer, producer, and admin client configuration parameters use the same parameter name. For example, send.buffer.bytes and receive.buffer.bytes are used to configure TCP buffers; and control retries for client request. You can avoid duplicate names by prefix parameter names with consumer., producer., or admin. (e.g., consumer.send.buffer.bytes or producer.send.buffer.bytes).

Properties streamsSettings = new Properties();
// same value for consumer and producer
streamsSettings.put("PARAMETER_NAME", "value");
// different values for consumer, producer, and admin client
streamsSettings.put("consumer.PARAMETER_NAME", "consumer-value");
streamsSettings.put("producer.PARAMETER_NAME", "producer-value");
streamsSettings.put("admin.PARAMETER_NAME", "admin-value");
// alternatively, you can use
streamsSettings.put(StreamsConfig.consumerPrefix("PARAMETER_NAME"), "consumer-value");
streamsSettings.put(StreamsConfig.producerPrefix("PARAMETER_NAME"), "producer-value");
streamsSettings.put(StreamsConfig.adminClientPrefix("PARAMETER_NAME"), "admin-value");

Default Values

Kafka Streams uses different default values for some of the underlying client configs, which are summarized below. For detailed descriptions of these configs, see Producer Configs and Consumer Configs.

Parameter Name Corresponding Client Streams Default
auto.offset.reset Global Consumer none (cannot be changed)
auto.offset.reset Restore Consumer none (cannot be changed)
auto.offset.reset Consumer earliest Consumer false Producer 100 Consumer Integer.MAX_VALUE
max.poll.records Consumer 1000
retries Producer 10
rocksdb.config.setter Consumer

The consumer auto commit. To guarantee at-least-once processing semantics and turn off auto commits, Kafka Streams overrides this consumer config value to false. Consumers will only commit explicitly via commitSync calls when the Kafka Streams library or a user decides to commit the current processing state.


The RocksDB configuration. Kafka Streams uses RocksDB as the default storage engine for persistent stores. To change the default configuration for RocksDB, implement RocksDBConfigSetter and provide your custom class via rocksdb.config.setter.

Here is an example that adjusts the memory size consumed by RocksDB.

    public static class CustomRocksDBConfig implements RocksDBConfigSetter {

       public void setConfig(final String storeName, final Options options, final Map<String, Object> configs) {
         // See #1 below.
         BlockBasedTableConfig tableConfig = new org.rocksdb.BlockBasedTableConfig();
         tableConfig.setBlockCacheSize(16 * 1024 * 1024L);
         // See #2 below.
         tableConfig.setBlockSize(16 * 1024L);
         // See #3 below.
         // See #4 below.

Properties streamsSettings = new Properties();
streamsConfig.put(StreamsConfig.ROCKSDB_CONFIG_SETTER_CLASS_CONFIG, CustomRocksDBConfig.class);
Notes for example:
  1. BlockBasedTableConfig tableConfig = new org.rocksdb.BlockBasedTableConfig(); Reduce block cache size from the default, shown here, as the total number of store RocksDB databases is partitions (40) * segments (3) = 120.
  2. tableConfig.setBlockSize(16 * 1024L); Modify the default block size per these instructions from the RocksDB GitHub.
  3. tableConfig.setCacheIndexAndFilterBlocks(true); Do not let the index and filter blocks grow unbounded. For more information, see the RocksDB GitHub.
  4. options.setMaxWriteBufferNumber(2); See the advanced options in the RocksDB GitHub.