Kafka 101

Learn about the fundamentals of Apache Kafka. This tutorial covers basic concepts of Kafka and its components.

What are consumers?

Each message published to a topic is delivered to a consumer that has subscribed to that topic. A consumer can read data from any offset within a topic partition. In most cases, a consumer advances its offset linearly, but it could start at any offset and read messages in any order. The consumer will typically “commit” its offset back to the Apache Kafka cluster so the consumer can resume from where it left off, for example, in case it restarts.

Each consumer belongs to a consumer group, a list of consumer instances that ensures fault tolerance and scalable message processing. When a consumer group contains only one consumer, that consumer is responsible for processing all messages of all partitions. With multiple consumers in a group, each consumer receives messages from only a subset of the partitions. Thus, if you add more consumers to a consumer group than the number of partitions for a topic, the extra consumers stay idle without receiving any messages.

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