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

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

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-source directory:

cd kafka-connect-mq-source

Build the connector using Maven:

mvn clean package

Once built, the output is a single JAR called target/kafka-connect-mq-source-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 source 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.

This is rather complicated and it's likely that a future update of the connector will simplify matters.

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 source 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 source connector reads a message from MQ, it chooses a schema to represent the message format and creates an internal object called a record containing the message value. This conversion is performed using a record builder. Each record is then processed using a converter which creates the message that's published on a Kafka topic.

There are two record builders supplied with the connector, although you can write your own. The basic rule is that if you just want the message to be passed along to Kafka unchanged, the default record builder is probably the best choice. If the incoming data is in JSON format and you want to use a schema based on its structure, use the JSON record builder.

There are three converters build into Apache Kafka and another which is part of the Confluent Platform. You need to make sure that the incoming message format, the setting of the mq.message.body.jms configuration, the record builder and converter are all compatible. By default, everything is just treated as bytes but if you want the connector to understand the message format and apply more sophisticated processing such as single-message transforms, you'll need a more complex configuration. The following table shows the basic options that work.

Record builder class Incoming MQ message mq.message.body.jms Converter class Outgoing Kafka message Any false (default) org.apache.kafka.connect.converters.ByteArrayConverter Binary data JMS BytesMessage true org.apache.kafka.connect.converters.ByteArrayConverter Binary data JMS TextMessage true String data JSON, may have schema Not used org.apache.kafka.connect.json.JsonConverter JSON, no schema JSON, may have schema Not used io.confluent.connect.avro.AvroConverter Binary-encoded Avro

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

  • Pass unchanged binary (or string) data as the Kafka message value
  • Message format is MQSTR, pass string data as the Kafka message value
  • Messages are JMS BytesMessage, pass byte array as the Kafka message value
  • Messages are JMS TextMessage, pass string data as the Kafka message value

The gory detail

The messages received from MQ are processed by a record builder which builds a Kafka Connect record to represent the message. There are two record builders supplied with the MQ source connector. The connector has a configuration option mq.message.body.jms that controls whether it interprets the MQ messages as JMS messages or regular MQ messages.

Record builder class mq.message.body.jms Incoming message body Value schema Value class false (default) Any OPTIONAL_BYTES byte[] true JMS BytesMessage null byte[] true JMS TextMessage null String true Everything else EXCEPTION EXCEPTION Not used JSON Depends on message Depends on message

You must then choose a converter than can handle the value schema and class. There are three basic converters built into Apache Kafka, with the likely useful combinations in bold.

Converter class Output for byte[] Output for String Output for compound schema
org.apache.kafka.connect.converters.ByteArrayConverter Binary data EXCEPTION EXCEPTION Works, not useful String data Works, not useful
org.apache.kafka.connect.json.JsonConverter Base-64 JSON String JSON String JSON data

In addition, there is another converter for the Avro format that is part of the Confluent Platform. This has not been tested with the MQ source connector at this time.

Key support and partitioning

By default, the connector does not use keys for the Kafka messages it publishes. It can be configured to use the JMS message headers to set the key of the Kafka records. You could use this, for example, to use the MQMD correlation identifier as the partitioning key when the messages are published to Kafka. There are three valid values for the mq.record.builder.key.header that controls this behavior.

mq.record.builder.key.header Key schema Key class Recommended value for key.converter
JMSCorrelationIDAsBytes OPTIONAL_BYTES byte[] org.apache.kafka.connect.converters.ByteArrayConverter

In MQ, the message ID and correlation ID are both 24-byte arrays. As strings, the connector represents them using a sequence of 48 hexadecimal characters.


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 Source Connector are as follows:

Name Description Type Default Valid values
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 source 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.record.builder The class used to build the Kafka Connect record string Class implementing RecordBuilder
mq.message.body.jms Whether to interpret the message body as a JMS message type boolean false
mq.record.builder.key.header The JMS message header to use as the Kafka record key string JMSMessageID, JMSCorrelationID, JMSCorrelationIDAsBytes
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
topic The name of the target Kafka topic string Topic name

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:

  • Configurable schema for MQ messages
  • Simplification of handling message formats
  • 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.