Video Review — Introduction to Apache Kafka by Gwen Shapira

I’ve made it to the very end of Introduction to Apache Kafka by Gwen Shapira from module 1. The Case for Kafka to 11. Future of Kafka. This is my first video I’ve watched at SafariBooksOnline (Safari in short) and am very happy to have picked the video first. Thanks Gwen for having recorded it!

BTW, there are lots of good books and videos published at Safari almost daily, what alas makes my reading wishlist longer and longer, and barely possible to achieve…ever.

I’m quite new to Apache Kafka, but since I needed to reach a higher level of expertise faster I thought I’d pick the video by the expert in the field. I had a very basic experience using it for personal education, mostly together with Spark Streaming (see my blog posts Apache Kafka on Docker, Publishing Events Using Custom Producer for Apache Kafka, and Real-time Data Processing Using Apache Kafka and Spark Streaming (and Scala and Sbt)).

The video set has met my needs entirely and am going to watch a couple of modules again. It was very comprehensive (yet a bit old given 0.9.0 having been released and 0.9.1 in the works).

There are 11 video modules that together made for 3 hours of Kafka knowledge “stream” (pun unintended). The video set describes the features available in 0.8.1.1 with references to 0.8.2 and 0.9.0 future versions (“future” at the time of the video recording).

Gwen the host did a great job of presenting enough details of Kafka for developers as well as administrators and not spoiling comprehension along the way. She was presenting in a very lively and direct tone so I felt as if she’d been talking to me specifically (she didn’t use my name though so I ultimately figured out that it was not completely true :)). She was very friendly and funny at times. She presented the architecture of Kafka with brokers, ZooKeeper, topics, partitions, ISRs, console producer and consumer. The video set has also included references to other tools that can make the Kafka experience even better, e.g. Camus, Flume, Flafka, Hue, Spark Streaming. There were enough command-line and configuration options to please people who’d need a bit more in-depth knowledge from the day 1.

I had thought few times that the video set should have gone through a post-editing process to make it easier on the eye, but eventually I came to conclusion that that’s exactly what made the video so pleasant to watch! I really enjoyed a few little mistakes that made the watching so real.

It was a helpful experience in my quest to know how to build scalable data processing pipelines & stream processing systems using Apache Kafka (and the other tools from Kafka Ecosystem). Thanks for your support, Gwen!

What I didn’t like in the video set was how Gwen was using the terminal and was flipping terminal windows back and forth. It was unpleasant and distracting. Having Kafka logs from different instances (ZooKeeper, brokers, console producers and consumers) in a single terminal window was not very helpful, either. At one point, in Troubleshooting Kafka module even Gwen the host faced troubles because of it, when it was so hard to know what logs belong to what instance.

Overall score is high and I highly recommend watching the video to know what Apache Kafka offers.

p.s. I have also published the review on Amazon and would appreciate if you could vote for it. Thanks!