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course: Kafka Connect 101

Running Kafka Connect in Docker

3 min
Danica Fine

Danica Fine

Senior Developer Advocate (Presenter)

Kafka Connect Images on Docker Hub


You can run a Kafka Connect worker directly as a JVM process on a virtual machine or bare metal, but you might prefer the convenience of running it in a container, using a technology like Kubernetes or Docker. Note that containerized Connect via Docker will be used for many of the examples in this series.

Confluent maintains its own image for Kafka Connect, cp-kafka-connect-base, which provides a basic Connect worker to which you can add your desired JAR files for sink and source connectors, single message transforms, and converters.

Adding Connectors to a Container


You can use Confluent Hub to add your desired JARs, either by installing them at runtime or by creating a new Docker image. Of course, there are pros and cons to either of these options, and you should choose based on your individual needs.

Add a Connector Instance with ksqlDB

Adding your dependencies at runtime means that you don’t have to create a new image, but it does increase installation time each time your container is run, and it also requires an internet connection. It’s a good option for prototyping work but probably not for a production deployment.

Your JARs should be in a location that causes them to be class loadable by the Connect process, and you’ll need to add an environmental variable that identifies their location (note that in production you will likely have many more environmental variables than just this one). Also make sure to specify the correct version of the Connect base image. Finally, you should add a command that overrides the base image’s default command so that you can call the Confluent Hub utility, which will install the connectors specified (in this case, the Neo4j connector).

  image: confluentinc/cp-kafka-connect:7.1.0-1-ubi8
    CONNECT_PLUGIN_PATH: /usr/share/java,/usr/share/confluent-hub-components

    - bash
    - -c
    - |
      confluent-hub install --no-prompt neo4j/kafka-connect-neo4j:2.0.2

Build a New Container Image

The second way to add dependencies, and the option probably most often used in production deployments, is to build a new image.

Make sure to use the correct Confluent base image version and also check the specific documentation for each of your connectors.

FROM confluentinc/cp-kafka-connect:7.1.0-1-ubi8

ENV CONNECT_PLUGIN_PATH: "/usr/share/java,/usr/share/confluent-hub-components"

RUN confluent-hub install --no-prompt neo4j/kafka-connect-neo4j:2.0.2

Add Connector Instance at Container Launch

Typically, you will add connector instances once the worker process is running by manually submitting the configuration or via an external automation. However, you may find—perhaps for demo purposes—that you want a self-sufficient container that also adds the connector instance when it starts. To do this, you can use a launch script that looks like this:

# Launch Kafka Connect
/etc/confluent/docker/run &
# Wait for Kafka Connect listener
echo "Waiting for Kafka Connect to start listening on localhost ⏳"
while : ; do
  curl_status=$$(curl -s -o /dev/null -w %{http_code} http://localhost:8083/connectors)
  echo -e $$(date) " Kafka Connect listener HTTP state: " $$curl_status " (waiting for 200)"
  if [ $$curl_status -eq 200 ] ; then
  sleep 5 

echo -e "\n--\n+> Creating Data Generator source"
curl -s -X PUT -H  "Content-Type:application/json" http://localhost:8083/connectors/source-datagen-01/config \
    -d '{
    "connector.class": "io.confluent.kafka.connect.datagen.DatagenConnector",
    "key.converter": "",
    "kafka.topic": "ratings",
    "quickstart": "ratings",
    "tasks.max": 1
sleep infinity

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