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Apache Kafka Offset Example Usage

Apache Kafka, commonly known as Kafka, is a free and open-source distributed messaging system that allows us to send the messages between different applications and microservices. In addition, Kafka enables us to stream the data in near real-time, making it very efficient for fast-moving data such as real-time geolocation updates, etc.

One of the critical features of Kafka is its ability to handle large volumes of data which is made possible by the use of consumer groups and consumer offsets.

What Is a Kafka Consumer Group?

A consumer group refers to one or more consumers that work together to consume the messages within a set of topics.

Each consumer within a consumer group is allocated with a specific subset of partitions for a given topic. The consumer then consumes all the messages that are allocated to that partition. The consumer group ensures that each message is consumed only once across all the consumers in the group.

One effective use of consumer groups is that they allow the scaling of the consumption of the data that is stored within the Kafka cluster. Hence, having multiple consumers within a group can increase the overall throughput of the data that is consumed from the broker.

Additionally, consumer groups provide a failover mechanism if one of the consumers in the group fails. If a consumer within a group fails, the other consumers can continue consuming the data from the partitions that are previously assigned to the failed consumer.

What Are Kafka Offsets?

To ensure that each consumer within the group is processing the messages in the allocated partition in an effective manner, Kafka uses the consumer offsets.

A consumer offset is a unique identifier which is assigned to each message within a partition. The offset value allows the Kafka broker to constantly track which messages have been consumed, by which consumer, and which messages have not been consumed.

Each consumer group has its own set of consumer offsets. These offsets represent the last message that was successfully assigned from each partition to that consumer group.

To ensure the data persistency, the offsets from each consumer group are committed to the Kafka broker in a defined period. This allows the message consumption to resume even in the event of failure.

Before a consumer can read any message within a group, it must first check its set of offsets to verify the last consumed messages. It then requests the messages from the Kafka broker, starting with the last recorded offset value. This ensures that each consumer within the group consumes only the messages that have not already been processed. This prevents errors and duplicates of values within the cluster.

Why Use the Kafka Consumer Offsets

Kafka consumer offsets play a very important role in consumer applications and the data within a given broker. Some of the advantages of using Kafka consumer brokers include:

  1. Consumer offsets allow the consumers to resume processing from where they left off in case of a failure or restart.
  2. They enables load balancing between multiple consumers within a group.
  3. They play a role in preventing the duplicate message processing by ensuring that each message is processed only once.
  4. Consumer offsets also provide fine-grained control over the consumption of messages by allowing the consumers to specify the exact offset to start consuming from.
  5. They also facilitate the real-time data processing by enabling the consumers to process the messages as they arrive in the Kafka topic.
  6. Kafka consumer offsets can also help monitor and troubleshoot the Kafka ecosystem by providing visibility into the progress of each consumer.
  7. Finally, they allow for efficient management of consumer groups, making it easy to add or remove the consumers as needed without disrupting the overall consumption of the data from Kafka.

These are the advantages of using the Kafka consumer offset values in consumer groups.


We explored what Kafka consumer groups are, how they work, and the role of Kafka consumer group offsets in Kafka message consumption.

We hope that this tutorial helped you understand the use of consumer offsets in consumer applications. Feel free to dive deeper by referencing the Kafka documentation.

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Source: linuxhint.com

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