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Balance Your Data Across Apache Kafka Partitions

¬ę Current 2022

Apache Kafka is a distributed system. At the heart of Apache Kafka is a set of brokers, which allow to store the records persistently across different topics. Topics, in turn, are split into partitions. Dividing topics into such pieces allows us to use data from multiple partitions in parallel, so that producers and consumers can work with data simultaneously and achieve higher data throughput.

Such parallelisation is the key to a performant cluster, however it comes with a price. The thing is, reading from multiple partitions will eventually mess up the order of records, meaning that the resulting order will be different from when the data was pushed into the cluster.

This happens because when consuming data from multiple partitions, the order of partitions is not guaranteed. Instead, we must rely on the order of the records within a single partition, where the data is guaranteed to maintain the original sequence. We need to use this characteristic of Apache Kafka to our advantage in those cases where the ordering of the records is important for our system.

Therefore, when building our product architecture we should carefully weigh up how we will balance records across partitions and what mechanisms we will use to ensure that the sequence of the messages remains correct when data is read by multiple consumers.

In this talk we'll discuss mechanisms you can use to balance your data, such as keys, composite message key, role of hashing, custom partitions and other things you need to keep in mind when splitting data across partitions.

If you are fresh to Apache Kafka, or you're looking for good practices to design your topics and avoid common pitfalls, you'll find this session useful!

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