How to Determine Kafka Connect License or Not?

Determining whether a Kafka Connect source or sink connector requires a license to be purchased usually depends on the specific connector and its vendor. Because Kafka Connect itself is an open-source framework, but individual connectors may have different licensing models.

Put another way, as a developer and/or operator or anyone trying to build and create Kafka Connect solutions, you need to know if the Kafka connector you are consider costs money to use or not?

In my role of supporting Data Streaming customers, I’m surprised by how many people are unaware that all connectors are not free to use, open source license — some connectors require payment.

In this post, I’m going to describe and show a video example of the most common way I’ve seen to determine if a Kafka Connect connector, source or sink, requires a license to be purchased on not.

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Here are top 4 steps you can take to check whether a Kafka Connect connector requires a license or not:

1. Check Connector Documentation

  • Check the official documentation of the Kafka Connect connector in question. Most connectors come with documentation that outlines licensing details, including whether a license is required and the terms of use.

2. Connector Vendor Website

  • Visit the website of the vendor or organization that developed the Kafka Connect connector. Vendors often provide information about licensing, pricing, and support for their connectors. There is a video example of one such vendor below.

3. License File or Information

  • Inspect the connector package or installation for any license files or documents. Some connectors require the user to obtain and apply a license file for full functionality.

4. GitHub Repository

  • If the connector is open-source, check its GitHub repository or source code repository. Licensing information is often included in the repository’s README file or a dedicated LICENSE file.

Determine Kafka Connect License Example

Now, let’s take a look at an example. I have no data to prove this statement, but in my experience, the following is the most common path and can also be most confusing.

After people familiarize themselves with Kafka Connect, the begin to search for certain connectors. Let’s say they search for “Kafka Connect S3” or “Kafka Connect S3 Sink” or “Kafka Connect S3 Source”. Most likely, their search results will take them to Confluent Hub website. In the following video, I show how to determine if a connector requires a Confluent license or not.

There you have it. At the time of this writing, the S3 Sink does not require a proprietary license while the S3 Source does require a license purchased from Confluent.

By the way, there is an alternative to Confluent Hub for finding Kafka connectors at I’m just getting it started, but check it out.

Additional Examples to Determine License

There are other ways to determine if a Kafka connector requires a license or not.

Check Community Forums and Discussions

  • Explore community forums, mailing lists, or discussion groups related to Kafka Connect. Other users may share their experiences regarding licensing for specific connectors, or the connector developers may provide clarification.

Contact the Vendor or Developer Directly

  • If in doubt, reach out to the connector’s vendor or developer directly. They can provide accurate and up-to-date information on licensing requirements and any associated costs.

Licensing Information in Connector Configuration

  • Check the connector’s configuration properties. Some connectors include configuration parameters related to licensing, such as license keys or URLs where you can obtain a license.

Commercial vs. Open-Source Connectors

  • Understand the distinction between commercial and open-source connectors. Commercial connectors typically require a license, while open-source connectors are often freely available. However, open-source connectors may have specific usage or attribution requirements outlined in their licenses.

Review Online Resources

  • Search for reviews, blog posts, or articles related to the specific to Kafka Connect. Other users may share their experiences with licensing and any considerations for using the connector in production.
  • If you’re part of an organization, consult with your legal or procurement team. They can provide guidance on licensing requirements and ensure compliance with any terms and conditions associated with the connector.

Remember that licensing terms can vary, so it’s essential to review the specific details for each connector you intend to use. Always ensure compliance with licensing agreements to avoid any legal or operational issues.

Also, lastly, shameless plug to check out new site for Kafka Connect connectors.

See also  Running Kafka Connect [Standalone vs Distributed Mode Examples]
About Todd M

Todd has held multiple software roles over his 20 year career. For the last 5 years, he has focused on helping organizations move from batch to data streaming. In addition to the free tutorials, he provides consulting, coaching for Data Engineers, Data Scientists, and Data Architects. Feel free to reach out directly or to connect on LinkedIn

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