Redpanda Console - Open Source Web UI for Kafka

Redpanda Console (previously known as Kowl) is a Web UI, that allows you to explore and find messages in Kafka, provides an overview about topic configuration, consumer groups, brokers etc. It is designed to be hosted by a platform team, so that the initial setup including SASL, TLS etc. only has to be made once for everyone - however you can also run it locally using docker (compose). It’s open source and licensed under BSL.

Features include:

  • Message viewer: Explore your topics’ messages in our message viewer through ad-hoc queries and dynamic filters. Find any message you want using JavaScript functions to filter messages. Supported encodings are: JSON, Avro, Protobuf, XML, MessagePack, Text and Binary (hex view). The used enconding (except Protobuf) is recognized automatically.
  • Consumer groups: List all your active consumer groups along with their active group offsets, edit group offsets (by group, topic or partition) or delete a consumer group.
  • Topic overview: Browse through the list of your Kafka topics, check their configuration, space usage, list all consumers who consume a single topic or watch partition details (such as low and high water marks, message count, …), embed topic documentation from a git repository and more.
  • Cluster overview: List ACLs, available brokers, their space usage, rack id and other information to get a high level overview of your brokers in your cluster.
  • Schema registry: List all Avro, Protobuf or JSON schemas within your schema registry.
  • Kafka Connect: Manage connectors from multiple connect clusters, patch configs, view their current state or restart tasks.


Disclaimer: I’m one of the authors and work for Redpanda. Redpanda acquired Kowl in 2022.

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Nice! Do you have any plans of adding kSQL console support to it?

Actually no plans at the moment, but feature requests via the GitHub issues are always welcome. We try to prioritize by community feedback.

However for kSQL I’m not sure if we are even allowed to offer features around it (because of the Confluent license). Maybe someone from Confluent can shed some light on this?

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We have added support for Kafka connect. It has some unique features that no other GUI tool can offer so far and hence I believe for those that are looking for a UI for Kafka connect management - Kowl is one of the best options (and also free/opensource):

  • Multi cluster support
  • Visual Setup Wizard to deploy new connectors (includes validation and SMT support) - works for all available connectors
  • CRUD operations for all connectors

Here you can see a short GIF showing the Kafka connect support:

Nowadays the UI looks more modern than the oirignal GIF shows, but the post can not be edited unfortunately.


So far, Kowl is the best tool I’ve found for monitoring Kafka.
I’ve been able to configure almost everything.
The only thing that I was not able to connect was Schema-Registry.
I have Confluent SR running in a Docker container and no matter what I put in
SCHEMAREGISTRY_URLS, Kowl does not see/connect to the registry.

Could you give me a hint of what I could be doing wrong?
This is how I create the Kowl container:

docker run -p 8077:8080 -d \
  -e KAFKA_BROKERS=hostIP:9099 \
  -e CONNECT_CLUSTERS_NAME=clustername \
  -e CONNECT_CLUSTERS_URL=http://hostIP:8083 \
  -e SCHEMAREGISTRY_URLS=[“http://hostIP:8085/”]  \
  --name KowlKafkaMonitor

The registry is working fine, I’ve checked that to be sure the problem wasn’t there.

Thank you !!!
Warm regards

Did you get it working?


I’ve had the same problem you had. To fix it you need to put KAFKA_ prefix before SCHEMAREGISTRY… as stated here. Hope it helps.

After the acquisition is this still open source as i don’t see any licensing fineprint : GitHub - redpanda-data/console: Redpanda Console is a developer-friendly UI for managing your Kafka/Redpanda workloads. Console gives you a simple, interactive approach for gaining visibility into your topics, masking data, managing consumer groups, and exploring real-time data with time-travel debugging. or is this going be commercial only .

also for kowl project i dont see any more commits does it mean it will no longer have enhancements ?

I’ll update this post with the latest information & screenshots. The Software is still open source, the licenses can be found here: console/licenses at master · redpanda-data/console · GitHub . 99% of all users can still use it, unless you want to offer it in a commercial SaaS - this is my understanding.

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Cool! Time to try it out!

From the first glance, can share these thoughts:

  • Missing multiple cluster support
  • Did not find a way to override credentials to be used for Kafka Connect (due to the fact that it seems Redpanda Console is intended to be used with mutiple Connect clusters per single Kafka Cluster, and this is not easy to propogate credentials for a particular Connect cluster config using command line attributes, because of the array-based config)
  • Missing functionality of propagating service accounts credentials to all Kafka services (as implemented in Control Center), SASL username/password can be specified only in the Redpanda Console config file. Available SSO/RBAC features are Enterprise only, and add an additional layer of access control rather than reusing the existing access control schema (when we speak about Confluent Platform).

All in all, seems to be “tailored” for Redpanda already, can be for Confluent Platform, but with some limitations.