Apache Kafka is a distributed streaming platform for building real-time data pipelines and streaming applications. It is written in Scala and Java and is built on the Apache Kafka project, which provides a high-performance, fault-tolerant, and scalable infrastructure for handling streams of records in real-time.
Kafka is designed to handle high volume, high throughput, and low-latency data streaming. It can handle millions of events per second and can handle terabytes of data without data loss. It stores streams of records in a fault-tolerant way and allows real-time data processing.
Kafka uses a publish-subscribe model where producers write data to topics and consumers read data from topics. Topics are split into partitions and each partition is replicated across multiple brokers for fault tolerance.
Kafka also supports various features such as, built-in support for data compression, data partitioning and replication, and built-in, centralized exception handling system that allows for easier debugging and error reporting.
Kafka is often used in big data and real-time data pipeline architectures, it's used for stream processing, log aggregation, real-time analytics, and event sourcing. It can be integrated with many programming languages and frameworks, including Java, .NET, C++, Ruby, and Python.