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Sharing is Caring: Toward Creating Self-tuning Multi-tenant Kafka

« Kafka Summit 2020

Deploying Kafka to support multiple teams or even an entire company has many benefits. It reduces operational costs, simplifies onboarding of new applications as your adoption grows, and consolidates all your data in one place. However, this makes applications sharing the cluster vulnerable to any one or few of them taking all cluster resources. The combined cluster load also becomes less predictable, increasing the risk of overloading the cluster and data unavailability.

In this talk, we will describe how to use quota framework in Apache Kafka to ensure that a misconfigured client or unexpected increase in client load does not monopolize broker resources. You will get a deeper understanding of bandwidth and request quotas, how they get enforced, and gain intuition for setting the limits for your use-cases.

While quotas limit individual applications, there must be enough cluster capacity to support the combined application load. Onboarding new applications or scaling the usage of existing applications may require manual quota adjustments and upfront capacity planning to ensure high availability.

We will describe the steps we took toward solving this problem in Confluent Cloud, where we must immediately support unpredictable load with high availability. We implemented a custom broker quota plugin (KIP-257) to replace static per broker quota allocation with dynamic and self-tuning quotas based on the available capacity (which we also detect dynamically). By learning our journey, you will have more insights into the relevant problems and techniques to address them.

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