Apache Kafka Review

Good scalability and excellent for storing data used for analytics but lacks a user interface

What is our primary use case?

We are currently using this solution on our cloud-based clusters.

How has it helped my organization?

We use Kafka as part of our services. Our product (cloud clusters) has many components and Kafka is one of them.

For example, we use Kafka as a data integration tool. If you take Oracle GoldenGate as a typical use case, what happens is GoldenGate collects the data for the replication and sends this data to the Kafka servers. We collect the data on the Kafka servers, and we create some transformations, some operations, from that data. We then copy the data to the HTTP or hub site.

Previously, when I worked at Nokia, we were collected data using Kafka and then we stored the data on the Kafka servers. We did all transformations through Kafka streaming. Later, Kafka moved data over to the HP site. 

What is most valuable?

Kafka has a good storage layer on its side. I can store this data if it's streaming, and, if we do encounter any error, for example, on the network or server, we can later use the data to do some analytics on it using the Kafka server.

Kafka provides us with a way to store the data used for analytics. That's the big selling point. There's very good log management. 

Kafka provides many APIs that can be flexible and can be placed or expanded using the development life cycle. For example, using Java, I can customize the API according to our customers' demands. I can expand the functionality according to our customer demands as well. It's also possible to create some models. It allows for more flexibility than much of the competition.

What needs improvement?

If the graphical user interface was easier for the Kafka administration it would be much better. Right now, you need to use the program with a command-line interface. If the graphical user interface was easier, it could be a better product.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for more than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution can be quite stable. We haven't encountered any issues on the Kafka side. However, Creating custom stabilizations would be good for dealing with stabilizing issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution is very good. You can analyze system events horizontally and the cluster can be brought over to the cloud side with the Kafka user's server.

We use the solution for both small and medium-sized organizations, but also larger enterprises. Some of our clients are in the banking and financial sector.

How are customer service and technical support?

Officially, I did not create any Kafka support tasks on the configuration support that is offered. I have created some questions on the stack overflow, however. Technical support is very good and I've found their response is very quick, giving you an answer within a day.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't previously use a different solution. We did some applications with Java for the consumer content but not the application function within that. We did objects instead.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup isn't too complex. I know Kafka very well and don't find it to be overly difficult. There's also very good documentation which users can take advantage of.

Deployment, including security integration, only took about one day.

Two people handled the deployment. One person created the authentification group and after creating groups and users, another handled topic authentification and user definition for the customer.

What about the implementation team?

I handled the implementation for cloud-based clusters. I defined the broker nodes and other nodes for Kafka. We are a cloud integrator, so we handled it ourselves.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm unaware of the costs surrounding licensing and setup.

What other advice do I have?

We're using the 2.1.30 version of the solution for our cloud-based clusters. We use the on-premises deployment model. Most customers use the on-premise solution for cloud-based clusters.

Kafka is a very good solution for log management. If you need anything done related to log management, Kafka can do it. Kafka can also store the data in the brokers. This prevents data loss as well as the duplication of data. It's quite comprehensive.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten. If the solution could provide a user interface I'd rate it higher. This is important for managing Kafka's clusters on the administration side. It would also be helpful if two to three files could be minimized to one configuration file.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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