Kafka Connect is a tool for scalably and reliably streaming data between Apache Kafka® and other data systems. It makes it simple to quickly define connectors that move large data sets into and out of Kafka. Kafka Connect can ingest entire databases or collect metrics from all your application servers into Kafka topics, making the data available for stream processing with low latency. An export connector can deliver data from Kafka topics into secondary indexes like Elasticsearch or into batch systems such as Hadoop for offline analysis.
You can learn more about Kafka Connect in the free Kafka Connect 101 course.
What is Kafka Connect?¶
Kafka Connect is a free, open-source component of Apache Kafka® that works as a centralized data hub for simple data integration between databases, key-value stores, search indexes, and file systems. The information provided here is specific to Kafka Connect for Confluent Platform. For information about Confluent Cloud connectors, see Connect External Systems to Confluent Cloud.
Confluent Cloud offers pre-built, fully managed, Kafka connectors that make it easy to instantly connect to popular data sources and sinks. With a simple GUI-based configuration and elastic scaling with no infrastructure to manage, Confluent Cloud connectors make moving data in and out of Kafka an effortless task, giving you more time to focus on application development. For information about Confluent Cloud connectors, see Connect External Systems to Confluent Cloud.
The benefits of Kafka Connect include:
- Data Centric Pipeline – Connect uses meaningful data abstractions to pull or push data to Kafka.
- Flexibility and Scalability – Connect runs with streaming and batch-oriented systems on a single node (standalone) or scaled to an organization-wide service (distributed).
- Reusability and Extensibility – Connect leverages existing connectors or extends them to tailor to your needs and provides lower time to production.
Kafka Connect is focused on streaming data to and from Kafka, making it simpler for you to write high quality, reliable, and high performance connector plugins. Kafka Connect also enables the framework to make guarantees that are difficult to achieve using other frameworks. Kafka Connect is an integral component of an ETL pipeline, when combined with Kafka and a stream processing framework.
How Kafka Connect Works¶
You can deploy Kafka Connect as a standalone process that runs jobs on a single machine (for example, log collection), or as a distributed, scalable, fault-tolerant service supporting an entire organization. Kafka Connect provides a low barrier to entry and low operational overhead. You can start small with a standalone environment for development and testing, and then scale up to a full production environment to support a large organization’s data pipeline.
Kafka Connect includes two types of connectors:
- Source connector – Ingests entire databases and streams table updates to Kafka topics. A source connector can also collect metrics from all your application servers and store these in Kafka topics, making the data available for stream processing with low latency.
- Sink connector – Delivers data from Kafka topics into secondary indexes such as Elasticsearch, or batch systems such as Hadoop for offline analysis.
To deploy Kafka Connect in your environment, see How to Use Kafka Connect - Get Started.