Migrate Your Kafka Cluster with Minimal Downtime

Streaming Audio: Apache Kafka® & Real-Time Data

Mar 1 2023 • 1 hr 1 min

Migrating Apache Kafka® clusters can be challenging, especially when moving large amounts of data while minimizing downtime. Michael Dunn (Solutions Architect, Confluent) has worked in the data space for many years, designing and managing systems to support high-volume applications. He has helped many organizations strategize, design, and implement successful Kafka cluster migrations between different environments. In this episode, Michael shares some tips about Kafka cluster migration with Kris, including the pros and cons of the different tools he recommends.

Michael explains that there are many reasons why companies migrate their Kafka clusters. For example, they may want to modernize their platforms, move to a self-hosted cloud server, or consolidate clusters. He tells Kris that creating a plan and selecting the right tool before getting started is critical for reducing downtime and minimizing migration risks.

The good news is that a few tools can facilitate moving large amounts of data, topics, schemas, applications, connectors, and everything else from one Apache Kafka cluster to another.

Kafka MirrorMaker/MirrorMaker2 (MM2) is a stand-alone tool for copying data between two Kafka clusters. It uses source and sink connectors to replicate topics from a source cluster into the destination cluster.

Confluent Replicator allows you to replicate data from one Kafka cluster to another. Replicator is similar to MM2, but the difference is that it’s been battle-tested.

Cluster Linking is a powerful tool offered by Confluent that allows you to mirror topics from an Apache Kafka 2.4/Confluent Platform 5.4 source cluster to a Confluent Platform 7+ cluster in a read-only state, and is available as a fully-managed service in Confluent Cloud.

At the end of the day, Michael stresses that coupled with a well-thought-out strategy and the right tool, Kafka cluster migration can be relatively painless. Following his advice, you should be able to keep your system healthy and stable before and after the migration is complete.