Get Started with Kafka

Apache Kafka® is a distributed event streaming platform. This topic provides some links to help you get started using Kafka either on your local computer or in the cloud.

For more about what Kafka is, see Introduction to Kafka. If you want to learn more about how Kafka is designed, and the various architecture decisions that went into designing Kafka, see the Kafka Design Overview section.

Quick start options

There are numerous ways to get started using Kafka. You can:

  • Use Confluent Cloud. With Confluent Cloud, you can run Kafka on the cloud provider of your choice; no downloads required. See the Quick Start for Confluent Cloud to get started.

    This quick start provides steps using the Confluent Cloud Console, the Confluent CLI or REST APIs to create a cluster, topics and move data through the topics. When you use Confluent Cloud, some of the Kafka concerns are abstracted away for you, and you won’t need specialized hardware. It is free to get started with Confluent Cloud.

  • Download and run the community version of Confluent Platform. The Local Confluent Platform Quick Start, shows you how to get started. This quickstart walks you through the steps to download and run Kafka as a part of Confluent Platform. You will create topics and a producer and consumer, all using a command-line interface.

    When you install Confluent Platform, you get Confluent tools, plus all of the Kafka tools as well. The open-source and community features of Confluent Platform are free. To understand the relationship between Confluent Platform and Kafka, see Kafka Basics on Confluent Platform.

  • Download and run the latest Kafka release from the Kafka site. The Apache Quick Start walks you through the steps to download, extract, and run Kafka, using some of the tools described in the Kafka Command-Line Interface (CLI) Tools topic. In addition, you will create a producer and consumer, all using various command-line tools.