Setting up and running connectors

Event Streams helps you set up a Kafka Connect environment, prepare the connection to other systems by adding connectors to the environment, and start Kafka Connect with the connectors to help integrate external systems.

Log in to the Event Streams UI, and click Toolbox in the primary navigation. Scroll to the Connectors section and follow the guidance for each main task. You can also find additional help on this page.

Using Kafka Connect

The most straightforward way to run Kafka Connect on OpenShift Container Platform is to use a custom resource called KafkaConnect. An instance of this custom resource represents a Kafka Connect distributed worker cluster. In this mode, workload balancing is automatic, scaling is dynamic, and tasks and data are fault-tolerant. Each connector is represented by another custom resource called KafkaConnector.

Kafka Connect topics

When running in distributed mode, Kafka Connect uses three topics to store configuration, current offsets and status. Kafka Connect can create these topics automatically as it is started by the Event Streams operator. By default, the topics are:

  • connect-configs: This topic stores the connector and task configurations.
  • connect-offsets: This topic stores offsets for Kafka Connect.
  • connect-status: This topic stores status updates of connectors and tasks.

If you want to run multiple Kafka Connect environments on the same cluster, you can override the default names of the topics in the configuration.

Authentication and authorization

Kafka Connect uses an Apache Kafka client just like a regular application, and the usual authentication and authorization rules apply.

Kafka Connect will need authorization to:

  • Produce and consume to the internal Kafka Connect topics and, if you want the topics to be created automatically, to create these topics
  • Produce to the target topics of any source connectors you are using
  • Consume from the source topics of any sink connectors you are using.

Note: For more information about authentication and the credentials and certificates required, see the information about managing access.

Kafka Connect Source-to-Image deprecation

The KafkaConnectS2I custom resource is deprecated in Event Streams version 10.4.0 and later. When installing new Kafka Connect instances, use the KafkaConnect custom resource and provide a pre-built image. The KafkaConnectS2I custom resource will be removed in future versions of Event Streams. Ensure your existing Kafka Connect clusters are migrated to use the KafkaConnect custom resource.

To migrate an existing Kafka Connect cluster from the KafkaConnectS2I custom resource to the KafkaConnect custom resource:

  1. Download the Kafka connect ZIP from the Event Streams UI.
  2. Build and push a Kafka Connect image that includes your connectors.
  3. Follow the steps in the Strimzi documentation to migrate the custom resource, setting the .spec.image property to be the image you built earlier.

Set up a Kafka Connect environment

To begin using Kafka Connect, do the following.

Download Kafka Connect configuration

  1. In the Event Streams UI, click Toolbox in the primary navigation. Scroll to the Connectors section.
  2. Go to the Set up a Kafka Connect environment tile, and click Set up.
  3. Click Download Kafka Connect ZIP to download the compressed file, then extract the contents to your preferred location.

You will have a Kubernetes manifest for a KafkaConnect, a Dockerfile, and an empty directory called my-plugins.

Configure Kafka Connect

Edit the downloaded kafka-connect.yaml file to enable Kafka Connect to connect to your OpenShift Container Platform cluster. You can use the snippets in the Event Streams UI as guidance to configure Kafka Connect.

  • Choose a name for your Kafka Connect instance.
  • You can run more than one worker by increasing the replicas from 1.
  • Set bootstrapServers to connect the bootstrap server address of a listener. If using an internal listener, this will be the address of a service. If using an external listener, this will be the address of a route.
  • If you have fewer than 3 brokers in your Event Streams cluster, you must set, and to 1.
  • Unless your Event Streams cluster has authentication turned off, you must provide authentication credentials in the authentication configuration.
  • If clients require a certificate to connect to your Event Streams cluster (as they will if you are connecting using a route), you must provide a certificate in the tls configuration.

Adding connectors to your Kafka Connect environment

Prepare Kafka Connect for connections to your other systems by adding the required connectors.

Following on from the previous step, click Next at the bottom of the page. You can also access this page by clicking Toolbox in the primary navigation, scrolling to the Connectors section, and clicking Add connectors on the Add connectors to your Kafka Connect environment tile.

To run a particular connector Kafka Connect must have access to a JAR file or set of JAR files for the connector.

If your connector consists of just a single JAR file, you can copy it directly into the my-plugins directory.

If your connector consists of multiple JAR files, create a directory for the connector inside the my-plugins directory and copy all of the connector’s JAR files into that directory.

Here’s an example of how the directory structure might look with 3 connectors:

+--  my-plugins
|    +--  connector1.jar
|    +--  connector2
|    |    +-- connector2.jar
|    |    +-- connector2-lib.jar
|    +-- connector3.jar

Build a Kafka Connect Docker image

Build a custom Kafka Connect Docker image that includes your chosen connectors.

Navigate to the directory where you extracted the Kafka Connect .zip file and run the following command:

docker build -t my-connect-cluster-image:latest <extracted_zip>/

Note: You might need to log in to the IBM Container software library before building the image to allow the base image that is specified in the Dockerfile to be pulled successfully.

Push the Kafka Connect Docker image to your registry

Push the custom Kafka Connect image containing your connector JAR files to an image registry that is accessible to your Event Streams instance.

To retag the image for your chosen registry:

docker tag my-connect-cluster-image:latest <registry>/my-connect-cluster-image:latest

To push the image:

docker push <registry>/my-connect-cluster-image:latest

Add the image to the Kafka Connect file

Edit the image property in the downloaded kafka-connect.yaml file to match the image tag that was pushed to your image registry. See the Event Streams UI for an example.

Starting Kafka Connect with your connectors

Click Next at the bottom of the page. You can also access this page by clicking Toolbox in the primary navigation, scrolling to the Connectors section, and clicking Start Kafka Connect on the Start Kafka Connect with your connectors tile.

Start Kafka Connect with your connectors

By using the OpenShift Container Platform CLI, deploy the Kafka Connect instance by applying the YAML file:

oc apply -f kafka-connect.yaml

Wait for the Kafka Connect pod to become ready. You can check status with the following command:

oc get pods

When it is ready, you can use the following command to check the status and view which connectors are available:

oc describe kafkaconnect my-connect-cluster

Start a connector

Create a YAML file for the connector configuration. For the MQ connectors, you can use the Event Streams UI or CLI to generate the YAML file. Alternatively, you can use the following template, taking care to replace <kafka_connect_name> with the name of the KafkaConnect instance:

kind: KafkaConnector
  name: <connector_name>
    # The label identifies the KafkaConnect instance
    # in which to create this connector. That KafkaConnect instance
    # must have the annotation
    # set to true. <kafka_connect_name>
  class: <connector_class_name>
  tasksMax: 1
  # The connector configuration goes here

Start the connector by applying the YAML file:

oc apply -f <connector_filename>.yaml

You can view the status of the connector by describing the custom resource:

oc describe kafkaconnector <connector_name>