Important Kafka Performance Metrics To Monitor

Apache Kafka has become the preferred infrastructure in managing the increasing volume of data flow and processing needed by modern businesses. Kafka’s reliability, speed, and scalability resulted in early adopters like Netflix while capturing the attention of small to medium firms. 

Kafka is an asynchronous messaging infrastructure made up of 3 components: producer, consumer, and broker. Often, brokers are allocated in clusters residing in different servers. The broker contains multiple topics, which are arranged in a partition. 

Producers and consumers publish and retrieve messages from partitions that are spread evenly over the clusters. Each partition is replicated over a factor determined by the system administrator to ensure data availability when a partition breaks down. One partition is automatically assigned as a leader, while others, which function as followers, merely copy the content of the leader.

To ensure that the clusters and partitions function cohesively, Kafka relies on an Apache-built software named Zookeeper. The Zookeeper manages the partition within the clusters and synchronizes changes across the infrastructure. 

Why Should You Monitor Kafka Metrics?

At a glance, Kafka’s non-dependence in the interaction between the producer and consumer means that the risk of a bottleneck is reduced. However, real-life applications of Kafka have proved that the infrastructure isn’t perfect and is dependent on internal and external factors that may overwhelm the message delivery.

There are instances where the partitions failed to replicate, or insufficient copies of replicas are produced. Such instances jeopardized the fault-tolerant properties of Kafka, as a server breakdown could result in data loss. 

Another concern that bugged Kafka deployment is the issue with consumer lag. Consumer lag is an instance where the producer is publishing messages at a rate where consumers failed to keep up with. For organizations that rely on delivering ‘fresh data’ to the consumer feeds, the increasing lag offset between consumer and producer defeats the purpose of a real-time system. 

If you’re adopting the Kafka infrastructure for your organization’s needs, you need to be aware of the overall performance of the brokers, producers, and consumers. It will be a pain to wake up to a server crash and discover that you’ve lost a sizable amount of data. 

Keeping an eye on the key Kafka metrics and setting up alerts for subsequent actions is vital to ensure that the Kafka setup is running in good health. You’ll want to be on the know if any anomalies pop up within the Kafka clusters.


If you would like to learn about the rest of the key metrics needed to evaluate and improve Kafka performance, you can download the whitepaper below!

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