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· 4 min read

Like all good projects in the open source community, great collaborations start with ad hoc interactions.

Redpanda Rocket

A recent set of discussions between the Tremor maintainers and our community brought Redpanda to our attention.

Some of our community would like to replace their Kafka deployments with Redpanda, a Kafka API-compatible streaming data platform, to realize gains in performance and reduce their total cost of operations. . As we already have Kafka connectivity, enabling this shouldn’t be too complex, right? Let’s find out.

Context

We are always looking out for interesting technology, and recently we read a very interesting article on the Redpanda blog about using WASM as server-side filters for subscription. Being as excitable as we are, we obviously had to give Redpanda a shot.

To our joy this turned out to be painless, Redpanda reuses the Kafka API so our existing connectors for Kafka work out of the box — and as a bonus we could get rid of a whole bunch of docker-compose YAML dancing that we needed to set up Zookeeper.

Alex Gallego, founder of Redpanda, reached out to us and we started experimenting with Tremor and Redpanda in this repo: github.com/tremor-rs/tremor-redpanda

Setting up Tremor and Redpanda

So, let’s get our hands dirty and actually connect Redpanda and tremor in a real-world project.

We have prepared a fully equipped workshop for this occasion. Give it a shot here if you are impatient.

Tremor can flexibly act as a Redpanda/Kafka consumer or producer, make use of auto-commit for offset management or manually commit when events are completely handled by the tremor pipeline. Here we are configuring Tremor only committing offsets when events have been successfully handled.

onramp:
- id: redpanda-in
type: kafka
codec: json
config:
brokers:
- redpanda:9092
topics:
- tremor
group_id: redpanda_es_correlation
retry_failed_events: false
rdkafka_options:
enable.auto.commit: false

This tremor application is reporting success or failure of ingesting the received events into elasticsearch via another Redpanda topic. Configuring this is also straightforward, here we have a Redpanda consumer ready for copy-pasting:

offramp:
- id: redpanda-out
type: kafka
codec: json
config:
group_id: tremor-in
brokers:
- redpanda:9092
topic: tremor

Here you go. A fully working setup for orchestrating document ingestion with Redpanda delivering the documents and receiving acknowledgements. For more details check out this Redpanda recipe on our website.

Tremor is designed to be robust when faced with high volumetric data streams. It comes with batteries included for traffic shaping, QoS and data distribution. With those tremor can guarantee at-least-once message delivery. We try to reduce CPU and memory footprint for a given workload and at the same time provide a “just works” experience for operators. And we think we found a soulmate project in Redpanda.

And most importantly, it is working like a charm. In fact we just dropped in Redpanda and expected some hours of troubleshooting, but this hope was cut short by a smooth transition:

104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1     | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.828694200+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::system - Binding onramp tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out
104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1 | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.830056300+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::source::kafka - [Source::tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out] Starting kafka onramp
104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1 | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.831848100+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::source::kafka - [Source::tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out] Subscribing to: ["tremor"]
104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1 | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.832735600+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::source::kafka - [Source::tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out] Subscription initiated...
104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1 | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.833342+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::onramp - Onramp tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out started.
104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1 | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.828694200+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::system - Binding onramp tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out
104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1 | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.830056300+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::source::kafka - [Source::tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out] Starting kafka onramp
104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1 | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.831848100+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::source::kafka - [Source::tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out] Subscribing to: ["tremor"]
104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1 | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.832735600+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::source::kafka - [Source::tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out] Subscription initiated...
104_redpanda_elastic_correlation-tremor_out-1 | 2021-12-10T15:17:01.833342+00:00 INFO tremor_runtime::onramp - Onramp tremor://localhost/onramp/redpanda-in/01/out started.
...

Both in terms of operator friendliness and performance we root for Redpanda.

We started using it in our integration test suite, so users can be 100% sure Redpanda connectivity just works.