Frequently Asked Questions about Smartkafka

Please note that if you use our service via a marketplace, the answers to some of these FAQs might not be applicable.


What is Apache Kafka?

Kafka is a publish-subscribe-based messaging system that is exchanging data between processes, applications, and servers.

Apache Kafka is a software where topics can be defined (think of a topic as a category). Applications may connect to this system and transfer a message onto the topic. A message can include any kind of information. It could, for example, have information about an event that has happened on your website, or it could just be a simple text message that is supposed to trigger an event. Another application may connect to the system and process messages from a topic.

A complete beginner guide for Apacha Kafka can be found here .

What is Smartkafka

Smartkafka automates every part of setup, running and scaling of Apache Kafka. Smartkafka offers hosted publish-subscribe messaging systems in the cloud. With the ease of Smartkafka you have a fully managed Kafka cluster up and running within two minutes, including a managed internal Zookeeper cluster on all nodes.

What is Zookeeper?

Zookeeper is a top-level software developed by Apache that acts as a centralized service and it keeps track of status of the Kafka cluster nodes and it also keeps track of Kafka topics, partitions etc. All our plans has a managed Zookeeper cluster. More information about Zookeeper can be found here .

Connect to the Apache Kafka cluster

Which port should I use to connect to when connecting to my Kafka cluster?

You should use the follow ports:

  • 9092 For connection inside a peered VPC
  • 9093 For an encrypted connection using SSL
  • 9094 For an encrypted connection using SASL/SCRAM over SSL

Which URL should I use when connecting to my Kafka cluster?

You should list all brokers URLs to you client and not only use the cluster hostname. For example is your cluster name is test-speedcar and you have three nodes in the cluster your broker list should look like this:,,

I get "Failed to verify broker certificate: unable to get local issuer certificate"

This is the error that you get when your application cannot verify the certificate from your kafka broker, this could mean three things:

  1. The URL to the broker is wrong, so you are connecting to the wrong machine.
  2. The directory where the application is looking for CA certificates is wrong.
  3. The CA root certificate that our server certificates are signed with aren't installed on your server.

First verify that you have entered the correct URL to all the brokers.

Second the CA certificates installed on your server lives in different folders depending on which OS or linux distribution you are using. For example for Debian and Ubuntu, the certificates are installed in the directory /etc/ssl/certs. Make sure that your application uses the correct path to the installed CA certificates.
If you are using a kafka library that uses librdkafka it can also be that it's compiled with the wrong configuration and it's looking for the CA certificates in the wrong directory. This can be fixed by setting the configuration option '/etc/ssl/certs' which makes librdkafka looks for CA certificates in that directory.

Third if it still cannot connect due to the same error it's probably that you don't have the CA Root certificate on your server, you can then use the same configuration option but specify our certificate directly.
Download the certificate from here: and put it in the same folder as your application source code and configure your kafka client with this option: './'

We have also noticed that older versions of OpenSSL cannot verify our browser certificates, if you see this error, please upgrade openssl to a newer version and try again.

Handle instances

Can I add nodes to my cluster?

Yes, in the Smartkafka Control Panel you can edit the size of your cluster and add additional nodes. Currently you can't remove nodes.

Can I migrate between plans?

Yes, you can upgrade to a larger plan. In the Smartkafka Control Panel you can edit the plan and select a bigger plan. The upgrade is without downtime for multi-node instances. You cannot downgrade and you cannot migrate from the shared plan to a dedicated plan.

Integration and availability

What is the service-level agreement (SLA) for Smartkafka?

We guarantee at least 99.95% availability on all dedicated plans. Smartkafka will refund 50% of the cost of the plan for outages longer then that. Request of refund must be submitted in writing, within 30 days from the outage to which they refer, via email to

We guarantee a maximum 30 minute initial response time on critical issues correctly submitted to our support system.

Complete SLA information can be found here.

Is it possible to connect to the Zookeeper command line interface (CLI)?

Yes, for plans with VPC peering you can connect to the Zookeeper CLI using the local IP addresses. You need to connect from a VPC that is peered with the Smartkafka VPC. Then you can connect using -server PRIVATEIP:2181, where PRIVATEIP is the IP of the Zookeeper you want to connect to.

Which authentication mechanisms are available?

You can use SASL/SCRAM or certificate based authentication. You can see examples of this in the different language sections.

Supported features

What service integrations do you support?

Alarms: VictorOps, OpsGenie

Logging: Papertrail, Loggly, LogEntries, Splunk, Stackdriver, CloudWatch

Metrics: CloudWatch, Liberato, DataDog, New Relic

Do you support Kafka Connect?

Yes, we do support Kafka Connect for dedicated plans.

Kafka Connect lets you integrate other systems with Kafka. You can add a data source which allows you to consume data from that source and store it in Kafka, or the other way around, have all data in a topic sent to another system for processing or storage. There are many possibilities that Kafka Connect gives, and it's easy to get started since there are already a lot of connectors available.

More information can be found here.

Can I connect a custom Kafka connector?

Yes, we can install your custom Kafka connector for you, just send us an email. The connector will only be available for internal use, on your cluster.

Do you support Schema registry?

Yes, we do support Schema registry for dedicated plans.

The Kafka Schema Registry integration acts as a standalone component interacting with both the producer and the consumer and provides a serving layer for your metadata.

Schema Registry ensures that the amount of possible conflicts between producer and consumer messages, such as bad data or sudden change of formats in messages, are reduced while Kafka's unique character is not affected. Schema registry is a standalone component, which simply makes it possible for the Kafka broker to remain the powerful player in the field of Message Streaming as it is today.

Schema registry run on port 8081, which is the default for Schema registry. The port 8081 is only open within the VPC so to have access to Schema registry you need to run your service in Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud and peer your VPC with the Kafka cluster.

More information about Schema registry can be found here.

Do you support REST proxy?

Yes, we do support REST proxy for dedicated plans.

The Kafka REST Proxy gives you the opportunity to receive metadata from a cluster and produce and consume messages over a simple REST API. This feature can easily be enabled from the Control Panel for your cluster.

More information can be found here.

Do you support MirrorMaker?

Yes, we do support MirrorMaker for dedicated plans.

MirrorMaker is a tool for maintaining a replica of an existing Kafka cluster.

When MirrorMaker is enabled, all messages are consumed from the source cluster and re-published on the target cluster. I.e data is read from topics in the source cluster and written to a topic with the same name in the destination cluster. This means that you have the option to send data to one cluster, which in turn can be read from both clusters. MirrorMaker can run one or multiple nodes. If you as a customer have a five node cluster, you can enable MirrorMaker on one node or all five of them. A higher number of nodes means faster processing and keeping the cluster in-sync at a better rate.


Do you offer any reseller discounts?

No. We don’t provide any reseller discounts at this moment.

Are there any shipping costs?

No. There is no shipping cost since the service is shipped electronically.

Is the service returnable?

No. The service is non-returnable.

What payment options and terms do you offer?

You can choose to pay through credit card (due on charge date) or via wire transfers (NET15). If you would like us to enable manual invoicing via wire transfer - send us an email once you have added all information and we will enable it for you. Please note that we don’t accept checks.

We need an official quote, how do we get that?

Email to receive an official quote. Include what plan you want, if the quote should include VPC or not, and the subscription period.

Will your service be provided on- or off-premise?

The service will be provided off-premise in a data center and region chosen on behalf of the customer. The data centers and regions currently provided can be found at the bottom of this page:

How does your billing work?

Our billing is pro-rated, which means that our customers only pay for the time the service has been available to them and that the payment is done the month after delivery. Thus, you won’t receive your first invoice when the account has been created, you will receive it in the beginning of the upcoming month.

Our PO is set up for a year, could we get an annual invoice?

No. It’s very common that our customers change their plan while they are using our service, therefore it’s not convenient to pay for a year upfront. However, we do provide the possibility to make prepayments with credits.

Please advise if any documents with signatures will be required in addition to the PO we would submit in the event a PO is executed.

No. We don’t need any documents with signatures from you.

Can you confirm that the service will not have an automatic renewal once the current subscription on the PO expires?

No. Our active subscriptions are running until they are deleted. The reason for this is that we don’t want to delete our customer’s data when they have an active subscription. So for example, if you’re a reseller and has provided us with a PO that concerns two months usage of our Happy Hippo plan, then you’re responsible for deleting the plan after the two months have passed. Otherwise, we will charge you for the upcoming months.

We have a customer using your service with an active subscription and PO. Now it wants to create one more subscription. Should we extend the current PO or issue a new one?

It’s best to extend the current PO. If you need to have two separate PO’s for the subscriptions, you need to open a new account in order to make the subscriptions be billed separately.

I’m a reseller and want to set up an account, how do I do that?

  1. Go to and enter your email address. Fill out all your information in the billing section, such as billing address etc, billing email etc. Please note that it’s important that we have your billing information registered and not the end-customers information, since you are our direct customer and not the end-customer.

  2. The PO number can be specified in the billing section under “billing notes”. Or send it to us, and we will add it for you.

  3. You are free to create and delete instances once the billing information is set up. It’s up to you and the end-customer to decide who of you that will create the subscription specified in the PO.

  4. Invite the end-customer to the account via so that he/she can start using the service.

  5. Change the role of the person that created your account to “Billing Manager”. By doing so, you can access all invoices of the account and update the billing information. But you will not be able to edit the customer's subscription. See more information here: .


Is Smartkafka GDPR-compliant?

Yes. You can read more here.

Can we sign a DPA with Smartkafka?

Yes, you can sign a DPA with Smartkafka. You access the DPA in the “Agreements”-section of the control panel.

How do you make a subject access request to 84codes AB?

You have the right to see what personal information 84codes AB holds about you. You are entitled to be given a description of the information, what we use it for, who we might pass it onto, and any information we might have about the source of the information.

A subject access requests should be made via email to

Where is my data located?

You as data controller decide for yourself where you want to host your data by choosing data center and region of the data center. The data will not leave that region, unless you choose to move it. In Smartkafka’s role as data controller, we may collect and store contact information, such as email address, and physical address, when customers sign up for our services or seek support help.

Your personal customer data (email and billing information) is stored in US.