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This edition of the Kafka Monthly Digest covers what happened in the Apache Kafka community in December 2021. We will also look back at some of the milestones that the Kafka project and community reached over the past year, and we'll look ahead to two of the most anticipated Kafka features coming in 2022.

For last month’s digest, see Kafka Monthly Digest: November 2021.

Releases: Apache Kafka 3.1.0

The only release in progress at this moment is Apache Kafka 3.1.0.

David Jacot published the 3.1.0 RC0 (Release Candidate 0) on December 23. The vote on this first release candidate is currently ongoing. This release is a bit behind schedule but should be available in early January.

Kafka Improvement Proposals

Last month, the community submitted five KIPs (KIP-806 to KIP-811). Two particularly caught my eye.

Community releases

December brought us a couple of notable open source community project updates:

  • Debezium 1.8: This newest release of the change data capture platform brings numerous improvements to the MongoDB connector. The Debezium UI also now supports configuring SMTs and topic creation options.

  • strimzi-kafka-operator 0.27: Strimzi is a Kubernetes Operator for running Kafka. Strimzi 0.27 brings multi-arch container images with support for AArch64. The ControlPlaneListener feature gate is now enabled by default to have a separate listener for controller-to-broker communications, and a few dependencies such as Cruise Control, Log4j2, and OPA Authorizer have been updated to the latest versions.

Blogs

Check out these interesting blog articles that were published last month:

Kafka project milestones in 2021

As a new year begins, let's look back at some of the milestones Apache Kafka achieved in 2021.

Releases

The Kafka project followed its time-based release plan in 2021. Consequently, it released two versions—2.8.0 and 3.0.0—as well as six bugfix releases: 2.6.1, 2.6.2, 2.6.3, 2.7.1, 2.7.2 and 2.8.1. Figure 1 shows the timeline for these releases.

Figure 1. Kafka releases in 2021 (click to enlarge).

KIPs

In the past 12 months, the community raised 106 KIPs. Figure 2 shows how this compares to previous years.

Figure 2. KIPs raised from 2015 to 2021.

Code and contributors

Over 190 unique contributors made more than 1,200 Kafka commits in 2021. Figure 3 shows the size of the codebase, in lines of code, for a few releases.

Figure 3. Lines of code per Kafka release.

New committers and PMC members

In 2021, three contributors were invited to become Kafka committers:

  • Tom Bentley
  • Bruno Cadonna
  • José Armando García Sancio

These six committers also joined the Apache Kafka project management committee (PMC):

  • Chia-Ping Tsai
  • Bill Bejeck
  • Randall Hauch
  • Konstantine Karantasis
  • Tom Bentley
  • David Jacot

The current roster of committers and PMC members is available on the Kafka website.

What's coming for Kafka in 2022

The Kafka project is still evolving and improving at breakneck speed. Out of the dozens of new features being worked on, the two most awaited features are:

  • KIP-500: Replace ZooKeeper with a Self-Managed Metadata Quorum(KRaft): This is the removal of ZooKeeper. Kafka 2.8.0 introduced KRaft in early access. It is expected to stay in early access for a few more releases to leave time to implement features that are still missing in this mode, such as zero-downtime upgrades (KIP-778) and authorizations (KIP-801) but also to ensure it's tested at scale before being ready for production.
  • KIP-405: Kafka Tiered Storage: This enables storing old segments onto remote storage such as Amazon S3 or Hadoop Distributed File System. This KIP was first proposed in January 2019 and after many discussions, it was finally voted in early 2021! The implementation is currently in progress so expect to hear about it again this year.

Conclusion

To learn more about Kafka, visit Red Hat Developer's Apache Kafka topic page.

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