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Conduktor Console: The Evolution of Kafka User Interfaces

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Conduktor Console is the new user interface for Apache Kafka available in the Conduktor Platform. This blog will take a look at the features of the Console and how it can help your data exploration, Kafka operations, and troubleshooting.

Written by
Author's avatarJules
Published onDec 08, 2022
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    The next in our lineup of solution deep dives is a look at the new Conduktor Console, the successor to Conduktor's DesktopUI for Apache Kafka. The Console's features are divided into three main parts: Explorer, Operations, and Troubleshooting, though all three work together to contribute to simplifying Kafka.

    Conduktor Console was built on the foundations of the original Conduktor desktop application but brings a number of new features and improvements. Let's take a look.

    Why do you need Conduktor Console?

    If you have used Apache Kafka at any point, this question will be a bit redundant. The need for an easier way to interact with Kafka is obvious from the moment you start. Kafka is well named, for it presents an impassable bureaucracy to new users.

    Let's do a simple comparison shot against the CLI. In this clip, we are creating a topic, producing a message with a key and a value, then consuming that message:

    Of course, this is a very simple example of what you might do with Kafka, but the difference is still vast. Perhaps it is a bit unfair - a Kafka expert could be a lot faster with the CLI; we didn't use terminal history and we made a spelling mistake on purpose. However, the Conduktor Console will be that simple for everyone, every time, no experience needed. And once you get to the more complicated operations, even experts won't be able to keep up.

    The Conduktor Console Difference

    Few organizations stick with the CLI given its difficulty and poor interface. There are a number of paid and open source tools that try to simplify Kafka, but Conduktor has always been first-class. Conduktor Console simply offers more features and covers more use cases than anything else available.

    Let's look at how Console handles data exploration:

    Conduktor Console can display all of your topics and consumer groups, as well as the messages that have been consumed in just a few clicks. Moreover, you can quickly query your clusters to find specific information and filter where needed.

    We looked at basic operations above, but there is a lot more that Console can do. Setting up Kafka Connectors and managing them is a big difference maker. You can see how easy fixing issues is as well with instant restarts for any Connectors that have issues:

    Two of the biggest new features available in the Console are rapid cluster switching and message reprocessing. Instead of having to reboot every time you want to work on another cluster, with Console a single click takes you there:

    Message reprocessing allows you to take any message from any topic and instantly republish it to another topic. You can even edit the message's key, value, and headers before reprocessing.

    It's not just individual features that make Conduktor Console such a key tool for teams using Kafka. The Console is part of the wider Conduktor Platform, taking care not just of your Kafka user interface but also of testing, monitoring, governance, and data quality. Check out the previous deep dives on:

    Other Key Features

    Those are the major changes, but there are many other features to the Console:

    • Open Platform: The Platform is cluster-agnostic, meaning it will work with any Kafka provider as well as local clusters. Confluent, Amazon MSK, Aiven, and all the rest can be accessed through the Console and the wider Conduktor Platform with no barriers.

    • Ecosystem Support: The Conduktor Console fully supports Confluent Schema Registry and Kafka Connect, enabling virtually all integrations that are widely used today.

    • Consumer Group Controls: The console allows you to view and edit consumer groups in Kafka.

    • Customizable Views: Users can customize the appearance of their Console to their liking, enabling dark theme and altering elements to find the best solution.

    • Deployment options: You can deploy as a Docker image in your environment that needs no internet access or you can use our Cloud offering online

    How Do I Get Started?

    You can start using the Conduktor Console with a single click. Just click here to get started with the free version of the Console. You can opt for Cloud or Docker.

    Once sign-up is complete, you will need to setup a cluster in the admin section. The platform supports open-source Kafka as well as all major providers such as Confluent, Amazon MSK, and Aiven. Head to our Documentation page for full instructions on how to configure clusters for both the Cloud and Docker versions.

    And that's it. Head to the Console section in your dashboard and you can start creating topics, producing data, and much more.

    Summary

    Everything you have seen in this blog post you can try right now by getting started with the Platform. And this is just the beginning of our roadmap. We're going to continue to add new solutions to the overall Platform, and to improve the experience of the core Conduktor Console.