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6.7 ZooKeeper

Stable version

The current stable branch is 3.5. Kafka is regularly updated to include the latest release in the 3.5 series.

Operationalizing ZooKeeper

Operationally, we do the following for a healthy ZooKeeper installation:

  • Redundancy in the physical/hardware/network layout: try not to put them all in the same rack, decent (but don’t go nuts) hardware, try to keep redundant power and network paths, etc. A typical ZooKeeper ensemble has 5 or 7 servers, which tolerates 2 and 3 servers down, respectively. If you have a small deployment, then using 3 servers is acceptable, but keep in mind that you’ll only be able to tolerate 1 server down in this case. 
  • I/O segregation: if you do a lot of write type traffic you’ll almost definitely want the transaction logs on a dedicated disk group. Writes to the transaction log are synchronous (but batched for performance), and consequently, concurrent writes can significantly affect performance. ZooKeeper snapshots can be one such a source of concurrent writes, and ideally should be written on a disk group separate from the transaction log. Snapshots are written to disk asynchronously, so it is typically ok to share with the operating system and message log files. You can configure a server to use a separate disk group with the dataLogDir parameter.
  • Application segregation: Unless you really understand the application patterns of other apps that you want to install on the same box, it can be a good idea to run ZooKeeper in isolation (though this can be a balancing act with the capabilities of the hardware).
  • Use care with virtualization: It can work, depending on your cluster layout and read/write patterns and SLAs, but the tiny overheads introduced by the virtualization layer can add up and throw off ZooKeeper, as it can be very time sensitive
  • ZooKeeper configuration: It’s java, make sure you give it ‘enough’ heap space (We usually run them with 3-5G, but that’s mostly due to the data set size we have here). Unfortunately we don’t have a good formula for it, but keep in mind that allowing for more ZooKeeper state means that snapshots can become large, and large snapshots affect recovery time. In fact, if the snapshot becomes too large (a few gigabytes), then you may need to increase the initLimit parameter to give enough time for servers to recover and join the ensemble.
  • Monitoring: Both JMX and the 4 letter words (4lw) commands are very useful, they do overlap in some cases (and in those cases we prefer the 4 letter commands, they seem more predictable, or at the very least, they work better with the LI monitoring infrastructure)
  • Don’t overbuild the cluster: large clusters, especially in a write heavy usage pattern, means a lot of intracluster communication (quorums on the writes and subsequent cluster member updates), but don’t underbuild it (and risk swamping the cluster). Having more servers adds to your read capacity.

Overall, we try to keep the ZooKeeper system as small as will handle the load (plus standard growth capacity planning) and as simple as possible. We try not to do anything fancy with the configuration or application layout as compared to the official release as well as keep it as self contained as possible. For these reasons, we tend to skip the OS packaged versions, since it has a tendency to try to put things in the OS standard hierarchy, which can be ‘messy’, for want of a better way to word it.