This repository contains a Kafka Connect sink connector for copying data from Apache Kafka into IBM MQ.
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Kafka Connect sink connector for IBM MQ

kafka-connect-mq-sink is a Kafka Connect sink connector for copying data from Apache Kafka into IBM MQ.

The connector is supplied as source code which you can easily build into a JAR file.

Building the connector

To build the connector, you must have the following installed:

Clone the repository with the following command:

git clone

Change directory into the kafka-connect-mq-sink directory:

cd kafka-connect-mq-sink

Build the connector using Maven:

mvn clean package

Once built, the output is a single JAR target/kafka-connect-mq-sink-0.6-SNAPSHOT-jar-with-dependencies.jar which contains all of the required dependencies.

Running the connector

To run the connector, you must have:

  • The JAR from building the connector
  • A properties file containing the configuration for the connector
  • Apache Kafka
  • IBM MQ v7.5 or later

The connector can be run in a Kafka Connect worker in either standalone (single process) or distributed mode. It's a good idea to start in standalone mode.

You need two configuration files, one for the configuration that applies to all of the connectors such as the Kafka bootstrap servers, and another for the configuration specific to the MQ sink connector such as the connection information for your queue manager. For the former, the Kafka distribution includes a file called that you can use as a starting point. For the latter, you can use config/ in this repository.

The connector connects to MQ using a client connection. You must provide the name of the queue manager, the connection name (one or more host/port pairs) and the channel name. In addition, you can provide a user name and password if the queue manager is configured to require them for client connections. If you look at the supplied config/, you'll see how to specify the configuration required.

To run the connector in standalone mode from the directory into which you installed Apache Kafka, you use a command like this:


Data formats

Kafka Connect is very flexible but it's important to understand the way that it processes messages to end up with a reliable system. When the connector encounters a message that it cannot process, it stops rather than throwing the message away. Therefore, you need to make sure that the configuration you use can handle the messages the connector will process.

Each message in Kafka Connect is associated with a representation of the message format known as a schema. Each Kafka message actually has two parts, key and value, and each part has its own schema. The MQ sink connector does not currently use message keys, but some of the configuration options use the word Value because they refer to the Kafka message value.

When the MQ sink connector reads a message from Kafka, it is processed using a converter which chooses a schema to represent the message format and creates a Java object containing the message value. The MQ sink connector then converts this internal format into the message it sends to MQ using a message builder.

There are three converters built into Apache Kafka and another which is part of the Confluent Platform. The following table shows which converters to use based on the incoming message encoding.

Incoming Kafka message Converter class
Any org.apache.kafka.connect.converters.ByteArrayConverter
JSON, may have schema org.apache.kafka.connect.json.JsonConverter
Binary-encoded Avro io.confluent.connect.avro.AvroConverter

There are three message builders supplied with the connector, although you can write your own. The basic rule is that if you're using a converter that uses a very simple schema, the default message builder is probably the best choice. If you're using a converter that uses richer schemas to represent complex messages, the JSON message builder is good for generating a JSON representation of the complex data. The following table shows some likely combinations.

Converter class Message builder class Outgoing MQ message
org.apache.kafka.connect.converters.ByteArrayConverter Binary data String data
org.apache.kafka.connect.json.JsonConverter JSON, no schema
io.confluent.connect.avro.AvroConverter JSON

When you set mq.message.body.jms=true, the MQ messages are generated as JMS messages. This is appropriate if the applications receiving the messages are themselves using JMS.

There's no single configuration that will always be right, but here are some high-level suggestions.

  • Message values are treated as byte arrays, pass byte array into MQ message
  • Message values are treated as strings, pass string into MQ message
  • Message schemas are stored in the Schema Registry and values are binary-encoded Avro, pass into MQ message as JSON

The gory detail

The messages received from Kafka are processed by a converter which chooses a schema to represent the message and creates a Java object containing the message value. There are three basic converters built into Apache Kafka. In addition, there is another converter for the Avro format that is part of the Confluent Platform that works with the Schema Registry and the Avro-encoded message format.

Converter class Kafka message encoding Value schema Value class
org.apache.kafka.connect.converters.ByteArrayConverter Any OPTIONAL_BYTES byte[] String OPTIONAL_STRING java.lang.String
org.apache.kafka.connect.json.JsonConverter JSON, may have schema Depends on message Depends on message
io.confluent.connect.avro.AvroConverter Binary-encoded Avro Depends on message Depends on message

The MQ sink connector uses a message builder to build the MQ messsages from the schema and value. There are three built-in message builders.

The DefaultMessageBuilder is best when the schema is very simple, such as when the ByteArrayConverter or StringConverter are being used.

Value schema Value class Outgoing message format JMS message type Outgoing message body
null Any MQFMT_STRING TextMessage Java Object.toString() of value
BYTES byte[] MQFMT_NONE BytesMessage Byte array
STRING java.lang.String MQFMT_STRING TextMessage String
Everything else Any MQFMT_STRING TextMessage Java Object.toString() of value

If you use the JsonConverter with the DefaultMessageBuilder, the output message will not be JSON; it will be a Java string representation of the value instead. That's why there's a JsonMessageBuilder too which behaves like this:

Value schema Value class Outgoing message format JMS message type Outgoing message body
Any Any MQFMT_STRING TextMessage JSON representation of the value

To make the differences clear, here are some examples.

Input message Converter Value schema Message builder Output message body Comment
ABC StringConverter STRING DefaultMessageBuilder ABC OK
ABC StringConverter STRING JsonMessageBuilder "ABC" Quotes added to give a JSON string
"ABC" JsonConverter STRING DefaultMessageBuilder ABC Quotes removed, not a JSON string
"ABC" JsonConverter STRING JsonMessageBuilder "ABC" OK
{"A":"B"} JsonConverter Compound (STRUCT) DefaultMessageBuilder STRUCT{A=B} Probably not helpful
{"A":"B"} JsonConverter Compound (STRUCT) JsonMessageBuilder {"A":"B"} OK

Note that the order of JSON structures is not fixed and fields may be reordered.

To handle the situation in which you already have a Kafka converter that you want to use to build the MQ message payload, the ConverterMessageBuilder is the one to use. Then you would end up using two Converters - one to convert the Kafka message to the internal SinkRecord, and the second to convert that into the MQ message. Since the Converter might also have its own configuration options, you can specify them using a prefix of mq.message.builder.value.converter. For example, the following configuration gets the ConverterMessageBuilder to work the same as the JsonMessageBuilder.

Key support and partitioning

By default, the connector does not use the keys for the Kafka messages it reads. It can be configured to set the JMS correlation ID using the key of the Kafka records. To configure this behavior, set the mq.message.builder.key.header configuration value.

mq.message.builder.key.header Key schema Key class Recommended value for key.converter
JMSCorrelationID STRING String
JMSCorrelationID BYTES byte[] org.apache.kafka.connect.converters.ByteArrayConverter

In MQ, the correlation ID is a 24-byte array. As a string, the connector represents it using a sequence of 48 hexadecimal characters. The Kafka key will be truncated to fit into this size.


The connector supports authentication with user name and password and also connections secured with TLS using a server-side certificate and mutual authentication with client-side certificates.

Setting up TLS using a server-side certificate

To enable use of TLS, set the configuration mq.ssl.cipher.suite to the name of the cipher suite which matches the CipherSpec in the SSLCIPH attribute of the MQ server-connection channel. Use the table of supported cipher suites for MQ 9.0.x here as a reference. Note that the names of the CipherSpecs as used in the MQ configuration are not necessarily the same as the cipher suite names that the connector uses. The connector uses the JMS interface so it follows the Java conventions.

You will need to put the public part of the queue manager's certificate in the JSSE truststore used by the Kafka Connect worker that you're using to run the connector. If you need to specify extra arguments to the worker's JVM, you can use the EXTRA_ARGS environment variable.

Setting up TLS for mutual authentication

You will need to put the public part of the client's certificate in the queue manager's key repository. You will also need to configure the worker's JVM with the location and password for the keystore containing the client's certificate.


For troubleshooting, or to better understand the handshake performed by the IBM MQ Java client application in combination with your specific JSSE provider, you can enable debugging by setting in the JVM environment.


The configuration options for the MQ Sink Connector are as follows:

Name Description Type Default Valid values
topics or topics.regex List of Kafka source topics string topic1[,topic2,...]
mq.queue.manager The name of the MQ queue manager string MQ queue manager name List of connection names for queue manager string host(port)[,host(port),...] The name of the server-connection channel string MQ channel name
mq.queue The name of the target MQ queue string MQ queue name The user name for authenticating with the queue manager string User name
mq.password The password for authenticating with the queue manager string Password
mq.message.builder The class used to build the MQ message string Class implementing MessageBuilder
mq.message.body.jms Whether to generate the message body as a JMS message type boolean false Time-to-live in milliseconds for messages sent to MQ long 0 (unlimited) [0,...]
mq.persistent Send persistent or non-persistent messages to MQ boolean true
mq.ssl.cipher.suite The name of the cipher suite for TLS (SSL) connection string Blank or valid cipher suite The distinguished name pattern of the TLS (SSL) peer string Blank or DN pattern
mq.message.builder.key.header The JMS message header to set from the Kafka record key string JMSCorrelationID
mq.message.builder.value.converter The class and prefix for message builder's value converter string Class implementing Converter

Future enhancements

The connector is intentionally basic. The idea is to enhance it over time with additional features to make it more capable. Some possible future enhancements are:

  • JMX metrics
  • Separate TLS configuration for the connector so that keystore location and so on can be specified as configurations

Issues and contributions

For issues relating specifically to this connector, please use the GitHub issue tracker. If you do submit a Pull Request related to this connector, please indicate in the Pull Request that you accept and agree to be bound by the terms of the IBM Contributor License Agreement.


Copyright 2017, 2018 IBM Corporation

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.The project is licensed under the Apache 2 license.