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What is Apache Kafka?
Apache Kafka is an open-source distributed event streaming platform used by thousands of companies for high-performance data pipelines, streaming analytics, data integration, and mission-critical applications.
Kafka is a distributed system consisting of servers and clients that communicate via a high-performance TCP network protocol. It can be deployed on bare-metal hardware, virtual machines, and containers in on-premise as well as cloud environments.
Servers: Kafka is run as a cluster of one or more servers that can span multiple datacenters or cloud regions. Some of these servers form the storage layer, called the brokers. Other servers run Kafka Connect to continuously import and export data as event streams to integrate Kafka with your existing systems such as relational databases as well as other Kafka clusters. To let you implement mission-critical use cases, a Kafka cluster is highly scalable and fault-tolerant: if any of its servers fails, the other servers will take over their work to ensure continuous operations without any data loss.
Clients: They allow you to write distributed applications and microservices that read, write, and process streams of events in parallel, at scale, and in a fault-tolerant manner even in the case of network problems or machine failures. Kafka ships with some such clients included, which are augmented by dozens of clients provided by the Kafka community: clients are available for Java and Scala including the higher-level Kafka Streams library, for Go, Python, C/C++, and many other programming languages as well as REST APIs.
To get hands-on experience with Kafka, follow the Quickstart.