What is AWS Managed Service Kafka?

Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka (Amazon MSK) is a fully managed service that enables you to build and run applications that use Apache Kafka to process streaming data. Amazon MSK provides the control-plane operations, such as those for creating, updating, and deleting clusters. It lets you use Apache Kafka data-plane operations, such as those for producing and consuming data. It runs open-source versions of Apache Kafka. This means existing applications, tooling, and plugins from partners and the Apache Kafka community are supported without requiring changes to application code. You can use Amazon MSK to create clusters that use any of the supported Apache Kafka versions.

AWS Managed Service Kafka architecture demonstrates the interaction between the following components:

Broker nodes - When creating an Amazon MSK cluster, you specify how many broker nodes you want Amazon MSK to create in each Availability Zone. In the example cluster shown in this diagram, there's one broker per Availability Zone. Each Availability Zone has its own virtual private cloud (VPC) subnet.

ZooKeeper nodes - Amazon MSK also creates the Apache ZooKeeper nodes for you. Apache ZooKeeper is an open-source server that enables highly reliable distributed coordination.

Producers, consumers, and topic creators - Amazon MSK lets you use Apache Kafka data-plane operations to create topics and to produce and consume data.

Cluster Operations - You can use the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI), or the APIs in the SDK to perform control-plane operations. For example, you can create or delete an Amazon MSK cluster, list all the clusters in an account, view the properties of a cluster, and update the number and type of brokers in a cluster.

Why Monitor AWS Managed Service Kafka?

Amazon MSK detects and automatically recovers from the most common failure scenarios for clusters so that the producer and consumer applications can continue their write and read operations with minimal impact. When Amazon MSK detects a broker failure, it mitigates the failure or replaces the unhealthy or unreachable broker with a new one. In addition, where possible, it reuses the storage from the older broker to reduce the data that Apache Kafka needs to replicate. The availability impact is limited to the time required for Amazon MSK to complete the detection and recovery. After a recovery, the producer and consumer apps can continue to communicate with the same broker IP addresses that they used before the failure.

The requests from producers/consumers to the brokers and the responses from the broker to the producer/consumers should be monitored to ensure the AWS Managed Service Kafka is communicating efficiently. Kafka's request rate could rise as producers send more traffic.By closely monitoring the target AWS Managed Service Kafka, administrators can be proactively alerted to issues in the communication between producers, consumers and brokers that could affect the overall performance of the target system.