Kafka and Zookeeper


Hermes uses Zookeeper as metadata store. It does not have to be the same Zookeeper as the one used by Kafka. There should be only one Zookeeper cluster in use by all Hermes modules: Frontend, Consumers and Management.

Option in Frontend/Consumers Option in Management Description Default value
zookeeper.connect.string storage.connectionString Zookeeper connection string localhost:2181
zookeeper.connection.timeout storage.connectTimeout connection timeout in seconds 10 000
zookeeper.max.retries storage.retryTimes retry count when connection fails 2
zookeeper.base.sleep.time storage.retrySleep time to wait between subsequent retries in seconds 1 000
zookeeper.root storage.pathPrefix perfix for Hermes data (if not specified in connection string) /hermes
zookeeper.cache.thread.pool.size n/a size of thread pool used by objects cache (like topics, subscriptions etc) 5
zookeeper.authorization.enabled n/a enable Zookeeper authorization false
zookeeper.authorization.scheme storage.authorization.scheme authorization scheme digest
zookeeper.authorization.user storage.authorization.user username user
zookeeper.authorization.password storage.authorization.password password password


Single Kafka cluster

In simple case, Hermes is connected to just one Kafka cluster. Frontend and Consumers connect to Kafka to publish and pull messages. Management connects to Kafka to manage existing topics and initiate retransmissions.

Frontend and Consumers options:

Option Description Default value
kafka.broker.list list of all brokers in the cluster (or at least some contact points); separated with ',' localhost:9092
kafka.namespace namespace is a prefix prepended to all Kafka topics and consumer groups used by Hermes
kafka.zookeeper.connect.string [Consumers only] connection string to Kafka Zookeeper localhost:2181
kafka.cluster.name name of Kafka cluster (relevant only when connecting to multiple clusters) primary

Zookeeper connection specific options (retries etc) are read from Metadata Zookeeper options.

Management module can connect to multiple Kafka clusters at once (see section below), thus when specifying connection option is done per cluster. Simple configuration for single cluster looks following:

  defaultNamespace: // namespace shared by all clusters, default: <empty>
      clusterName: // name of cluster, can be any arbitrary string, default: primary
      connectionString: // connection string to cluster Zookeeper, default: localhost:2181

Multiple Kafka clusters

Hermes can be configured to publish and read messages to/from multiple Kafka clusters. We use this feature on production environment where we have separated kafka clusters in different data centers. If Kafka in one DC fails, whole traffic can be routed to the second DC. This scenario assumes, that Kafka clusters hold different set of messages. There is no support for multiple clusters each holding the same copy of data.

This is the schematics of two data center architecture:

Multi DC schematics

Configuring Frontend and Consumers is easy: use configuration options from previous chapter to connect to given clusters. Remember about specifying proper kafka.cluster.name.

Since Management instances need to know all clusters, their configuration is bit more complex. Example configuration for the schematics provided above:

      clusterName: dc1
      connectionString: kafka-zookeeper:2181/clusters/dc1
      clusterName: dc2
      connectionString: kafka-zookeeper:2181/clusters/dc2

Multiple Hermes on single Kafka cluster

It is also possible to run multiple Hermes clusters on single Kafka cluster, e.g. to separate different test environments. The only requirement is to specify different kafka.namespace option for each Hermes. This might also be used to distinguish Hermes-managed topics on multi-purpose Kafka cluster.clusters