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Switching clusters

When one of your origin Event Streams clusters experiences problems and becomes unavailable, you can switch your client applications over to use the geo-replicated topics on your destination Event Streams cluster.

Ensure you plan for geo-replication before setting it up.

Preparing clusters and applications for switching

To make switching of clusters require little intervention, consider the following guidance when preparing your Event Streams clusters and applications.

Configure your applications for switching

Set up your applications so that reconfiguring them to switch clusters is as easy as possible. Code your applications so that security credentials, certificates, bootstrap server addresses, and other configuration settings are not hard-coded, but can be set in configuration files, or otherwise injected into your applications.

Use the same certificates

Consider using the same certificates for both the origin and destination clusters, by providing your own certificates at installation. This allows applications to use a single certificate to access either cluster.

Note: You must complete the process of providing your own certificates before installing an instance of Event Streams.

Note: When providing your own certificates, ensure that certificate renewal processes are followed at both the origin and destination clusters, so that both clusters continue to use the same certificates.

Set up the same access to both clusters

Consider providing your applications the same access to both the origin and destination clusters. For example, you can duplicate the application KafkaUser credentials from the origin cluster to the destination cluster. This allows applications to use a single set of credentials to access either cluster. Use the following commands to retrieve the KafkaUser credentials and custom resource from the origin cluster, and then create a new KafkaUser with these credentials on the destination cluster:

  1. Log in to your origin cluster. Log in to your Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform as a cluster administrator by using the oc CLI.
  2. Run the following command to retrieve the name of the secret for the KafkaUser:
    oc get kafkauser <name> --namespace <namespace> -o jsonpath='{"username: "}{.status.username}{"\nsecret-name: "}{.status.secret}{"\n"}'

    The command provides the following output:
    • The principal username
    • The name of the Kubernetes Secret, which includes the namespace, containing the SCRAM password or the TLS certificates.
  3. Use the secret-name from the previous step to run the following command. The command retrieves the credentials from the Kubernetes Secret and and saves them to the kafkauser-secret.yaml file:
    oc get secret <secret-name> --namespace <namespace> -o yaml > kafkauser-secret.yaml
  4. Run the following command to retrieve the KafkaUser custom resource YAML and save it to the kafkauser.yaml file:
    oc get kafkauser <name> --namespace <namespace> -o yaml > kafkauser.yaml
  5. Log in to your destination cluster. Log in to your Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform as a cluster administrator by using the oc CLI.
  6. Edit both the kafkauser-secret.yaml and kafkauser.yaml files to set the correct namespace and Event Streams cluster name for the following properties:
    • metadata.namespace: provide the namespace of your destination cluster.
    • metadata.labels["eventstreams.ibm.com/cluster"]: provide the name of your destination cluster.
  7. Run the following command to create the Kubernetes Secret containing the KafkaUser credentials on the destination cluster:
    oc apply -f kafkauser-secret.yaml
    Note: You must run this command before the creation of the KafkaUser to ensure the same credentials are available on both the origin and destination clusters.
  8. Run the following command to create the KafkaUser on the destination cluster:
    oc apply -f kafkauser.yaml

Note: To duplicate KafkaUser credentials that use Mutual TLS authentication, the origin and destination cluster must be configured with the same certificates for the client CA at installation.

Note: When KafkaUser credentials or Access Control Lists (ACLs) are modified on the origin cluster, the changes will need to be duplicated to the destination cluster to ensure that you can still switch clusters.

Use regular expressions for consumer topic subscriptions

Geo-replicated topics on the destination cluster will have a prefix added to the topic name. The prefix is the name of the Event Streams instance on the origin cluster, as defined in the EventStreams custom resource, for example my_origin.<topic-name>. Consider using regular expressions to define the topics that consuming applications are subscribed to, for example .*<topic-name>. Using a regular expression means that the topic subscription does not need to change when switching to the prefixed topic names on the destination cluster.

Plan to update consumer group offsets

Consider how you will update the consumer group offsets in consuming applications when switching clusters. Geo-replication includes consumer group checkpointing to store the mapping of consumer group offsets, allowing consuming applications to continue processing messages at the appropriate offset positions.

Produce to the same topic name

When switching clusters, produce to the same topic name on the destination cluster as was used on the origin cluster. This will ensure geo-replicated messages and directly produced messages are stored in separate topics. If consuming applications use regular expressions to subscribe to both topics, then both sets of messages will be processed.

Consider message ordering

If message ordering is required, configure your consuming applications to process all messages from the geo-replicated topic on the destination cluster before producing applications are restarted.

Updating existing applications to use geo-replicated topics on the destination cluster

If you are not using the same certificates and credentials on the origin and destination clusters, use the following instructions to retrieve the information required to update your applications so that they can use the geo-replicated topics from the destination cluster:

  1. Log in to your destination Event Streams cluster as an administrator.
  2. Click Connect to this cluster.
  3. Go to the Resources tab, and use the information on the page to change your client application settings to use the geo-replicated topic on the destination cluster. You need the following information to do this:
    • Bootstrap server: In the Kafka listener and credentials section, select the listener from the list.
      • Click the External tab for applications connecting from outside of the OpenShift Container Platform cluster.
      • Click the Internal tab for applications connecting from inside the OpenShift Container Platform cluster.
    • Credentials: To connect securely to Event Streams, your application needs credentials with permission to access the cluster and resources such as topics. In the Kafka listener and credentials section, click the Generate SCRAM credentials or Generate TLS credentials button next to the listener you are using, and follow the instructions to select the level of access you want to grant to your resources with the credentials.
    • Certificates: A certificate is required by your client applications to connect securely to the destination cluster. In the Certificates section, download either the PKCS12 certificate or PEM certificate. If you use the PKCS12 certificate, make a copy of the Certificate password to use with the certificate in your application.

After the connection is configured, your client application can continue to operate using the geo-replicated topics on the destination cluster.

Updating consumer group offsets

The topic on the origin cluster and the geo-replicated topic on the destination cluster might have different offsets for the same messages, depending on when geo-replication started. This means that a consuming application that is switched to use the destination cluster cannot use the consumer group offset from the origin cluster.

Updating consumer group offsets by using checkpoints

Geo-replication uses the Kafka Mirror Maker 2.0 MirrorCheckpointConnector to automatically store consumer group offset checkpoints for all origin cluster consumer groups. Each checkpoint maps the last committed offset for each consumer group in the origin cluster to the equivalent offset in the destination cluster. The checkpoints are stored in the <origin_cluster_name>.checkpoints.internal topic on the destination cluster.

Note: Consumer offset checkpoint topics are internal topics that are not displayed in the UI and CLI. Run the following CLI command to include internal topics in the topic listing:
cloudctl es topics --internal.

When processing messages from the destination cluster, you can use the checkpoints to start consuming from an offset that is equivalent to the last committed offset on the origin cluster. If your application is written in Java, Kafka’s RemoteClusterUtils class provides the translateOffsets() utility method to retrieve the destination cluster offsets for a consumer group from the checkpoints topic. You can then use the KafkaConsumer.seek() method to override the offsets that the consumer will use on the next poll.

For example, the following Java code snippet will update the example-group consumer group offset from the origin-cluster cluster to the destination cluster equivalent:

// Retrieve the mapped offsets for the destination cluster topic-partitions
Map<TopicPartition, OffsetAndMetadata> destinationOffsetsMap = RemoteClusterUtils.translateOffsets(properties, "origin-cluster",
        "example-group", Duration.ofMillis(10000));

// Update the KafkaConsumer to start at the mapped offsets for every topic-partition
destinationOffsetsMap.forEach((topicPartition, offsetAndMetadata) -> kafkaConsumer.seek(topicPartition, offsetAndMetadata));

// Retrieve records from the destination cluster, starting from the mapped offsets
ConsumerRecords<byte[], byte[]> records = kafkaConsumer.poll(Duration.ofMillis(10000))

Note: To configure how often checkpoints are stored and which consumer groups are stored in the checkpoints topic, you can edit the following properties in your Kafka Mirror Maker 2 custom resource:

  • spec.mirror.checkpointConnector.config
  • spec.mirror.groupsPattern

Updating consumer group offsets manually

If you want your client application to continue processing messages on the destination cluster from the point they reached on the topic on the origin cluster, or if you want your client application to start processing messages from the beginning of the topic, you can use the cloudctl es group-reset command.

  • To continue processing messages from the point they reached on the topic on the origin cluster, you can specify the offset for the consumer group that your client application is using:
    1. Log in to your cluster as an administrator by using the IBM Cloud Pak CLI:
      cloudctl login -a https://<cluster_address>:<cluster_router_https_port>
    2. Run the following command to initialize the Event Streams CLI on the cluster:
      cloudctl es init
    3. Run the cloudctl es group-reset command as follows:
      cloudctl es group-reset --group <your-consumer-group-id> --topic <topic-name> --mode datetime --value <timestamp>

      For example, the following command instructs the applications in consumer group consumer-group-1 to start consuming messages with timestamps from after midday on 28th September 2018:

      cloudctl es group-reset --group consumer-group-1 --topic GEOREPLICATED.TOPIC --mode datetime --value 2018-09-28T12:00:00+00:00 --execute
  • To start processing messages from the beginning of the topic, you can use the --mode earliest option, for example:
    cloudctl es group-reset --group consumer-group-1 --topic GEOREPLICATED.TOPIC --mode earliest --execute

These methods also avoid the need to make code changes to your client application.

Reverting message production and consumption back to the origin cluster

When the origin Event Streams cluster becomes available again, you can switch your client applications back to use the topics on your origin cluster. If messages have been produced directly to the destination cluster, use the following steps to replicate those messages to the origin cluster before switching back to using it.

  • Create an EventStreamsGeoReplicator custom resource configured to connect to the origin Event Streams cluster, and set up geo-replication in the reverse direction to the original geo-replication flow. This means there will be a geo-replicator running on the origin cluster which copies messages from non-geo-replicated topics on the destination cluster back to geo-replicated topics on the origin cluster.
  • The geo-replicated topic named <origin-cluster>.<topic> on the destination cluster will not have new geo-replicated messages arriving, as the producing applications have been switched to produce messages directly to the topic without a prefix on the destination cluster. Ensure that the geo-replicated topic on the destination cluster is not geo-replicated back to the origin cluster as this will result in duplicate data on the origin cluster.
  • Switch the producing and consuming applications back to the origin cluster again by following the previous instructions. Producing applications will continue to produce messages to the original topic name on the origin cluster, and consuming applications will read from both the geo-replicated topics and the original topics on the origin cluster. Consuming applications will need their consumer group offsets to be correctly updated for the offset positions on the origin cluster.

Note: Due to the asynchronous nature of geo-replication, there might be messages in the original topics on the origin cluster that had not been geo-replicated over to the destination cluster when the origin cluster became unavailable. You will need to decide how to handle these messages. Consider setting consumer group offsets so that the messages are processed, or ignore the messages by setting consumer group offsets to the latest offset positions in the topic.

For example, if the origin cluster is named my_origin, the destination cluster is named my_destination, and the topic on the my_origin cluster is named my_topic, then the geo-replicated topic on the my_destination cluster will be named my_origin.my_topic.

  • When the my_origin cluster becomes unavailable, producing applications are switched to the my_destination cluster. The my_destination cluster now has topics named my_topic and my_origin.my_topic. Consuming applications are also switched to the my_destination cluster and use the regular expression .*my_topic to consume from both topics.
  • When the my_origin cluster becomes available again, reverse geo-replication is set up between the clusters. The my_origin cluster now has the topic named my_topic and a new geo-replicated topic named my_destination.my_topic. The topic named my_destination.my_topic contains the messages that were produced directly to the my_destination cluster.
  • Producing applications are producing to the topic named my_topic on the my_destination cluster, so the geo-replicated topic named my_origin.my_topic on the my_destination cluster does not have any new messages arriving. Existing messages in the topic named my_origin.my_topic are consumed from the my_destination cluster until there is no more processing of the messages required.
    Note: The geo-replicated topic named my_origin.my_topic is not included in the reverse geo-replication back to the my_origin cluster, as that would create a geo-replicated topic named my_destination.my_origin.my_topic on the my_origin cluster containing the same messages as in the topic named my_topic.
  • Producing applications are now switched back to the my_origin cluster, continuing to produce to the topic named my_topic.
  • Consuming applications are also switched back to the my_origin cluster, with consumer group offsets updated for the offset positions at the my_origin cluster. Consuming applications continue to use the regular expression .*my_topic to consume from both the topic named my_topic and the geo-replicated topic named my_destination.my_topic.