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  • KIP-181: DescribeGroups Protocol Enhancement
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Current state"Draft"

Discussion thread: here


Please keep the discussion on the mailing list rather than commenting on the wiki (wiki discussions get unwieldy fast).


The DescribeGroups protocol v1 currently returns this information for each consumer group:

  • error_code
  • group_id
  • state
  • protocol_type
  • protocol
  • members (only a member summary is returned per member that misses some useful member info too)

Additional info exist or can be derived in a GroupMetadata object on the server side, some of which could be useful if exposed via the DescribeGroups protocol. Here are some examples:

  • generationId
  • leaderId
  • supportedProtocols per member
  • subscribed topics per member

Enhancing the protocol with some of this additional info means improving the existing tools that make use of it. For example, using this additional info, the consumer group command's --describe output will provide more information about each consumer group to help with understanding the group behavior, its monitoring, troubleshooting, etc. 

Public Interfaces

This is the latest version (v1) of DescribeGroups protocol:


The suggestion is to enhance the protocol to version 2 and add some of these currently missing information (* indicates suggested fields to be added to the protocol):

Proposed Changes

The proposal is to

  1. Create version 2 of DescribeGroups protocol to include additional information about the consumer group and also each group member for the API clients.
  2. Update the consumer group command to provide the added information in the command output (where applicable). Note that this KIP will improve upon KIP-175 where group state and detailed member information will also be returned by the consumer group command using additional command line options. Therefore, the output of some of the sub-options introduced in KIP-175 will improve to include the newly available information by this KIP. Suggested changes are:
    1. Updating the --state option to also include a GENERATION-ID and LEADER-ID column.
    2. Providing the missing member ASSIGNMENT-STRATEGY value for --members option.
    3. Providing the missing member SUBSCRIPTION value for --members --verbose option.
  3. On a related subject but perhaps unrelated to the protocol enhancement, also update the consumer group command to provide filtering by topic as well (similar to how the old consumer offset checker tool supported this filtering).

Compatibility, Deprecation, and Migration Plan

Since this KIP follows KIP-175, the output for sub-options --members and --state that are introduced in that KIP will be modified to also include the newly added fields. Therefore, clients who rely on the output for those sub-options may need to be adjusted. It also helps the consumer group --describe command to fill some of the newly added columns introduced by KIP-175 (i.e. ASSIGNMENT-STRATEGY for --members options, and SUBSCRIPTION for --members --verbose option).

Rejected Alternatives

  • Providing this additional information in the server logs: It is much more convenient to look up this new pieces of information via the consumer group command tool. Plus, these fields and their underlying concepts are not likely to disappear in the future. So we would not have to worry about making a protocol change that will likely become obsolete in the future.
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