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Generate configuration for Apache ZooKeeper ensemble

Author: Patrick Hunt (follow me on twitter)


This project will generate all of the configuration needed to run a ZooKeeper ensemble I mainly use this tool for localhost based testing, but it can generate configurations for any list of servers (see the --server option).

What is Apache ZooKeeper

From the official site "ZooKeeper is a high-performance coordination service for distributed applications."

It exposes common services - such as naming, configuration management, synchronization, and group services - in a simple interface so you don't have to write them from scratch. You can use it off-the-shelf to implement consensus, group management, leader election, and presence protocols. And you can build on it for your own, specific needs.


This project is licensed under the Apache License Version 2.0


  • Python 3 is supported. (see "python2" git repo branch if you need python2 support)
  • Cheetah version 3 - see below

Requirements - Cheetah Python 3

  • Cheetah has been forked to support python 3 - "pip install cheetah3"

before using the first time (or on update) run the following command. You may or may not need to use the shbang option depending upon how your python environment is setup:

cheetah-compile --shbang='#!/usr/bin/env python3' *.tmpl


usage: [-h] [-c COUNT] [--servers SERVERS]
                 [--clientportstart CLIENTPORTSTART]
                 [--quorumportstart QUORUMPORTSTART]
                 [--electionportstart ELECTIONPORTSTART]
                 [--adminportstart ADMINPORTSTART] [--weights WEIGHTS]
                 [--groups GROUPS] [--maxClientCnxns MAXCLIENTCNXNS]
                 [--electionAlg ELECTIONALG] [--username USERNAME] [--trace]
                 [--ssl] [--sasl] [--4lwWhitelist WHITELIST]
                 zookeeper_dir output_dir

ZooKeeper ensemble config generator

positional arguments:
  zookeeper_dir         ZooKeeper distribution directory
  output_dir            Output directory of generated files

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -c COUNT, --count COUNT
                        ensemble size (default 3)
  --servers SERVERS     explicit list of comma separated server names
                        (alternative to --count)
  --clientportstart CLIENTPORTSTART
                        first client port (default 2181)
  --quorumportstart QUORUMPORTSTART
                        first quorum port (default 3181)
  --electionportstart ELECTIONPORTSTART
                        first election port (default 4181)
  --adminportstart ADMINPORTSTART
                        first admin (jetty) port (default 8081)
  --weights WEIGHTS     comma separated list of weights for each server (flex
                        quorum only, default off)
  --groups GROUPS       comma separated list of groups (flex quorum only,
                        default off)
  --maxClientCnxns MAXCLIENTCNXNS
                        maxClientCnxns of server config (default unspecified,
                        ZK default)
  --electionAlg ELECTIONALG
                        electionAlg of server config (default unspecified, ZK
                        default - FLE)
  --username USERNAME   SSH username to login to servers for generating remote
                        deployment scripts
  --trace               Enable trace level logging to separate log file
  --ssl                 Enable SSL support (both client-server and server-
  --sasl                Enable SASL support in client and server
  --4lwWhitelist WHITELIST
                        override the ZooKeeper default whitelist
  --4lwWhitelistAll     whitelist all the 4lw

Where zookeeper_dir is the location of your ZooKeeper trunk (zkconf copies the jars/confs from this directory into the output_dir to make your life easier). And output_dir is the directory to which we will output the generated files (assumption is that this is a non-existent directory - ie zkconf will create it)

example of typical use; 9 server quorum: --count 9 ~/zookeeper_trunk test9servers --servers ",," ~/zookeeper_trunk test3servers

example of using weights/groups (only for flex quorum, not typical); 9 servers with 3 groups -c 9 --weights="1,1,1,1,1,0,0,0,0" --groups="1:2:3:4:5,6:7,8:9" ~/dev/workspace/gitzk testflexquroum

Running localhost (default) starts client:quorum:election ports as 2181:3181:4181 respectively. Running non-localhost (--servers) starts client:quorum:elections ports for all hosts as 2181:3181:4181.

  • "server:port,server:port,..." - open a client to the server list
  • - status of each of the servers (prints leader | follower if active)
  • - start the ensemble (logs are output to the respective server subdir, localhost only)
  • - stop the ensemble (localhost only)

Running remotely

If servers are listed in the command line, zkconf will generate shell scripts which help you to upload ZooKeeper files and start/stop ensemble remotely. For instance, you want to start a "real" ensemble running on separate machines / VMs. --servers ",," --username foobar ~/zookeeper_trunk test3servers

Argument username is optional, root will be used by default if it's missing. The following scripts will be available:

  • - transfer the files to remote servers
  • - start ensemble remotely
  • - stop ensemble remotely

Status can be checked with the same script that was mentioned in the previous section.


SSL support can be enabled by adding --ssl argument to the command line. This will turn on both client-server and server-server SSL support and disable non-SSL connections.

You might also want to take a look at zoocfg.tmpl template file before the Cheetah compile and make sure keystore/truststore location is correct and password is defined.

Generate self-signed certificate

keytool -genkeypair -alias $(hostname -f) -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -dname "cn=$(hostname -f)" -keypass password -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password

Export certificate from keystore

keytool -exportcert -alias $(hostname -f) -keystore keystore.jks -file $(hostname -f).cer -rfc

Import certiciate to truststore

keytool -importcert -file Andors-MacBook-Pro.local.cer -keystore truststore.jks


It's possible to overload a machine when running lots of ZK ensemble members - if you run into an error such as "NoRouteToHostException: No valid address" you may need to update the ICMP rate limit which isset to 250 by default. You can turn this off using the following command:

sudo sysctl -wnet.inet.icmp.icmplim=0

(see also


Apache ZooKeeper quorum configuration generator







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