Search Icon
Documentation menu
Edit on Github  Rate: HelpfulRate: Not Helpful


Thank you for making it this far! Until this point we have not explained how anything works or why. Before you go into production we’d like to highlight the system components so you understand what is running on your hardware.

It’s worth mentioning - as you might have noticed by now - you’ll always interact with redpanda through rpk. rpk is the Redpanda Keeper; a command line interface to automate all tasks related to managing, running and upgrading your system. We also leverage systemd to make it even simpler to run and operate redpanda as a service. This means you’ll also find yourself using systemctl to start and stop redpanda, as well as checking its status. You can also manage, filter and rotate the logs emitted by redpanda through journalctl.

rpk --help             # interact with the server & machine
journalctl -u redpanda # see logs


To get the best IO performance, we recommend the data directory (/var/lib/redpanda/data) to reside on an XFS partition in a local NVMe SSD - redpanda can drive your SSD at maximum throughput at all times. Using networked block devices is strongly discouraged, because of their inherent performance limitations.

Furthermore, redpanda relies on XFS due to its use of sparse filesystem support to flush concurrent, non-overlapping pages. Although other filesystems might work, they may have limitations that prevent you from getting the most value out of your hardware. For multi-disk setups we recommend using Raid-0 with XFS on top. Future releases will manage multi-disk virtualization without user involvement.

While monitoring, you might notice that the filesystem file sizes might jump around. This is expected behavior as we use internal heuristics to expand the filesystem metadata eagerly when we determine it would improve performance for a sequence of operations, to amortize the cost of synchronization events. We note that redpanda uses DMA (Direct Memory Access) for all its disk IO.


Modern NICs can drive multi gigabit traffic to hosts. rpk probes the hardware (taking into account the number of CPUs, etc) and automatically chooses the best setting to drive high throughput traffic to the machine. The modes are all but cpu0, cpu0 + Hyper Thread sibling, or distributed across all cores, in addition to other settings like backlog and max sockets, regardless if the NIC is bonded or not. The user is never aware of any of these low level settings, and in most production scenarios it is usually always distributed across all cores. This is to distribute the cost of interrupt processing evenly among all cores.


To be able to run at peak performance for extended periods, we leverage cgroups to isolate the redpanda processes, shielding them from “noisy neighbors”: processes running alongside redpanda which demand sharing resources that adversely affect performance.

We leverage systemd slices, instructing the kernel to strongly prefer evicting other processes before evicting our process’ memory, as well as to reserve IO quotas and CPU time so that even in some adversarial situations we still deliver predictable latency and throughput to end users.


Oftentimes, the default CPU configuration is prioritized for end-user-typical use cases such as non-cpu-intensive desktop applications and optimizing power usage. Redpanda disables all power-saving modes and ensures that the CPU is configured for predictable latency at all times. We designed redpanda to drive machines around ~90% utilization and still give the user predictable low latency results.


Swapping is prevented so that Redpanda is never swapped out of memory. By design, redpanda allocates all the available memory (aside for some small OS reservation) upfront, partitioning the allocated memory between all cores and pinning such memory to the specified NUMA domain (specific CPU socket). We do this to have predictable memory allocations without having to go to the system memory, ensuring predictable latency.