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  5. 4.4 The Producer

4.4 The Producer

Load balancing

The producer sends data directly to the broker that is the leader for the partition without any intervening routing tier. To help the producer do this all Kafka nodes can answer a request for metadata about which servers are alive and where the leaders for the partitions of a topic are at any given time to allow the producer to appropriately direct its requests.

The client controls which partition it publishes messages to. This can be done at random, implementing a kind of random load balancing, or it can be done by some semantic partitioning function. We expose the interface for semantic partitioning by allowing the user to specify a key to partition by and using this to hash to a partition (there is also an option to override the partition function if need be). For example if the key chosen was a user id then all data for a given user would be sent to the same partition. This in turn will allow consumers to make locality assumptions about their consumption. This style of partitioning is explicitly designed to allow locality-sensitive processing in consumers.

Asynchronous send

Batching is one of the big drivers of efficiency, and to enable batching the Kafka producer will attempt to accumulate data in memory and to send out larger batches in a single request. The batching can be configured to accumulate no more than a fixed number of messages and to wait no longer than some fixed latency bound (say 64k or 10 ms). This allows the accumulation of more bytes to send, and few larger I/O operations on the servers. This buffering is configurable and gives a mechanism to trade off a small amount of additional latency for better throughput.

Details on configuration and the api for the producer can be found elsewhere in the documentation.