Let’s start with the basics. After successfully starting a Redpanda or Apache Kafka® cluster, you want to stream data into it right away. No matter what tool and language you chose, you will immediately be asked for a list of bootstrap servers for your client to connect to it.
This bootstrap server is just for your client to initiate the connection to one of the brokers in the cluster, and then it will provide your client with initial sets of metadata. The metadata tells the client the currently available brokers, and which the leader of each partition is hosted by which brokers so that the client can initiate a direct connection to all brokers individually. The diagram below will give you a better idea.