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Kafka monitoring tools

Apache Kafka® emerged as a critical component in modern distributed systems, revolutionizing how data is processed, stored, and distributed across various applications. As an open-source distributed event streaming platform, it still plays a pivotal role in efficiently handling vast volumes of data in real-time.

Ensuring optimal performance is vital for maintaining smooth operations within distributed systems. Modern-day data ecosystem runs on a massive scale, so effective monitoring is essential for Kafka to operate at its best. Monitoring helps identify and resolve issues promptly, ensuring smooth data streaming and preventing downtime. Organizations optimize Kafka's capabilities by proactively monitoring performance and resource utilization to maintain data integrity and security.

In this article, we look into some of the critical Kafka metrics that are prime candidates for monitoring. We also introduce various tools available for monitoring and discuss their features.


Key strength


Prometheus with Kafka Exporter

Excellent metric visualization and querying capabilities.

Requires additional components for alerting.


Specializes in monitoring Kafka consumer lag.

Limited support for monitoring other Kafka metrics.

Confluent Control Center

Comprehensive cluster management and monitoring.

Part of the Confluent Platform and may have licensing costs.

AWS CloudWatch

Seamless integration with AWS services and Kafka on AWS.

Not suitable for self-hosted Kafka. Limited support for custom Kafka metrics and complex queries.


Offers integration with various monitoring and logging systems.

High costs.

Importance of Kafka monitoring

Real-time monitoring enables immediate awareness of any anomalies or irregularities in Kafka's performance. It allows the early detection of replication issues, broker failures, or potential data inconsistencies, allowing immediate corrective action.

By continuously analyzing key performance metrics like throughput, latency, and message processing rates, administrators identify issues such as sudden traffic spikes, increased consumer lag, or resource bottlenecks as they occur. They can make informed adjustments to enhance Kafka's efficiency.

Monitoring Kafka aids in identifying resource-intensive operations and optimizing resource allocation, ensuring smooth and balanced data processing.

Existing challenges

Monitoring Kafka is paramount in modern distributed systems but comes with unique challenges stemming from its distributed and scalable nature.

Distributed architecture

Collecting and consolidating monitoring data from multiple brokers and partitions across nodes is complex. You require specialized tools for unified analysis.

Dynamic scaling

Kafka's ability to scale dynamically demands monitoring solutions that adapt to changes in the infrastructure, auto-discover new nodes, and handle distributed workloads effectively.

High data throughput

Efficiently processing and analyzing massive data streams in real time without introducing additional latency is essential for effective monitoring.

Latency considerations

Striking a balance between real-time insights and system impact is crucial to avoid disrupting Kafka's operations during monitoring.

Given the technical challenges associated with monitoring Kafka in real-time due to its distributed and scalable nature, the significance of real-time monitoring becomes even more pronounced. With real-time insights, organizations proactively identify and resolve performance issues, ensuring smooth data streaming, minimizing downtime, and maximizing Kafka's potential in modern distributed systems.

Key metrics for assessing Kafka performance

Several critical metrics are crucial in alerting users to potential problems, enabling timely intervention, and maintaining optimal system performance.

Cluster metrics

Monitor CPU, memory, and file descriptors to detect broker health and availability and resource bottlenecks.

Broker CPU Usage: 'kafka.server:type=BrokerTopicMetrics,name=TotalTimeMs'
Broker Memory Usage: 'kafka.server:type=BrokerTopicMetrics,name=TotalTimeMs'
Broker File Descriptors: 'kafka.server:type=ReplicaManager,name=LeaderCount'

Under replicated partitions are those partitions that do not have enough replicas to meet the desired replication factor. Tracking the count of under-replicated partitions allows swift identification of potential data loss scenarios, so administrators can restore data replication promptly.


Measuring request latency and throughput provides insights into system responsiveness and data processing capacity, helping address bottlenecks and maintain efficient data flow.

Request Latency: ',name=TotalTimeMs'
Request Throughput: ',name=RequestsPerSec'

Monitor disk space and network performance to proactively prevent issues like data loss due to disk saturation or network bottlenecks affecting data replication and transmission.

Disk Usage: 'kafka.server:type=BrokerTopicMetrics,name=LogFlushRateAndTimeMs'

Network Utilization: ',name=NetworkProcessorAvgIdlePercent'

Consumer group metrics

Monitoring consumer lag and offset commit rate helps track consumer group performance. High lag and slow commit rates may indicate processing issues.

Consumer Lag: 'kafka.consumer:type=consumer-fetch-manager-metrics,client-id=([-.\w]+),topic=([-.\w]+),partition=([0-9]+)': 'records-lag-max'
Offset Commit Rate: 'kafka.consumer:type=consumer-coordinator-metrics,client-id=([-.\w]+)': 'offset-commit-rate'

Keeping an eye on rebalances and consumer group stability ensures even workload distribution and prevents disruptions due to consumer group member changes.

Rebalance: 'kafka.consumer:type=consumer-coordinator-metrics,client-id=([-.\w]+)': 'rebalance-rate' 
Stability: 'kafka.consumer:type=consumer-coordinator-metrics,client-id=([-.\w]+)': 'assigned-partitions'

Observing lag distribution across consumer group instances helps identify potential outliers and uneven data processing, aiding load balancing.


Tracking error rates and processing times for individual consumers enables swift identification of problematic consumers affecting overall group performance.

'kafka.consumer:type=consumer-fetch-manager-metrics,client-id=([-.\w]+),topic=([-.\w]+),partition=([0-9]+)': 'records-lag-avg' 

'kafka.consumer:type=consumer-metrics,client-id=([-.\w]+)': 'failed-fetch-requests'

Topic metrics

Monitoring the distribution of partition leaders across brokers ensures a balanced workload, preventing potential performance bottlenecks and ensuring high availability.



Tracking the number of under-replicated partitions helps identify data replication issues, allowing prompt resolution and data redundancy restoration.


Monitoring topic log size and retention policy ensures efficient resource utilization and helps prevent log overflow or data loss.


Observing topic-level throughput and latency provides insights into data processing efficiency and helps identify potential performance issues.


Top Kafka monitoring tools

Effectively monitoring Kafka clusters is critical for ensuring optimal performance and reliability in data streaming applications. Several powerful Kafka monitoring tools are available, each offering unique features and capabilities tailored to the needs of distributed systems. Next, we explore some popular Kafka monitoring tools that enable proactive management.

CMAK (Cluster Manager for Apache Kafka)

CMAK is a popular web-based tool designed to simplify the monitoring and management of Kafka clusters. With Kafka Manager, you can:

  • Monitor Kafka clusters, including broker CPU and memory usage, topic and partition information, and consumer group details.

  • Facilitate cluster optimization and timely issue resolution.

  • Gain a holistic view of cluster health and performance.

It can be used to monitor under-replicated partitions, leader imbalance, partition counts across topics in the cluster, and broker health. Its user-friendly interface allows administrators to easily monitor brokers, topics, partitions, and consumers, making it an indispensable tool for Kafka administrators.

Prometheus with Kafka Exporter

Prometheus, an open-source monitoring system, plays a pivotal role in collecting and storing time-series data. Combined with Kafka Exporter, it becomes a powerful tool for real-time monitoring of Kafka metrics. Kafka Exporter extracts essential metrics from Kafka brokers and exposes them to Prometheus. Administrators can:

  • Set up custom dashboards and complex visualization capabilities.

  • Create alerts and gain deep insights into Kafka performance.

  • Collect versatile metrics such as broker CPU and memory usage, producer and consumer lag, and topic-level metrics.

Metrics can be monitored using Prometheus and visualized through Grafana dashboards.


Burrow is designed explicitly as a Kafka consumer monitoring tool, focusing on tracking consumer lag in real-time. Burrow specializes in:

  • Continuously monitoring consumer groups

  • Monitoring Kafka consumer lag

  • Providing detailed insights into consumer lag and offset commit rates.

Consumer lag represents the delay between message production and consumption, and monitoring it is crucial for overall Kafka performance. Burrow identifies potential lagging consumers and raises alerts to avoid data processing delays. Administrators closely monitor consumer lag and maintain a healthy data streaming flow by optimizing Kafka consumer groups.

Datadog Kafka monitoring

Datadog offers comprehensive Kafka monitoring capabilities through its integration options. By integrating Datadog with Kafka clusters, administrators gain access to a wide range of metrics and real-time insights. Datadog provides:

  • Robust visualization and alerting capabilities

  • Proactive identification of performance issues

  • Prompt troubleshooting

Datadog provides a broader monitoring solution and can integrate with various monitoring and logging systems, making it versatile for Kafka and other services. It supports custom Kafka metrics, producer and consumer lag, and resource utilization.


As Kafka becomes a central component of modern data architectures, it is essential to have comprehensive monitoring solutions to identify and address any potential issues proactively. Some tools excel in providing real-time metrics visualization, anomaly detection, and intelligent alerting mechanisms so administrators promptly respond to critical situations. However, they may also have scalability, integration capabilities, or ease of use limitations.

As the Kafka landscape evolves, choosing a suitable monitoring tool based on specific requirements and preferences is instrumental in staying ahead in the dynamic world of data-driven technologies.


Four factors affecting Kafka performance

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Kafka Burrow partition lag

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Kafka consumer lag

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Kafka monitoring

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Kafka latency

Learn how to reduce Kafka latency, understand common causes, and explore key performance metrics to optimize real-time applications.

Kafka optimization

Learn how to optimize Apache Kafka performance by adjusting partitions and consumer groups, cluster size, producer, and consumer parameters.

Kafka performance tuning

Learn how to optimize Apache Kafka® for maximum performance and scalability with tuning tips and best practices.

Kafka log compaction

Learn how to optimize Kafka-based systems' stability, efficiency, and longevity with log compaction.

Kafka rebalancing

Learn Kafka rebalancing, the process of redistributing partitions across consumers to ensure efficient data processing.

Kafka logs

Learn how Kafka's log structure facilitates its reliable architecture and parameters related to Kafka logs that affect its performance.

Kafka lag

Learn how to diagnose and reduce Kafka lag to optimize performance of real-time streaming applications.

Kafka monitoring tools

Learn how to monitor Kafka performance metrics and the best monitoring tools to maximize Kakfa performance.