Kowl unlocks interactive Apache Kafka® management and time-travel debugging for real-time data.

ByAlexander GallegoonApril 1, 2022
Redpanda acquires CloudHut, adds Kowl to its streaming data platform

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We’re excited to announce that Redpanda is acquiring CloudHut, makers of Kowl, the popular web UI for streaming data platforms.

Since our beginning we’ve focused on the last mile – the developer experience. We’ve been obsessed with building simple, beautiful products that developers love to use – whether it’s automatically figuring out the maximum number of IOPS with rpk, dynamically adjusting the number of threads to the cores with Redpanda, or operationalizing rolling upgrades with the Kubernetes Operator.

However great experiences need to be end-to-end, and we found that we were missing a UI tool that makes development with streaming data more accessible to all developers. Kowl fills the gap by giving developers a simple, interactive approach for gaining visibility into their Apache Kafka® topics, managing their consumer groups, and exploring real-time data with time-travel debugging. Kowl shortens the time it takes to find and resolve problems in production with Schema Registry visualization, consumer offset statistics, ACL debugging and message introspection on any Kafka API-compatible cluster.

For Kowl users, this acquisition creates a co-design of the future of streaming with deeply integrated Redpanda extensions like WebAssembly transforms, tiered storage data exploration, intelligent data rebalancing, node decommissioning, cluster expansion, scale to zero, ephemeral clusters and more. We are renaming Kowl to Redpanda Console and it will become the new base for all future UI development for the Redpanda platform.

While we’re acquiring Kowl, we are continuing to support all Apache Kafka installations that Kowl currently supports and Kowl users should see no disruption during the transition. Open source Kowl will continue to be free and the license will migrate to BSL (see May 02, 2022 edits). The code will remain on GitHub as the main development repo.

Kowl Business will no longer be available as a stand-alone enterprise product. Existing users of Kowl (free edition), will continue to have access to its features for free via Redpanda Console.

If you’re part of the Kowl Discord community, please join Redpanda Community Slack. Please join us in #kowl channel there.

We’d like to note that in addition to Kowl we also acquired Kminion, the most popular Kafka-to-Prometheus metric exporter. Kminion will continue to be maintained and will continue to be Apache 2. Thousands of companies around the world rely on Kminion to monitor their existing Apache Kafka installations. If you use Docker, please change the upstream Docker repo to consume from the Redpanda Docker registry.

If you are eager to get started, try the following docker-compose file on your laptop (in the future, Kowl repositories will be found in Redpanda’s GitHub).

version: '3.7' services: redpanda: image: vectorized/redpanda:v21.11.11 command: - redpanda start - --smp 1 - --overprovisioned - --node-id 0 - --kafka-addr PLAINTEXT://0.0.0.0:29092,OUTSIDE://0.0.0.0:9092 - --advertise-kafka-addr PLAINTEXT://redpanda:29092,OUTSIDE://localhost:9092 - --pandaproxy-addr 0.0.0.0:8082 - --advertise-pandaproxy-addr localhost:8082 ports: - 8081:8081 - 8082:8082 - 9092:9092 - 29092:29092 kowl: image: quay.io/cloudhut/kowl:master-1d07695 entrypoint: /bin/sh command: -c "echo \"$$KOWL_CONFIG_FILE\" > /tmp/config.yml; /app/kowl" environment: CONFIG_FILEPATH: /tmp/config.yml KOWL_CONFIG_FILE: | kafka: brokers: ["redpanda:29092"] schemaRegistry: enabled: true urls: ["http://redpanda:8081"] connect: enabled: true clusters: - name: dbz url: http://debezium:8083 ports: - 8080:8080 depends_on: - redpanda owl-shop: #image: quay.io/cloudhut/owl-shop:v1.2.0 image: quay.io/cloudhut/owl-shop:latest environment: # - SHOP_KAFKA_BROKERS=localhost:9092 - SHOP_KAFKA_BROKERS=redpanda:29092 - SHOP_KAFKA_TOPICREPLICATIONFACTOR=1 - SHOP_TRAFFIC_INTERVAL_RATE=1 - SHOP_TRAFFIC_INTERVAL_DURATION=0.1s depends_on: - redpanda debezium: image: debezium/connect:1.9 hostname: debezium depends_on: - redpanda ports: - "8083:8083" environment: BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS: 'redpanda:29092' GROUP_ID: dbz-connect-group REST_ADVERTISED_HOST_NAME: debezium CONFIG_STORAGE_TOPIC: dbz-connect-configs OFFSET_STORAGE_TOPIC: dbz-connect-offsets STATUS_STORAGE_TOPIC: dbz-connect-status

CloudHut’s Martin and Moritz and I are excited to partner on this journey. It takes a village to build anything meaningful and streaming is no exception. We couldn’t be more energized about the future of what we are building. If you are interested in partnering with us on our mission, this is your official invite – visit our careers page.


May 02, 2022 Edit: Originally we were not thinking of adding additional editing features for Kowl (now called Redpanda Console). Instead, we are opting to make the product better and add additional features to Kowl such as creating topics, editing acls, configuration editing, etc. to create a more comprehensive UI that users can use for free. With this change, we updated the license from Apache 2.0 to BSL. Other enterprise UIs based on Kowl are welcome to use the Apache 2.0 history. New Redpanda Console features and bug fixes will use BSL going forward. Note that code licensed under BSL becomes available as Apache 2.0 in 4 years.

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