Starting a Local Cluster

rpk container is a simple and quick way to stand up a local multi node cluster for testing. rpk container leverages Docker. If you haven’t done so already, please follow the installation instructions for Docker (Linux users) or Docker Desktop for Mac (MacOS users).

It’s important to note, however, that you won’t need to interact with Docker directly or have experience with it.

To run Redpanda in a 3-node cluster, run: rpk container start -n 3

The first time you run rpk container start, it downloads an image matching the rpk version (you can check it by running rpk version). You now have a 3-node cluster running Redpanda!

The command output shows the addresses of the cluster nodes:

$ rpk container start -n 3
Starting cluster
Waiting for the cluster to be ready...

You can run rpk commands to interact with the cluster, for example:

rpk cluster info --brokers,,

You can now connect your Kafka compatible applications directly to Redpanda by using the ports listed above. In this example the ports to use would be 58754, 58757, 58756.

Additionally, all of the rpk topic subcommands will detect the local cluster and use its addresses, so you don’t have to configure anything or keep track of IPs and ports.

For example, you can run rpk topic create and it will work!

$ rpk topic create -p 6 -r 3 new-topic --brokers <broker1_address>,<broker2_address>...
Created topic 'new-topic'. Partitions: 6, replicas: 3, cleanup policy: 'delete'

You can also stop the cluster using:

rpk container stop

You are all set! You can now use Redpanda to test your favorite Kafka compatible application or use the rpk topic commands to further interface with the local cluster!