topic/replica I have to specify those 20 brokers and go over all of them to
know which broker is alive. And even worse how about I dynamically add new
broker into the cluster and remove the old one

TopicMetadataRequest is a batch API and you can get metadata information
for either a list of all topics or all topics in the cluster, if you
specify an empty list of topics. Adding a broker is not a problem since the
metadata request also returns the list of brokers in a cluster. The reason
this is better than reading from zookeeper is because the same operation
would require multiple zookeeper roundtrips, instead of a single
TopicMetadataRequest roundtrip to some kafka broker.

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