How to Install Apache Kafka on RHEL-Based Distributions

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Scenario

Picture multiple computers or systems communicating by sending messages, which could be updates, notifications, or data. Instead of each computer directly communicating with the others, they use Kafka as an intermediary to simplify the process.

What is Apache Kafka?

Apache Kafka is an open-source distributed message-steaming platform that uses a publish and subscribe mechanism to stream records in a distributed and scalable manner.

It was originally created by LinkedIn and later donated to an Apache software foundation. Today, it is maintained by Confluent within the Apache Software Foundation.

It is often used in modern data architectures for building data pipelines, ingesting, storing, and processing large volumes of data in real-time, and ensuring fault tolerance through multiple replicas, similar to HDFS.

Apache Kafka traditionally used Apache ZooKeeper for distributed coordination and management. However, in later versions, Kafka introduced its own internal metadata management system, reducing its dependency on ZooKeeper.

In this article, you will learn about the use case of Apache Kafka, its installation on Red Hat-based distributions like Fedora or CentOS, and a few practical examples of its usage.

Tutorial Details

DescriptionApache Kafka
Difficulty LevelModerate
Root or Sudo PrivilegesNo
OS CompatibilityRed Hat, Fedora, CentOS, Alma Linux
PrerequisitesJava
Internet RequiredYes

Use Case of Apache Kafka

Here are a few situations in which Apache Kafka could be your solution:

  • Real-time data streaming and processing
  • Log aggregation and data pipeline construction
  • Event sourcing in microservices architectures
  • Monitoring and tracking user activity and application metrics
  • IoT (Internet of Things) data collection and processing
  • Clickstream data processing for analytics

How to Install Apache Kafka on RHEL-Based Systems

Before installing Apache Kafka on a Linux system, you should know that the package names may vary depending on your Linux distribution. In this example, I’ll provide instructions for installing Kafka on RHEL-based distributions like Fedora, CentOS, Alma Linux, etc.

Step 1: Download and Install Java

To ensure smooth operation of Apache Kafka on your Linux system, it is essential to have Java JDK installed. You can easily accomplish this by installing the latest Java version through the DNF package manager.

$ sudo dnf install java-latest-openjdk -y

After the installation, you can verify the Java version by running:

$ java -version

Output:

Checking the Java version on Fedora

Step 2: Download and Extract Apache Kafka

Visit the Apache Kafka download page (https://kafka.apache.org/downloads) and choose the latest version to download, as shown:

Downloading latest version of scala binary from official site

Alternately, you can use the following wget command to download the current Scala 2.13 version directly and extract it:

$ wget https://downloads.apache.org/kafka/3.5.1/kafka_2.13-3.5.1.tgz
$ tar -xzf kafka_2.13-3.5.1.tgz

Output:

Downloading and extracting apache kafka archive file

Step 3: Add Kafka Bin Directory to your System Path

If you skip this part, then you have to manually navigate to the Kafka bin directory each time you want to run services, which can be both frustrating and time-consuming.

To simplify the process, consider adding the Kafka bin directory to your system path by running.

$ mv kafka_2.13-3.5.1/ kafka/                                                                                         #Renaming the directory to kafka
$ echo "export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/kafka/bin" >> ~/.bash_profile                   #Adding the binary path to your system path using shell profile
$ source ~/.bash_profile                                                                                                 #Reloading the shell profile information

Output:

Adding the kakfa bin directory to the system path with help of shell profile

Now, the entire contents of the Kafka bin directory are easily accessible from any location.

Step 4: Start ZooKeeper

The older Kafka versions used Apache ZooKeeper for distributed coordination, whereas the newer versions have introduced their own internal metadata management system, eliminating the need for ZooKeeper.

If you’re using a version of Kafka that still relies on ZooKeeper, you can start it with the following command by using its default properties:

$ zookeeper-server-start.sh $HOME/kafka/config/zookeeper.properties

Output:

Running ZooKeeper single node cluster using its default properties

Verify the accessibility of the Zookeeper by attempting a telnet connection to port 2181.

$ telnet localhost 2181

Output:

Confirming that zookeeper is running using telnet command

Step 5: Start the Apache Kafka Server

You can launch the Apache Kafka server immediately using its default settings by executing the following command:

$ kafka-server-start.sh $HOME/kafka/config/server.properties

Output:

Running Apache Kafka server using its default properties

If you encounter the following error during your Kafka server’s execution:

kafka.zookeeper.ZooKeeperClientTimeoutException: Timed out waiting for connection while in state: CONNECTING
	at kafka.zookeeper.ZooKeeperClient.waitUntilConnected(ZooKeeperClient.scala:258)
	at kafka.zookeeper.ZooKeeperClient.<init>(ZooKeeperClient.scala:116)
	at kafka.zk.KafkaZkClient$.apply(KafkaZkClient.scala:2266)
	at kafka.zk.KafkaZkClient$.createZkClient(KafkaZkClient.scala:2358)
	at kafka.server.KafkaServer.initZkClient(KafkaServer.scala:634)
	at kafka.server.KafkaServer.startup(KafkaServer.scala:221)
	at kafka.Kafka$.main(Kafka.scala:113)
	at kafka.Kafka.main(Kafka.scala)
[2023-09-23 11:01:00,932] INFO shutting down (kafka.server.KafkaServer)

Then make sure that ZooKeeper is running before you start Apache Kafka Server, and confirm that it remains operational.

Next, confirm the accessibility of Kafka by performing a telnet connection test to port 9092.

$ telnet localhost 9092

Output:

Confirming that kafka server is running using telnet command

Step 6: Create a Kafka Topic (optional)

You can create a topic to test your Kafka installation. Replace “<topic-name>” with the desired topic name (let’s say “linuxtldr“) from the following command:

$ kafka-topics.sh --create --bootstrap-server localhost:9092 --replication-factor 1 --partitions 1 --topic <topic-name>

Output:

Creating a test topic in apache kafka

To list the topics that have been created in Apache Kafka, run:

$ kafka-topics.sh --list --bootstrap-server localhost:9092

Output:

Listing topic created in apache kafka

Step 7: Produce and Consume Messages (optional)

You can use Kafka command-line tools to produce and consume messages on the same topic (created previously). For example, to produce a message, run:

πŸ“
Do not forget to replace the “linuxtldr” with the actual topic name you used to create in the previous example.
$ kafka-console-producer.sh --broker-list localhost:9092 --topic linuxtldr

Output:

Launching kafka produce prompt

In another terminal tab, you can consume a message by running:

$ kafka-console-consumer.sh --bootstrap-server localhost:9092 --topic linuxtldr --from-beginning

Output:

Launching kafka consume prompt

That’s it. You have successfully started Kafka produce and consume, which can be used in various scenarios, like sending real-time data streams from various sources, and its consumers can use it to process and react to these streams in applications ranging from log aggregation to IoT data processing and event-driven microservices.

Final Word

I hope you find this article useful. If you have any questions or queries related to the topic, feel free to ask them in the comment section.

Till then, peace!

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