Kafka Producer

An Apache Kafka® Producer is a client application that publishes (writes) events to a Kafka cluster. This section gives an overview of the Kafka producer and an introduction to the configuration settings for tuning.


The Kafka producer is conceptually much simpler than the consumer since it does not need group coordination. A producer partitioner maps each message to a topic partition, and the producer sends a produce request to the leader of that partition. The partitioners shipped with Kafka guarantee that all messages with the same non-empty key will be sent to the same partition.


If you explicitly set the partition field when creating a ProducerRecord, the default behavior described in this section will be overridden.

If the key is provided, the partitioner will hash the key with murmur2 algorithm and divide it by the number of partitions. The result is that the same key is always assigned to the same partition. If a key is not provided, the partition is assigned with awareness to batching. If a batch of records is not full and has not yet been sent to the broker, it will select the same partition as a prior record Partitions for newly created batches are assigned randomly. For more information, see KIP-480: Sticky Partitioner and the related Confluent blog post.

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 (that is, 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.

Kafka Producer Configuration

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

Core Configuration

These settings are the same for Java, C/C++, Python, Go and .NET clients.

  • bootstrap.servers: You are required to set this property so that the producer can find the Kafka cluster.
  • client.id: Optional, but you should set this property on each instance because it enables you to more easily correlate requests on the broker with the client instance which made it, which can be helpful in debugging and troubleshooting scenarios. You can also use client IDs to enforce client quotas. For more information, see client quotas.

Message Durability

  • acks: You can control the durability of messages written to Kafka through this setting. The default value of all guarantees that not only will the partition leader accept the write, but it will be successfully replicated to all of the in-sync replicas. A value of 1 requires an explicit acknowledgement from the partition leader that the write succeeded. A value of 0 maximizes throughput, but you will have no guarantee that the message was successfully written to the broker’s log since the broker does not send a response. 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. This setting 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, this can change depending on some settings.

  • retries: This setting enables message retries when set to a value larger than 0 (which is the default). If retries are enabled, message reordering can occur since the retry might occur after a following write succeeded.
  • max.in.flight.requests.per.connection: To enable retries without reordering, set this property to 1. This helps 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.

  • batch.size: Use with the Java client to control the maximum size in bytes of each message batch.

  • linger.ms: Use this setting to give more time for batches to fill by delaying the producer sending.

  • compression.type: Enable compression with this setting. Compression covers full message batches, so larger batches will typically mean a higher compression ratio. When using snappy compression, you need write access to the /tmp directory. If you don’t have write access to the /tmp directory because it’s set to noexec, pass in a directory path for snappy that you have write access to:

  • batch.num.messages - Use with the C/C++, Python, Go and .NET clients to set a limit on the number of messages contained in each batch.

Queuing Limit

  • buffer.memory: Use 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.
  • request.timeout.ms: Set a timeout to avoid keeping records queued indefinitely. 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.
  • queue.buffering.max.messages: Limits 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.

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