Developing Custom Consumers with Shared Throughput Using the Amazon SDK for Java - Amazon Kinesis Data Streams
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Developing Custom Consumers with Shared Throughput Using the Amazon SDK for Java

One of the methods for developing custom Kinesis Data Streams consumers with shared throughout is to use the Amazon Kinesis Data Streams APIs. This section describes using the Kinesis Data Streams APIs with the Amazon SDK for Java. The Java sample code in this section demonstrates how to perform basic KDS API operations, and is divided up logically by operation type.

These examples don't represent production-ready code. They don't check for all possible exceptions or account for all possible security or performance considerations.

You can call the Kinesis Data Streams APIs using other different programming languages. For more information about all available Amazon SDKs, see Start Developing with Amazon Web Services.


The recommended method for developing custom Kinesis Data Streams consumers with shared throughout is to use the Kinesis Client Library (KCL). KCL helps you consume and process data from a Kinesis data stream by taking care of many of the complex tasks associated with distributed computing. For more information, see Developing Custom Consumers with Shared Throughput Using KCL.

Getting Data from a Stream

The Kinesis Data Streams APIs include the getShardIterator and getRecords methods that you can invoke to retrieve records from a data stream. This is the pull model, where your code draws data records directly from the shards of the data stream.


We recommend that you use the record processor support provided by KCL to retrieve records from your data streams. This is the push model, where you implement the code that processes the data. The KCL retrieves data records from the data stream and delivers them to your application code. In addition, the KCL provides failover, recovery, and load balancing functionality. For more information, see Developing Custom Consumers with Shared Throughput Using KCL.

However, in some cases you might prefer to use the Kinesis Data Streams APIs. For example, to implement custom tools for monitoring or debugging your data streams.


Kinesis Data Streams supports changes to the data record retention period of your data stream. For more information, see Changing the Data Retention Period.

Using Shard Iterators

You retrieve records from the stream on a per-shard basis. For each shard, and for each batch of records that you retrieve from that shard, you must obtain a shard iterator. The shard iterator is used in the getRecordsRequest object to specify the shard from which records are to be retrieved. The type associated with the shard iterator determines the point in the shard from which the records should be retrieved (see later in this section for more details). Before you can work with the shard iterator, you need to retrieve the shard, as discussed in DescribeStream API - Deprecated.

Obtain the initial shard iterator using the getShardIterator method. Obtain shard iterators for additional batches of records using the getNextShardIterator method of the getRecordsResult object returned by the getRecords method. A shard iterator is valid for 5 minutes. If you use a shard iterator while it is valid, you get a new one. Each shard iterator remains valid for 5 minutes, even after it is used.

To obtain the initial shard iterator, instantiate GetShardIteratorRequest and pass it to the getShardIterator method. To configure the request, specify the stream and the shard ID. For information about how to obtain the streams in your Amazon account, see Listing Streams. For information about how to obtain the shards in a stream, see DescribeStream API - Deprecated.

String shardIterator; GetShardIteratorRequest getShardIteratorRequest = new GetShardIteratorRequest(); getShardIteratorRequest.setStreamName(myStreamName); getShardIteratorRequest.setShardId(shard.getShardId()); getShardIteratorRequest.setShardIteratorType("TRIM_HORIZON"); GetShardIteratorResult getShardIteratorResult = client.getShardIterator(getShardIteratorRequest); shardIterator = getShardIteratorResult.getShardIterator();

This sample code specifies TRIM_HORIZON as the iterator type when obtaining the initial shard iterator. This iterator type means that records should be returned beginning with the first record added to the shard—rather than beginning with the most recently added record, also known as the tip. The following are possible iterator types:






For more information, see ShardIteratorType.

Some iterator types require that you specify a sequence number in addition to the type; for example:

getShardIteratorRequest.setShardIteratorType("AT_SEQUENCE_NUMBER"); getShardIteratorRequest.setStartingSequenceNumber(specialSequenceNumber);

After you obtain a record using getRecords, you can get the sequence number for the record by calling the record's getSequenceNumber method.


In addition, the code that adds records to the data stream can get the sequence number for an added record by calling getSequenceNumber on the result of putRecord.

lastSequenceNumber = putRecordResult.getSequenceNumber();

You can use sequence numbers to guarantee strictly increasing ordering of records. For more information, see the code example in PutRecord Example.

Using GetRecords

After you obtain the shard iterator, instantiate a GetRecordsRequest object. Specify the iterator for the request using the setShardIterator method.

Optionally, you can also set the number of records to retrieve using the setLimit method. The number of records returned by getRecords is always equal to or less than this limit. If you do not specify this limit, getRecords returns 10 MB of retrieved records. The sample code below sets this limit to 25 records.

If no records are returned, that means no data records are currently available from this shard at the sequence number referenced by the shard iterator. In this situation, your application should wait for an amount of time that's appropriate for the data sources for the stream. Then try to get data from the shard again using the shard iterator returned by the preceding call to getRecords.

Pass the getRecordsRequest to the getRecords method, and capture the returned value as a getRecordsResult object. To get the data records, call the getRecords method on the getRecordsResult object.

GetRecordsRequest getRecordsRequest = new GetRecordsRequest(); getRecordsRequest.setShardIterator(shardIterator); getRecordsRequest.setLimit(25); GetRecordsResult getRecordsResult = client.getRecords(getRecordsRequest); List<Record> records = getRecordsResult.getRecords();

To prepare for another call to getRecords, obtain the next shard iterator from getRecordsResult.

shardIterator = getRecordsResult.getNextShardIterator();

For best results, sleep for at least 1 second (1,000 milliseconds) between calls to getRecords to avoid exceeding the limit on getRecords frequency.

try { Thread.sleep(1000); } catch (InterruptedException e) {}

Typically, you should call getRecords in a loop, even when you're retrieving a single record in a test scenario. A single call to getRecords might return an empty record list, even when the shard contains more records at later sequence numbers. When this occurs, the NextShardIterator returned along with the empty record list references a later sequence number in the shard, and successive getRecords calls eventually returns the records. The following sample demonstrates the use of a loop.

Example: getRecords

The following code example reflects the getRecords tips in this section, including making calls in a loop.

// Continuously read data records from a shard List<Record> records; while (true) { // Create a new getRecordsRequest with an existing shardIterator // Set the maximum records to return to 25 GetRecordsRequest getRecordsRequest = new GetRecordsRequest(); getRecordsRequest.setShardIterator(shardIterator); getRecordsRequest.setLimit(25); GetRecordsResult result = client.getRecords(getRecordsRequest); // Put the result into record list. The result can be empty. records = result.getRecords(); try { Thread.sleep(1000); } catch (InterruptedException exception) { throw new RuntimeException(exception); } shardIterator = result.getNextShardIterator(); }

If you are using the Kinesis Client Library, it might make multiple calls before returning data. This behavior is by design and does not indicate a problem with the KCL or your data.

Adapting to a Reshard

If getRecordsResult.getNextShardIterator returns null, it indicates that a shard split or merge has occurred that involved this shard. This shard is now in a CLOSED state and you have read all available data records from this shard.

In this scenario, you can use getRecordsResult.childShards to learn about the new child shards of the shard that is being processed that were created by the split or merge. For more information, see ChildShard.

In the case of a split, the two new shards both have parentShardId equal to the shard ID of the shard that you were processing previously. The value of adjacentParentShardId for both of these shards is null.

In the case of a merge, the single new shard created by the merge has parentShardId equal to shard ID of one of the parent shards and adjacentParentShardId equal to the shard ID of the other parent shard. Your application has already read all the data from one of these shards. This is the shard for which getRecordsResult.getNextShardIterator returned null. If the order of the data is important to your application, ensure that it also reads all the data from the other parent shard before reading any new data from the child shard created by the merge.

If you are using multiple processors to retrieve data from the stream (say, one processor per shard), and a shard split or merge occurs, adjust the number of processors up or down to adapt to the change in the number of shards.

For more information about resharding, including a discussion of shards states—such as CLOSED—see Resharding a Stream.

Interacting with Data Using the Amazon Glue Schema Registry

You can integrate your Kinesis data streams with the Amazon Glue schema registry. The Amazon Glue schema registry allows you to centrally discover, control, and evolve schemas, while ensuring data produced is continuously validated by a registered schema. A schema defines the structure and format of a data record. A schema is a versioned specification for reliable data publication, consumption, or storage. The Amazon Glue Schema Registry enables you to improve end-to-end data quality and data governance within your streaming applications. For more information, see Amazon Glue Schema Registry. One of the ways to set up this integration is through the GetRecords Kinesis Data Streams API available in the Amazon Java SDK.

For detailed instructions on how to set up integration of Kinesis Data Streams with Schema Registry using the GetRecords Kinesis Data Streams APIs, see the "Interacting with Data Using the Kinesis Data Streams APIs" section in Use Case: Integrating Amazon Kinesis Data Streams with the Amazon Glue Schema Registry.