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Apache Kafka® FAQs

Here are some of the questions that you may have about Apache Kafka and its surrounding ecosystem.

If you’ve got a question that isn’t answered here then please do ask the community.

What is Confluent Platform?

Confluent Platform is a complete, self-managed, enterprise-grade distribution of Apache Kafka®.

It enables you to connect, process, and react to your data in real-time using the foundational platform for data in motion, which means you can continuously stream data from across your organization to power rich customer experiences and data-driven operations.

See the product page for Confluent Platform or its documentation page.

What is Confluent Kafka?

There is no such thing as "Confluent Kafka." Apache Kafka® is a project owned by the Apache Software Foundation. Confluent is one of the companies that contribute to its development.

Confluent provides a managed Kafka service called Confluent Cloud as well as on-premises software called Confluent Platform, which includes Kafka.

How is Confluent licensed?

Components in Confluent Platform use a mix of Apache 2.0, Confluent Community License, and an enterprise license.

A developer license allows full use of Confluent Platform features free of charge for an indefinite duration. However, the license is limited to a single broker configuration per cluster. The developer license gives developers the freedom to try the Confluent Platform commercial features available in a non-production setting.

A trial (evaluation) license allows a free trial of commercial features in a production setting, and expires after 30 days.

For full details of the licenses and which components use which license, please refer to the documentation.

Is Confluent free?

New signups to Confluent Cloud receive $400 to spend within during their first 30 days.

Many components in Confluent Platform are either open source (Apache 2.0), or source available (Confluent Community License). These include:

  • Apache Kafka®
    • Kafka Connect
    • Kafka Streams
  • ksqlDB
  • Confluent Schema Registry
  • Confluent REST Proxy
  • Some of the connectors for Kafka Connect

Other components of Confluent require an enterprise license. They can be used under a 30-day trial, or indefinitely under the developer license, when used with a single broker cluster in a non-production setting.

For full details of the licenses and terms please see the documentation.

Learn more with these free training courses

Apache Kafka 101

Learn how Kafka works, how to use it, and how to get started.

Spring Framework and Apache Kafka®

This hands-on course will show you how to build event-driven applications with Spring Boot and Kafka Streams.

Building Data Pipelines with Apache Kafka® and Confluent

Build a scalable, streaming data pipeline in under 20 minutes using Kafka and Confluent.

Confluent Cloud is a fully managed Apache Kafka service available on all three major clouds. Try it for free today.

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