Apache Kafka in Open Data Hub

Apache Kafka

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The Open Data Hub is a reference architecture running on OpenShift that incorporates a variety of open source projects to function as an ML-as-a-service platform. Given the huge amounts of data to be ingested and processed, it’s crucial to have a reliable streaming platform. To solve this problem we use Apache Kafka.

Apache Kafka is an open-source stream-processing software platform. It is used for building real-time data pipelines and streaming apps. It is horizontally scalable, fault-tolerant, wicked fast, and runs in production in thousands of companies.

Apache Kafka is a distributed streaming platform. What exactly does that mean? A streaming platform has three key capabilities:

1) Publish and subscribe to streams of records, similar to a message queue or enterprise messaging system. 2) Store streams of records in a fault-tolerant durable way. 3) Process streams of records as they occur.

Kafka is generally used for two broad classes of applications:

Building real-time streaming data pipelines that reliably get data between systems or applications Building real-time streaming applications that transform or react to the streams of data

Strimzi Operator

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Strimzi is based on Apache Kafka, a popular platform for streaming data delivery and processing. Strimzi makes it easy to run Apache Kafka on Kubernetes.

Strimzi provides three operators:

1) Cluster Operator Responsible for deploying and managing Apache Kafka clusters running on a Kubernetes cluster.

2) Topic Operator Responsible for managing Kafka topics within a Kafka cluster running on a Kubernetes cluster.

3) User Operator Responsible for managing Kafka users within a Kafka cluster running on a Kubernetes cluster.


Kafka deployed usind ODH Operator comes pre-configured to expose metrics out of the box which are scraped using Prometheus and Visualized using Grafana. This gives us a holistic view of the Kafka cluster’s health and performance.

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Sample Use Cases

1) Data Ingestion: Internally we have a Kafka deployment for ingesting data and back it up to Elasticsearch and Ceph S3 for analysis using Logstash and s3 Connector. We have 3 Kafka and 3 zookeeper Brokers of 10 Tb each backed by Persistent Volumes with a peak throughput of around 20k messages per second and a sustained rate of ~12k messages per second.

2) Data Streaming: For credit monitoring we have a kafka deployment which ingests credit data as a producer in near-real time and are consumed and sent to the seldon model-serving layer for risk monitoring and fraud detection.