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From Christofer Hedbrandh <christo...@knewton.com>
Subject Producer fails when old brokers are replaced by new
Date Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:19:26 GMT
Hi all,

I ran into a problem with the Kafka producer when attempting to replace all
the nodes in a 0.8.0 Beta1 Release Kafka cluster, with 0.8.0 Release nodes.
I started a producer/consumer test program to measure the clusters
performance during the process, I added new brokers, I ran
kafka-reassign-partitions.sh, and I removed the old brokers. When I removed
the old brokers my producer failed.

The simplest scenario that I could come up with where I still see this
behavior is this. Using version 0.8.0 Release, we have a 1 partition topic
with 2 replicas on 2 brokers, broker A and broker B. Broker A is taken
down. A producer is started with only broker B in the metadata.broker.list.
Broker A is brought back up. We let
topic.metadata.refresh.interval.msamount of time pass. Broker B is
taken down, and we get
kafka.common.FailedToSendMessageException after all the (many) retries have

During my experimentation I have made sure that the producer fetches meta
data before the old broker is taken down. And I have made sure that enough
retries with enough backoff time were used for the producer to not give up

The documentation for the producer config metadata.broker.list suggests to
me that this list of brokers is only used at startup. "This is for
bootstrapping and the producer will only use it for getting metadata
(topics, partitions and replicas)". And when I read about
topic.metadata.refresh.interval.ms and retry.backoff.ms I learn that meta
data is indeed fetched at later times. Based on this documentation, I make
the assumption that the producer would learn about any new brokers when new
meta data is fetched.

I also want to point out that the cluster seems to work just fine during
this process, it only seems to be a problem with the producer. Between all
these steps I run kafka-list-topic.sh, I try the console producer and
consumer, and everything is as expected.

Also I found another interesting thing when experimenting with running
kafka-preferred-replica-election.sh before taking down the old broker. This
script only causes any changes when the leader and the preferred replica
are different. In the scenario when they are in fact different, and the new
broker takes the role of leader from the old broker, the producer does NOT
fail. This makes me think that perhaps the producer only keeps meta data
about topic leaders and not all replicas, as the documentation suggests to

It is clear that I am making a lot of assumptions here, and I am relatively
new to Kafka so I could very well me missing something important. The way I
see it, there are a few possibilities.

1. Broker discovery is a supposed producer feature, and it has a bug.
2. Broker discovery is not a producer feature, in which case I think many
people might benefit from a clearer documentation.
3. I am doing something dumb e.g. forgetting about some important

Please let me know what you make of this.

Christofer Hedbrandh

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