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Instaclustr for Apache Kafka® and Apache Kafka® Connect 3.3.1 Are Now Available

Instaclustr is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Instaclustr for Apache Kafka® and Apache Kafka® Connect 3.3.1 on our managed platform. 

Kafka 3.3.1 is an important release for us, as it’s the first Kafka version we’re releasing with support for KRaft mode (albeit in Public Preview due to its current limitations). We’re not the only ones excited about Kafka 3.3.1 – it’s an important release for the Kafka project as well, since it’s the first one they announced had KRaft ready for production use. 

At the same time, we haven’t forgotten that nearly everybody is still using ZooKeeper™ for production and we are simultaneously making Kafka 3.3.1 generally available with ZooKeeper mode. 

More details on our Managed Kafka 3.3.1 release: 

  • For clusters upgraded from any Kafka versions older than Kafka 3.3.1, they will be upgraded with ZooKeeper mode enabled. This path to run a Kafka 3.3.1 cluster does not allow the option of having KRaft mode enabled. For such clusters, this upgrade therefore is like any other Kafka version upgrade—you get our managed Kafka offering, i.e., a Kafka cluster running with ZooKeeper. 
  • For new Kafka clusters being spun up, at time of cluster creation you will have the option of selecting whether you’d like the cluster to be created with ZooKeeper mode or to preview KRaft mode. ZooKeeper mode will be the default. 

Kafka 3.3.1 with KRaft mode is available only as a Public Preview due to current shortcomings, most notably, a lack of support for a mechanism for migrating ZooKeeper clusters to KRaft, and a lack of support for SCRAM. The Kafka project is working on implementing support for the former as soon as Kafka 3.4.1. As a Public Preview, production SLAs do not apply to clusters using KRaft mode. 

With the release of Kafka 3.3.1 on our managed platform, we will be updating lifecycle states for our older supported Kafka versions to more restrictive lifecycle states as per our lifecycle policy as shown in the table below. In summary, the typical lifecycle for Kafka versions is GA -> Closed -> Legacy Support (if needed) -> EOL.  

We encourage customers on any non-GA Kafka versions to get in touch with us via our support portal and schedule a version upgrade. 

Kafka Version *
Current Lifecycle State
New Lifecycle State

w.e.f. May 1, 2023
Supported until at least
2.8.2GAClosedSeptember 30, 2023
3.0.2GAGADecember 31, 2023
3.1.2GAGAFebruary 29, 2024
3.3.1GAGAApril 30, 2024

* Kafka versions which are currently in more restricted states than GA or closed are not listed. Dates for when they will be transitioning to EOL are communicated directly to the few customers still using them. 

We’re also excited to announce that alongside the new Kafka release, we have also made Karapace version 3.4.3 available on our platform. Between versions 3.2.0 and version 3.4.3, a lot of fixes, performance, and feature improvements have been introduced. New customers will only have the option of being able to provision Kafka clusters with Karapace 3.4.3, if they so choose. Customers with existing clusters running Karapace will continue to have the option of being able to use Karapace 3.2.0 for a few more weeks, while also being able to use Karapace 3.4.3 as we work with you to upgrade your clusters to the newer version. 

We encourage you to try your preferred Kafka version in your non-production environments first in order to confirm compatibility with your clients, before using it in production environments.  

If you need any help spinning up new clusters of Kafka, or upgrading existing managed Kafka clusters, please feel free to get in touch with us via our support website.