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Apache HBase™ Kafka Proxy

Welcome to the HBase kafka proxy. The purpose of this proxy is to act as a fake peer. It receives replication events from a peer cluster and applies a set of rules (stored in a kafka-route-rules.xml file) to determine if the event should be forwarded to a kafka topic. If the mutation matches a rule, the mutation is converted to an avro object and the item is placed into the topic.

The service sets up a bare bones RegionServer, so it will use the values in any hbase-site.xml it finds on CLASSPATH. If you wish to override those values, pass them as properties on the command line; i.e -Dkey=value.


  1. Make sure the hbase command is in your path. The proxy runs hbase classpath to find hbase libraries.
  2. Create any topics in your kafka broker that you wish to use.
  3. Set up kafka-route-rules.xml. This file controls how the mutations are routed. There are two kinds of rules: route and drop.
  • drop: any mutation that matches this rule will be dropped.
  • route: any mutation that matches this rule will be routed to the configured topic.

Each rule has the following parameters:

  • table
  • columnFamily
  • qualifier

The qualifier parameter can contain simple wildcard expressions (start and end only).


 <rule action="route" table="default:mytable" topic="foo" />

This causes all mutations to default:mytable to be routed to the kafka topic foo.

 <rule action="route" table="default:mytable" columnFamily="mycf" qualifier="myqualifier" topic="mykafkatopic"/>

This will cause all mutations to default:mytable columnFamily mycf and qualifier myqualifier to be routed to mykafkatopic.

 <rule action="drop" table="default:mytable" columnFamily="mycf" qualifier="secret*"/>
 <rule action="route" table="default:mytable" columnFamily="mycf" topic="mykafkatopic"/>

This combination will route all mutations from default:mytable columnFamily mycf to mykafkatopic unless they start with 'secret'. Items matching that rule will be dropped. The way the rule is written, all other mutations for column family mycf will be routed to the mykafka topic.

Setting up HBase

  1. Enable replication hbase.replication=true.
  2. Enable table replication in shell. Table name is table and column family is cf in the following example:
disable 'table'
alter 'table', {NAME => 'cf', REPLICATION_SCOPE => 1}
enable 'table'

Service Arguments

--kafkabrokers    (or -b) <kafka brokers (comma delmited)>
--routerulesfile  (or -r) <file with rules to route to kafka (defaults to kafka-route-rules.xml)>
--kafkaproperties (or -f) <Path to properties file that has the kafka connection properties>
--peername        (or -p) name of hbase peer to use (defaults to hbasekafka)
--znode           (or -z) root znode (defaults to /kafkaproxy)
--enablepeer      (or -e) enable peer on startup (defaults to false)]
--auto            (or -a) auto create peer

Starting the Service

  • Make sure the hbase command is in your path.
  • By default, the service looks for kafka-route-rules.xml in the conf directory. You can specify a different file or location with the -r argument.

For example:

$ bin/ start kafkaproxy -a -e -p <peer> -b <kafka.address>:<kafka.port>


  • Starts the kafka proxy.
  • Passes -a so proxy will create the replication peer specified by -p if it does not exist (not required, but it saves some busy work).
  • Enables the peer (-e) when the service starts (not required, you can manually enable the peer in the shell).
  • The proxy will use conf/kafka-route-rules.xml by default.


  1. The proxy will connect to the zookeeper in hbase-site.xml by default. You can override this by passing -Dhbase.zookeeper.quorum.
  2. Route rules only support unicode characters.

Message Format

Messages are in avro format, this is the schema:

 "type": "record",
 "name": "HBaseKafkaEvent",
 "fields": [
    {"name": "key", "type": "bytes"},
    {"name": "timestamp",  "type": "long" },
    {"name": "delete",  "type": "boolean" },
    {"name": "value", "type": "bytes"},
    {"name": "qualifier", "type": "bytes"},
    {"name": "family", "type": "bytes"},
    {"name": "table", "type": "bytes"}

Any language that supports Avro should be able to consume the messages off the topic.

Testing Utility

A utility is included to test the routing rules.

$ bin/ start kafkaproxytest -k <> -t <topic to listen to>

The messages will be dumped in string format under logs/.


  1. Some properties passed into the region server are hard-coded.
  2. The avro objects should be generic.
  3. Allow rules to be refreshed without a restart.
  4. Get this tested on a secure (TLS & Kerberos) enabled cluster.
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