emoji-loudspeaker This page documents Kowl Business exclusive features.

In Kowl Business we use Role-based access control (RBAC) to regulate what a user is allowed to do. This section describes the RBAC concepts and how you can create Roles.


A Role defines a set of allowed permissions. Permissions are purely additive (there are no "deny" rules). Roles can then be bound to one or more users (see Role Bindings).

Roles must be defined in it's own YAML file. Each role requires a name and a set of permissions which belong to it:

  - name: developer
      - resource: consumerGroups
        includes: ["/.*/"]
        excludes: []
        allowedActions: ["admin"]

A full example can be found here.


The permissions property is an array of permissions where each item consists 4 subproperties (resource, includes, excludes and allowedActions) which we'll explain now:


Specifies the resource kind on which the permissions shall be applied. To date the following resources exist:

Resource Name Description
application Kowl related permissions
topics Kafka topics
consumerGroups Kafka consumer groups
cluster Kafka cluster scoped permissions


Includes is an array of strings where each string represents a "selector" on which the allowed actions shall be applied. The selector usually refers to the name of the given resource (e. g. Topic Name, Consumer Group ID, ...). If the string is surrounded with / the string is interpreted as regex. Example:

- resource: topics
    - "/finance-.*/" # Regex, matches all topic names which begin with "finance-"
    - "fin-agg" # Matches topic with the exact name "fin-agg"
  allowedActions: ["seeTopic"]


Excludes work exactly like includes. They can be used to revert / exclude selectors which had been included. Example:

- resource: topics
    - "/finance-.*/" # Regex, matches all topic names which begin with "finance-"
    - "finance-sensitive" # Exclude the topic "finance-sensitive", so that no permissions are applied on this topic
  allowedActions: ["seeTopic"]

Allowed Actions

The array allowedActions defines all actions which shall be granted for your permissions block. You can use granular actions such as seeTopic or primitive actions like viewer. Depending on the resource you can apply different actions. This is an overview of all actions by resource:

Resource: Application

canManageKowl : Allows you to show Kowl Business roles and resolved role bindings in an admin panel

Resource: Topics

seeTopic : See a topic in the topic overview list

viewPartitions : View partition details (watermarks, message count, partition IDs, ...)

viewConfig : View Kafka topic configuration

viewMessages : View messages in a topic

useSearchFilter : Allows the user to use the JavaScript interpreter to filter messages with JavaScript code

viewConsumers : View all consumers which consume that topic

Resource: Cluster

viewAcl : List all ACL rules defined in the cluster

reassignPartitions : Reassign partitions between brokers

Resource: Consumer Groups

seeConsumerGroup : See a consumer group in the group overview list along with it's lag information

Primitive Actions

We regularly add new features and therefore we also add new actions. Every time we add a new action you must allow that action in your role definitions explicitly so that users can use it. This may be annoying if you don't need granular permissions. For this purpose we provide primitive actions for each resource which basically represent a set of actions as follows:

Resource Name Primitive Action Actions
application view [canManageKowl]
application edit [view]
application admin [edit]
topics view [seeTopic, viewPartitions, viewConfig, viewMessages, useSearchFilter, viewConsumers]
topics edit [view]
topics admin [edit]
cluster view [viewAcl]
cluster edit [view, reassignPartitions]
cluster admin [edit]
consumerGroups view [seeConsumerGroup]
consumerGroups edit [view]
consumerGroups admin [edit]

emoji-triangular_flag_on_post As of now there are no editing (e.g. edit consumer group offsets) or administrating features (e.g. delete a Kafka topic). The respective primitive actions (editor, admin) do already exist for each resource though.

Primitive Roles

Kowl Business provides predefined primitive roles such as viewer, editor and admin. Users who do not need granular permissions can use these roles. As the names suggest these roles can contain either all viewing permissions (e.g. viewing topics...), all editing permissions (e.g. edit consumer group offsets) or administrative permissions (e.g. delete topics).