Apache Kafka is a popular distributed message broker designed to handle large volumes of real-time data. A Kafka cluster is highly scalable and fault-tolerant. 

It also has a much higher throughput compared to other message brokers like ActiveMQ and RabbitMQ. 

Though it is generally used as a publish/subscribe messaging system, a lot of organizations also use it for log aggregation because it offers persistent storage for published messages.

Here at LinuxAPT, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to perform Apache related queries.

In this context, we shall look into how to install and configure Kafka on Ubuntu 20.04.

How to install Apache Kafka on Ubuntu system ?

To begin with this installation task, you need to access your server as the root user with sudo rights.

Apache Kafka requires Java to be installed on your Ubuntu 20.04 machine. 

Start by updating your OS by the following command:

$ sudo apt update

After the OS is updated, go ahead to install Java:

$ sudo apt install openjdk-11-jre-headless

Then, verify that Java is successfully installed on the system by running the command:

$ java --version

How to Download Kafka on Ubuntu ?

Now, you have to download the Kafka source to your Ubuntu 20.04. It's highly recommended to download it from the official website of Apache Kafka: https://kafka.apache.org/downloads

At the time of writing this article, the latest version is 2.7.0.

You can download it by the following command:

$ cd $HOME
$ wget https://downloads.apache.org/kafka/2.7.0/kafka-2.7.0-src.tgz

Next, create a new folder named as kafka-server in /usr/local directory:

$ sudo mkdir /usr/local/kafka-server

Then extract the downloaded source of Kafka to /usr/local/kafka-server directory:

$ sudo tar xf $HOME/kafka-2.7.0-src.tgz -C /usr/local/kafka-server

Since, you have already extracted Apache Kafka binary files, you can list the files by running:

$ ls /usr/local/kafka-server/kafka-2.7.0-src/bin/

Now, it's time to make Kafka and Zookeeper run as daemons in Ubuntu 20.04. 

To do this, you have to create Systemd unit files for both Kafka and Zookeeper.

How to create Systemd Unit files for Kafka and Zookeeper ?

Start by using your favorite editor to create two files as follows:


Description=Apache Zookeeper Server
Requires=network.target remote-fs.target
After=network.target remote-fs.target
ExecStart=/usr/local/kafka-server/kafka-2.7.0-src/bin/zookeeper-server-start.sh /usr/local/kafka-server/kafka-2.7.0-src/config/zookeeper.properties


Description=Apache Kafka Server
ExecStart=/usr/local/kafka-server/kafka-2.7.0-src/bin/kafka-server-start.sh /usr/local/kafka-server/kafka-2.7.0-src/config/server.properties

In order to apply the changes, the systemd daemons need to be reloaded and you have to enable the services as well:

$ sudo systemctl daemon-reload
$ sudo systemctl enable --now zookeeper.service
$ sudo systemctl enable --now kafka.service
$ sudo systemctl status kafka zookeeper

How to install Cluster Manager for Apache Kafka (CMAK) on Ubuntu ?

Here, we will install the CMAK which stands for Cluster Manager for Apache Kafka. CMAK is an open-source tool for managing and monitoring Kafka services. 

It was originally developed by Yahoo. In order to install CMAK, run the following commands:

$ cd $HOME
$ git clone https://github.com/yahoo/CMAK.git

How to configure CMAK on Ubuntu ?

With your favorite editor, you can modify the CMAK configuration:

$ vim ~/CMAK/conf/application.conf

Here, we will configure the Zookeeper is localhost, let's change the value of cmak.zkhosts as localhost:2181

You can find the cmak.zkhosts at line 28.

Now, you have to create a zip file for the purpose of deploying the application:

$ cd ~/CMAK
$ ./sbt clean dist

It will take about a minute to complete. 

How to start the CMAK service on Ubuntu ?

i. Change into ~/CMAK/target/universal directory and extract the zip file:

$ cd ~/CMAK/target/universal
$ unzip cmak-

ii. After unzip the cmak- file, change to the directory, and execute the cmak binary:

$ cd cmak-
$ bin/cmak

By default, the cmak service will run on port 9000.

Use the web browser and go to http://<ip-server>:9000

When you first access its interface, there will be no available cluster.

iii. Then, We have to add a new one by clicking on Add Cluster on Cluster drop-down list.

iv. Here, we filled up the form with the requested information: Cluster name, Cluster Zookeeper Hosts, Kafka Version and so on.

v. Leave other options with their default values then click Save.

Now the Cluster will be created successfully.

You can now create a sample topic.

vi. Assume that we're going to create a topic named "LinuxAPTTopic". 

Bearing in mind that the CMAK is still running and launch a new terminal then run the following command:

$ cd /usr/local/kafka-server/kafka-2.7.0-src
$ bin/kafka-topics.sh --create --zookeeper localhost:2181 --replication-factor 1 --partitions 1 --topic LinuxAPTTopic

This command will create the topic "LinuxAPTTopic".

vii. Finally, Go to cluster view then click Topic > List.

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