Deploy for Production: Manual

You can deploy Redpanda for production with a default deployment, which uses recommended deployment tools, or with a custom deployment, which uses unsupported deployment tools.


Make sure you meet the hardware and software requirements.

TCP/IP ports

Redpanda uses the following default ports:

Port Purpose


Kafka API


HTTP Proxy


Schema Registry


Admin API and Prometheus


internal RPC

Select deployment type

To start deploying Redpanda for production, choose your deployment type:

Default deployment

This section describes how to set up a production cluster of Redpanda.

Install Redpanda

Install Redpanda on each system you want to be part of your cluster. There are binaries available for Fedora/RedHat or Debian systems.

  • Fedora/RedHat

  • Debian/Ubuntu

curl -1sLf '' | \
sudo -E bash && sudo yum install redpanda -y
curl -1sLf '' | \
sudo -E bash && sudo apt install redpanda -y

Install Redpanda Console

Redpanda Console is a developer-friendly web UI for managing and debugging your Redpanda cluster and your applications.

For each new release, Redpanda compiles the Redpanda Console to a single binary for Linux, macOS, and Windows. You can find the binaries in the attachments of each release on GitHub.

  • Fedora/RedHat

  • Debian/Ubuntu

curl -1sLf '' | \
sudo -E bash && sudo yum install redpanda-console -y
curl -1sLf '' | \
sudo -E bash && sudo apt-get install redpanda-console -y

Tune the Linux kernel for production

To get the best performance from your hardware, set Redpanda to production mode on each node and run the autotuner tool. The autotuner identifies the hardware configuration of your node and optimizes the Linux kernel to give you the best performance.

By default, Redpanda is installed in development mode, which turns off hardware optimization.

  1. Make sure that your current Linux user has root privileges. The autotuner requires privileged access to the Linux kernel settings.

  2. Set Redpanda to run in production mode:

    sudo rpk redpanda mode production
  3. Tune the Linux kernel:

    sudo rpk redpanda tune all

Changes to the Linux kernel are not persisted. If a node restarts, make sure to run the autotuner again.

To automatically tune the Linux kernel on a Redpanda broker after the node restarts, enable the redpanda-tuner service, which runs rpk redpanda tune all:

  • For RHEL, after installing the rpm package, run systemctl to both start and enable the redpanda-tuner service:

    sudo systemctl start redpanda-tuner
    sudo systemctl enable redpanda-tuner
  • For Ubuntu, after installing the apt package, run systemctl to start the redpanda-tuner service (which is already enabled):

    sudo systemctl start redpanda-tuner

For more details, see the autotuner reference.

Generate optimal I/O configuration settings

After tuning the Linux kernel, you can optimize Redpanda for the I/O capabilities of your worker node by using rpk to run benchmarks that capture its read/write IOPS and bandwidth capabilities. After running the benchmarks rpk saves the results to an I/O configuration file (io-config.yaml) that Redpanda reads upon startup to optimize itself for the node.

Unlike the autotuner, it isn’t necessary to run rpk iotune each time Redpanda is started, as its I/O output configuration file can be reused for each node that runs on the same type of hardware.

Run rpk iotune:

sudo rpk iotune # takes 10mins

For reference, a local NVMe SSD should yield around 1 GB/s sustained writes. rpk iotune captures SSD wear and tear and gives accurate measurements of what your hardware is capable of delivering. Run this before benchmarking.

If you’re on AWS, GCP, or Azure, creating a new instance and upgrading to an image with a recent Linux kernel version is often the easiest way to work around bad devices.

Bootstrap broker configurations

Each broker requires a set of broker configurations that determine how all brokers communicate with each other and with clients. Bootstrapping a cluster configures the listener, seed servers, and advertised listeners, which ensure proper network connectivity and accessibility.

Starting in version 23.3.8, rpk enhances the bootstrapping process with additional flags for configuring advertised listener addresses directly.

Use the rpk redpanda config bootstrap command to bootstrap Redpanda:

sudo rpk redpanda config bootstrap --self <listener-address> --advertised-kafka <advertised-kafka-address> --ips <seed-server1-ip>,<seed-server2-ip>,<seed-server3-ip> && \
sudo rpk redpanda config set redpanda.empty_seed_starts_cluster false

Replace the following placeholders:

  • <listener-address>: The --self flag tells Redpanda the interfaces to bind to for the Kafka API, the RPC API, and the Admin API. These addresses determine on which network interface and port Redpanda listens for incoming connections.

    • Set the listener address to to listen on all network interfaces available on the machine.

    • Set the listener address to a specific IP address to bind the listener to that address, restricting connections to that interface.

  • <advertised-kafka-address>: The --advertised-kafka flag sets a different advertised Kafka address, which is useful for scenarios where the accessible address differs from the bind address.

    Redpanda does not allow advertised addresses set to If you set any advertised addresses to, Redpanda will output startup validation errors.
  • <seed-server-ips>: The --ips flag lists all the seed servers in the cluster, including the one being started.

    The --ips flag must be set identically (with nodes listed in identical order) on each node.

Bootstrapping Redpanda updates your /etc/redpanda/redpanda.yaml configuration file:

    data_directory: /var/lib/redpanda/data
    empty_seed_starts_cluster: false
        - host:
            address: <seed-server1-ip>
            port: 33145
        - host:
            address: <seed-server2-ip>
            port: 33145
        - host:
            address: <seed-server3-ip>
            port: 33145
        address: <listener-address>
        port: 33145
        - address: <listener-address>
          port: 9092
        - address: <listener-address>
          port: 9644
        address: <listener-address>
        port: 33145
        - address: <advertised-kafka-address>
          port: 9092


  • Redpanda Data strongly recommends at least three seed servers when forming a cluster. A larger number of seed servers increases the robustness of consensus and minimizes any chance that new clusters get spuriously formed after brokers are lost or restarted without any data.

  • It’s important to have one or more seed servers in each fault domain (for example, in each rack or cloud AZ). A higher number provides a stronger guarantee that clusters don’t fracture unintentionally.

  • It’s possible to change the seed servers for a short period of time after a cluster has been created. For example, you may want to designate one additional broker as a seed server to increase availability. To do this without cluster downtime, add the new broker to the seed_servers property and restart Redpanda to apply the change on a broker-by-broker basis.

Listeners for mixed environments

For clusters serving both internal and external clients, configure multiple listeners for the Kafka API to separate internal from external traffic.

For more details, see Configure Listeners.

Start Redpanda

To start Redpanda:

sudo systemctl start redpanda-tuner redpanda

When a Redpanda cluster starts, it instantiates a controller Raft group with all the seed servers specified in the --ips flag. After all seed servers complete their startup procedure and become accessible, the cluster is then available. After that, non-seed servers start up and are added to the cluster.

Start Redpanda Console

  1. Start Redpanda Console:

    sudo systemctl start redpanda-console
  2. Make sure that Redpanda Console is active and running:

    sudo systemctl status redpanda-console

Verify the installation

To verify that the Redpanda cluster is up and running, use rpk to get information about the cluster:

rpk cluster info

You should see a list of advertised addresses.

To create a topic:

rpk topic create <topic-name>

If topics were initially created in a test environment with a replication factor of 1, use rpk topic alter-config to change the topic replication factor:

rpk topic alter-config <topic-names> --set replication.factor=3

Enable monitoring

Monitor Redpanda. Observability is essential in production environments.

Custom deployment

This section provides information for creating your own automation for deploying Redpanda clusters without using any of the tools that Redpanda supports for setting up a cluster, such as Ansible Playbook, Helm Chart, or Kubernetes Operator.

Redpanda strongly recommends using one of these supported deployment tools. See Automate Deploying for Production.

Configure a bootstrap file

Redpanda cluster configuration is written with the Admin API and the rpk cluster config CLIs.

In the special case where you want to provide configuration to Redpanda before it starts for the first time, you can write a .bootstrap.yaml file in the same directory as redpanda.yaml.

This file is only read on the first startup of the cluster. Any subsequent changes to .bootstrap.yaml are ignored, so changes to cluster configuration must be done with the Admin API.

The content format is a YAML dictionary of cluster configuration properties. For example, to initialize a cluster with Admin API authentication enabled and a single superuser, the .bootstrap.yaml file would contain the following:

admin_api_require_auth: true
- alice

With this configuration, the Admin API is not accessible until you bootstrap a user account.

Bootstrap a user account

When using username/password authentication, it’s helpful to be able to create one user before the cluster starts for the first time.

Do this by setting the RP_BOOTSTRAP_USER environment variable when starting Redpanda for the first time. The value has the format <username>:<password>. For example, you could set RP_BOOTSTRAP_USER to alice:letmein.

RP_BOOTSTRAP_USER only creates a user account. You must still set up authentication using cluster configuration.

Secure the Admin API

The Admin API is used to create SASL user accounts and ACLs, so it’s important to think about how you secure it when creating a cluster.

  • No authentication, but listening only on This may be appropriate if your Redpanda processes are running in an environment where only administrators can access the host.

  • mTLS authentication: You can generate client and server x509 certificates before starting Redpanda for the first time, refer to them in redpanda.yaml, and use the client certificate when accessing the Admin API.

  • Username/password authentication: Use the combination of admin_api_require_auth, superusers, and RP_BOOTSTRAP_USER to access the Admin API username/password authentication. You probably still want to enable TLS on the Admin API endpoint to protect credentials in flight.

Configure the seed servers

Seed servers help new brokers join a cluster by directing requests from newly-started brokers to an existing cluster. The seed_servers broker configuration property controls how Redpanda finds its peers when initially forming a cluster. It is dependent on the empty_seed_starts_cluster broker configuration property.

Starting with Redpanda version 22.3, you should explicitly set empty_seed_starts_cluster to false on every broker, and every broker in the cluster should have the same value set for seed_servers. With this set of configurations, Redpanda clusters form with these guidelines:

  • When a broker starts and it is a seed server (its address is in the seed_servers list), it waits for all other seed servers to start up, and it forms a cluster with all seed servers as members.

  • When a broker starts and it is not a seed server, it sends requests to the seed servers to join the cluster.

It is essential that all seed servers have identical values for the seed_servers list. Redpanda strongly recommends at least three seed servers when forming a cluster. Each seed server decreases the likelihood of unintentionally forming a split brain cluster. To ensure brokers can always discover the cluster, at least one seed server should be available at all times.

By default, for backward compatibility, empty_seed_starts_cluster is set to true, and Redpanda clusters form with the guidelines used prior to version 22.3:

  • When a broker starts with an empty seed_servers list, it creates a single broker cluster with itself as the only member.

  • When a broker starts with a non-empty seed_servers list, it sends requests to the brokers in that list to join the cluster.

You should never have more than one broker with an empty seed_servers list, which would result in the creation of multiple clusters.

Redpanda expects its storage to be persistent, and it’s an error to erase a broker’s drive and restart it. However, in some environments (like when migrating to a different Node pool on Kubernetes), truly persistent storage is unavailable, and brokers may find their data volumes erased. For such environments, Redpanda recommends setting empty_seed_starts_cluster to false and designating a set of seed servers such that they couldn’t lose their storage simultaneously.

Configure broker IDs

Redpanda automatically generates unique IDs for each new broker. This means that you don’t need to include IDs in configuration files or worry about policies on node_id re-use.

If you choose to assign broker IDs, make sure to use a fresh node_id each time you add a broker to the cluster.

Never reuse broker IDs, even for brokers that have been decommissioned and restarted empty. Doing so can result in an inconsistent state.

Perform a self test

To understand the performance capabilities of your Redpanda cluster, Redpanda offers built-in self-test features that evaluate the performance of both disk and network operations.

For more information, see Disk and network self-test benchmarks.

Upgrade considerations

Deployment automation should place each broker into maintenance mode and wait for it to drain leadership before restarting it with a newer version of Redpanda. For more information, see Upgrade.

If upgrading multiple feature release versions of Redpanda in succession, make sure to verify that each version upgrades to completion before proceeding to the next version. You can verify by reading the /v1/features Admin API endpoint and checking that cluster_version has increased.

Starting with Redpanda version 23.1, the /v1/features endpoint also includes a node_latest_version attribute, and installers can verify that the cluster has activated any new functionality from a previous upgrade by checking for cluster_version == node_latest_version.

Next steps