Product updates

Introducing Horizontal Scaling for DigitalOcean Managed Kafka

Devneel Vaidya

Posted: February 23, 20244 min read

Since its launch in September 2023, DigitalOcean Managed Kafka has enabled startups, growing digital businesses, and ISVs to improve real-time data processing and analysis—and in turn make more insightful decisions. In this new year, we’re excited to announce Horizontal Scaling for Managed Kafka, empowering our customers to handle increasing data volumes and traffic, improve the reliability of their clusters, and optimize resources. With this new feature, customers can right-provision nodes/brokers in alignment with fluctuating workload requirements.

Adjust your Kafka storage with ease

With Scalable Storage, you can now add more storage with a single setting. Easily add disk storage in 10 GB increments per node, priced at just $2/month per increment. Think of it as adding data buckets to your Kafka cluster, one by one, for the perfect fit.

Kafka screenshot

Scalable Storage features include:

  • Increased disk storage capacity: All Kafka plans now come with a range of disk storage options, which can be used to start a new plan or upgrade an existing plan. The minimum amount of storage available can be increased from two to five times the starting amount.

  • Kafka Clusters now have more storage: Kafka Clusters now scale up to 1.5 TB of storage, enabling users to future-proof their Kafka deployments and ensure they can handle large production workloads.

  • Spin up a cluster in minutes: Provision highly available, Kafka clusters quickly via the UI, CLI, or API within minutes. Save time and reduce operational overhead required for setting up and connecting nodes, as well as a separate ZooKeeper node. Apache ZooKeeper is an open-source software that enables highly reliable distributed coordination. It is commonly used in distributed systems to manage configuration information, naming services, distributed synchronization, quorum, and state. Distributed systems often rely on ZooKeeper to implement consensus, leader election, and group management.

Horizontally scale your DigitalOcean Kafka cluster for peak performance

As your data volume grows and your applications require more and more insights, your Kafka cluster can become overwhelmed. This can lead to performance bottlenecks, user frustrations, and under-utilization of resources. This is where horizontal scaling emerges as a powerful solution, ready to transform your cluster from a straining engine to a smoothly-humming powerhouse.

Think of your Kafka cluster as a network of data processing pipelines. As data demands surge, these pipelines become congested, slowing down the flow of information and hindering your ability to extract valuable insights. Horizontal scaling acts like adding more lanes to this data highway, distributing the workload across additional nodes. Horizontal scaling will enable users to add more nodes to your existing Kafka cluster to handle more requests, helping to ensure peak workload performance.

Horizontal scaling entails adding more nodes to your existing Kafka cluster to handle more requests.

RockerBox, a marketing analytics company focused on simplifying multi-channel marketing, took advantage of additional nodes to keep up with spiking demand for their service.

“It was easy for our team to set up a 15-node DigitalOcean Managed Kafka cluster to handle the increased traffic around Black Friday.” - Kevin Hsu, Director of Engineering

This translates to:

  • Boosted performance: More nodes mean more processing power, increased throughput, and reduced latency.

  • Scalability on demand: Avoid overspending on a massive cluster from the get-go. Horizontal scaling lets you gradually add nodes as your needs evolve, like expanding your data network one segment at a time. It’s a cost-effective approach to growth! Anticipate data spikes, add nodes, and keep the data flowing like a well-oiled machine.

  • Enhanced resilience: We understand the criticality of uptime. Horizontal scaling helps ensure service continuity by providing redundant nodes that pick up the slack during planned maintenance or unforeseen outages. Your users will thank you for the uninterrupted data access!

  • Fault tolerance: More nodes often unlock advanced data replication features, helping to safeguard your information even during major disruptions. Think of it as having multiple copies of your data.

  • Improved reliability: With scalable storage, customers can improve the reliability of their Managed Kafka clusters by adding additional brokers. Configure your cluster to have 3, 6, 9, or 15 brokers for higher reliability in case of a failover.

Remember, scaling isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Carefully assess your workload, budget, and operational complexity before adding nodes. However, horizontal scaling can be a game-changer for cloud-based businesses grappling with real-time data demands. It unlocks performance, capacity, resilience, and flexibility, empowering you to extract the full potential of your Kafka cluster.

DigitalOcean Managed Kafka clusters include 3 nodes (also known as “brokers”), but Dedicated-Plan clusters can be easily upgraded to 6, 9, or 15-node configurations.

Kafka screenshot

Try Managed Kafka today!

Designed for growing digital businesses with simplicity and affordability, DigitalOcean Managed Kafka is now available for all your production workloads. Learn more about Managed Kafka in our docs, and start taking advantage of the benefits of Managed Kafka today by signing up for a DigitalOcean account.

Need help regarding Managed Kafka? Contact our sales team or connect with a DigitalOcean Partner who can advise you on architecture reviews, deployments, migration support, and other infrastructure assistance.


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