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Apache Kafka on Docker

This repository holds a build definition and supporting files for building a
Docker image to run Kafka in containers. It is published as an Automated
Build on the Docker registry, as ches/kafka.

Configuration is parameterized, enabling a Kafka cluster to be run from multiple
container instances.

Fork Note

This image/repo was forked from relateiq/kafka. The changes are:

  • Change the Kafka binary source to an official Apache artifact. RelateIQ's was
    on a private S3 bucket, and this opaqueness is not suitable for a
    publicly-shared image for reasons of trust.
  • Changes described in this pull request.

If these differences resolve in time, I will deprecate this build repo but
leave existing published images on the registry.

Usage Quick Start

Here is a minimal-configuration example running the Kafka broker service, then
using the container as a client to run the basic producer and consumer example
from the Kafka Quick Start:

$ docker run -d --name zookeeper jplock/zookeeper:3.4.6
$ docker run -d --name kafka --link zookeeper:zookeeper ches/kafka

$ ZK_IP=$(docker inspect --format '{{ .NetworkSettings.IPAddress }}' zookeeper)
$ KAFKA_IP=$(docker inspect --format '{{ .NetworkSettings.IPAddress }}' kafka)

$ docker run --rm ches/kafka \
> --create --topic test \
>     --replication-factor 1 --partitions 1 --zookeeper $ZK_IP:2181
Created topic "test".

# In separate terminals:
$ docker run --rm --interactive ches/kafka \
> --topic test --broker-list $KAFKA_IP:9092
<type some messages followed by newline>

$ docker run --rm ches/kafka \
> --topic test --from-beginning --zookeeper $ZK_IP:2181


The container exposes two volumes that you may wish to bind-mount, or process
elsewhere with --volumes-from:

  • /data/kafka: Path where Kafka's data is stored (log.dirs in Kafka configuration)
  • /logs/kafka: Path where Kafka's logs (INFO level) will be written, via log4j

Ports and Linking

The container publishes two ports:

  • 9092: Kafka's standard broker communication
  • 7203: JMX publishing, for e.g. jconsole or VisualVM connection

Kafka requires Apache ZooKeeper. You can satisfy the dependency by simply
linking another container that exposes ZooKeeper on its standard port of 2181,
as shown in the above example, ensuring that you link using an alias of

Alternatively, you may configure a specific address for Kafka to find ZK. See
the Configuration section below.

A more complex local development setup

This example shows more configuration options and assumes that you wish to run a
development environment with Kafka ports mapped directly to localhost, for
instance if you're writing a producer or consumer and want to avoid rebuilding a
container for it to run in as you iterate. This requires that localhost is your
Docker host, i.e. your workstation runs Linux. If you're using something like
boot2docker, substitute the value of boot2docker ip below.

$ mkdir -p kafka-ex/{data,logs} && cd kafka-ex
$ docker run -d --name zookeeper --publish 2181:2181 jplock/zookeeper:3.4.6
$ docker run -d \
    --hostname localhost
    --name kafka \
    --volume ./data:/data --volume ./logs:/logs \
    --publish 9092:9092 --publish 7203:7203 \
    --env EXPOSED_HOST= --env ZOOKEEPER_IP= \


Some parameters of Kafka configuration can be set through environment variables
when running the container (docker run -e VAR=value). These are shown here
with their default values, if any:


    Maps to Kafka's setting. Must be a unique integer for each broker
    in a cluster.

  • PORT=9092

    Maps to Kafka's port setting. The port that the broker service listens on.
    You will need to explicitly publish a new port from container instances if you
    change this.

  • EXPOSED_HOST=<container's IP within docker0's subnet>

    Maps to Kafka's setting. Kafka brokers gossip the list
    of brokers in the cluster to relieve producers from depending on a ZooKeeper
    library. This setting should reflect the address at which producers can reach
    the broker on the network, i.e. if you build a cluster consisting of multiple
    physical Docker hosts, you will need to set this to the hostname of the Docker
    host's interface where you forward the container PORT.


    As above, for the port part of the advertised address. Maps to Kafka's
    advertised.port setting. If you run multiple broker containers on a single
    Docker host and need them to be accessible externally, this should be set to
    the port that you forward to on the Docker host.

  • ZOOKEEPER_IP=<taken from linked "zookeeper" container, if available>

    Required if no container is linked with the alias "zookeeper" and
    publishing port 2181. Used in constructing Kafka's zookeeper.connect


    Used in constructing Kafka's zookeeper.connect setting.

  • CHROOT, ex: /v0_8_1

    ZooKeeper root path used in constructing Kafka's zookeeper.connect setting.
    This is blank by default, which means Kafka will use the ZK /. You should
    set this if the ZK instance/cluster is shared by other services, or to
    accommodate Kafka upgrades that change schema. However, as of Kafka
    will not create the path in ZK automatically, you must ensure it exists
    before starting brokers.

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