Channel Revision Published Runs on
3/stable 156 27 Feb 2024
Ubuntu 22.04
3/candidate 156 27 Feb 2024
Ubuntu 22.04
3/beta 156 27 Feb 2024
Ubuntu 22.04
3/edge 176 09 Jul 2024
Ubuntu 22.04
juju deploy kafka --channel 3/stable
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How to upgrade between minor versions

Note This feature is available on Charmed Kafka and Charmed ZooKeeper from revisions 134 and 103, respectively. Upgrade from previous versions is not supported, although possible (see e.g. here for a custom example).

Charm upgrades allow admins to upgrade both operator code (e.g. the revision used by the charm) and/or the workload version. Note that since the charm code pins a particular version of the workload, a charm upgrade may or may not involve also a workload version upgrade. In general, the following guide only applies for in-place upgrades that involve (at most) minor version upgrade of Kafka workload, e.g. between Kafka 3.4.x to 3.5.x. Major workload upgrades are generally NOT SUPPORTED, and they should be carried out using full cluster to cluster migrations. Please refer to the how-to guide about cluster migration here for more information on how this can be achieved.

Perform other extraordinary operations on the Kafka cluster while upgrading is not supported. As an examples, these may be (but not limited to) the following:

  1. Adding or removing units
  2. Creating or destroying new relations
  3. Changes in workload configuration
  4. Upgrading other connected applications (e.g. ZooKeeper)

The concurrency with other operations is not supported, and it can lead the cluster into inconsistent states.

Minor upgrade process overview

When performing an in-place upgrade process, the full process is composed by the following high-level steps:

  1. Collect all necessary pre-upgrade information, necessary for a rollback (if ever needed)
  2. Prepare the charm for the in-place upgrade, by running some preparatory tasks
  3. Upgrade the charm and/or the workload. Once started, all units in a cluster will refresh the charm code and undergo a workload restart/update. The upgrade will be aborted if the unit upgrade has failed, requiring the admin user to rollback.
  4. Post-upgrade checks to make sure all units are in the proper state and the cluster is healthy.

Step 1: Collect

The first step is to record the revisions of the running application, as a safety measure for a rollback action if needed. To accomplish this, simply run the juju status command and look for the revisions of the deployed Kafka and Zookeeper applications. You can also retrieve this with the following command (that requires yq to be installed):

KAFKA_CHARM_REVISION=$(juju status --format json | yq .applications.<KAFKA_APP_NAME>.charm-rev)
ZOOKEEPER_CHARM_REVISION=$(juju status --format json | yq .applications.<ZOOKEEPER_APP_NAME>.charm-rev)

Please fill <KAFKA_APP_NAME> and <ZOOKEEPER_APP_NAME>} placeholder appropriately, e.g. kafka and zookeeper.

Step 2: Prepare

Before upgrading, the charm needs to perform some preparatory tasks to define the upgrade plan.
To do so, run the pre-upgrade-check action against the leader unit:

juju run kafka/leader pre-upgrade-check 

Make sure that the output of the action is successful.

Note that you won’t be able to upgrade successfully unless you complete successfully this action. The action will also configure the charm to minimize high-availability reduction and ensure a safe upgrade process. After successful execution, the charm is ready to be upgraded.

Step 3: Upgrade

Use the juju refresh command to trigger the charm upgrade process. Note that the upgrade can be performed against:

  • selected channel/track, therefore upgrading to the latest revision published on that track
juju refresh kafka --channel 3/edge
  • selected revision
juju refresh kafka --revision=<REVISION>
  • a local charm file
juju refresh kafka --path ./kafka_ubuntu-22.04-amd64.charm

When issuing the commands, all units will refresh (i.e. receive new charm content), and the upgrade charm event will be fired. The charm will take care of executing a update (if required) and a restart of the workload one unit at the time to not lose high-availability.

Note On Juju<3.4.4, the refresh operation may transitively fail because of this issue on Juju. The failure will resolve itself and the upgrade process will resume normally in few minutes (as soon as the new charm has been downloaded and the upgrade events are appropriately emitted.

The upgrade process can be monitored using juju status command, where the message of the units will provide information about which units have been upgraded already, which unit is currently upgrading and which units are waiting for the upgrade to be triggered, as shown below:


App        Version  Status  Scale  Charm      Channel   Rev  Exposed  Message
kafka               active      3  kafka      3/stable  147  no

Unit          Workload  Agent  Machine  Public address  Ports  Message
kafka/0       active    idle   3          Other units upgrading first...
kafka/1*      active    idle   4          Upgrading...
kafka/2       active    idle   5          Upgrade completed

Failing upgrade

Before upgrading the unit, the charm will check whether the upgrade can be performed, e.g. this may mean:

  1. Checking that the upgrade from the previous charm revision and Kafka version is allowed
  2. Checking that other external applications that Kafka depends on (e.g. Zookeeper) are running the correct version

Note that these checks are only possible after a refresh of the charm code, and therefore cannot be done upfront (e.g. during the pre-upgrade-checks action). If some of these checks fail, the upgrade will be aborted. When this happens, the workload may still be operating (as only the operator may have failed) but we recommend to rollback the upgrade as soon as possible.

In order to roll back the upgrade, re-run steps 2 and 3, using the revision taken in step 1, i.e.

juju run kafka/leader pre-upgrade-check

juju refresh kafka --revision=${KAFKA_CHARM_REVISION}

We strongly recommend to also retrieve the full set of logs with juju debug-log, to extract insights on why the upgrade failed.

ZooKeeper Upgrade

Although the previous steps focused on upgrading Kafka, the same process can also be applied to Zookeeper. However, for revisions prior to XXX, a patch needs to be applied before running the aforementioned process. The ZooKeeper process, as part of its operations, overwrites the zoo.cfg pinning the snap revision for the dynamicConfigFile. This may create problems in the upgrade if snapd removes the previous revision once the snap is refreshed. In order to prevent this, it is sufficient to replace the <SNAP_REVISION> with current.

To do so, on each unit, first apply the patch

juju exec -u zookeeper/<UNIT_ID> 'sed -i "s#dynamicConfigFile=/var/snap/charmed-zookeeper/[0-9]*#dynamicConfigFile=/var/snap/charmed-zookeeper/current#g" /var/snap/charmed-zookeeper/current/etc/zookeeper/zoo.cfg'

and then restart the service

juju exec -u zookeeper/<UNIT_ID> 'snap restart charmed-zookeeper`

Check that the server has started correctly, and then apply the patch to the next unit.

Once all the units have been patched, proceed with the upgrade process, as outline above.

Kafka and Zookeeper combined upgrades

If Kafka and Zookeeper charms need both to be upgraded, we recommend you to start the upgrade from the Zookeeper cluster. As outlined above, the two upgrades should NEVER be done concurrently.