Create a Debezium source connector from PostgreSQL® to Apache Kafka®#

The Debezium source connector extracts the changes committed to the transaction log in a relational database, such as PostgreSQL®, and writes them to an Apache Kafka® topic in a standard format where they can be transformed and read by multiple consumers.


Debezium only updates the PostgreSQL replication slot LSN positions when changes take place in the database it is connected to. PostgreSQL is unable to delete old WAL segments if there are any replication slots that have not acknowledged receiving them.

So if your system is completely idle (in which case Aiven for PostgreSQL still generates 16 MiB of WAL every 5 minutes) or changes only occur in databases Debezium is not connected to, PostgreSQL will not be able to clean up WAL and the service will eventually run out of disk space. Thus it is essential to ensure any database you connect to with Debezium is updated frequently enough.


You can check the full set of available parameters and configuration options in the connector’s documentation.


To setup a Debezium source connector pointing to PostgreSQL, you need an Aiven for Apache Kafka service with Kafka Connect enabled or a dedicated Aiven for Apache Kafka Connect cluster.

Furthermore you need to collect the following information about the source PostgreSQL database upfront:

  • PG_HOST: The database hostname

  • PG_PORT: The database port

  • PG_USER: The database user to connect

  • PG_PASSWORD: The database password for the PG_USER

  • PG_DATABASE_NAME: The database name

  • SSL_MODE: The SSL mode

  • PLUGIN_NAME: The logical decoding plugin, possible values are decoderbufs, wal2json and pgoutput

  • PG_TABLES: The list of database tables to be included in Apache Kafka; the list must be in the form of schema_name1.table_name1,schema_name2.table_name2

  • PG_PUBLICATION_NAME: The name of the PostgreSQL logical replication publication, if left empty, debezium is used as default

  • PG_SLOT_NAME: name of the PostgreSQL replication slot, if left empty, debezium is be used as default

  • APACHE_KAFKA_HOST: The hostname of the Apache Kafka service, only needed when using Avro as data format

  • SCHEMA_REGISTRY_PORT: The Apache Kafka’s schema registry port, only needed when using Avro as data format

  • SCHEMA_REGISTRY_USER: The Apache Kafka’s schema registry username, only needed when using Avro as data format

  • SCHEMA_REGISTRY_PASSWORD: The Apache Kafka’s schema registry user password, only needed when using Avro as data format


If you’re using Aiven for PostgreSQL and Aiven for Apache Kafka the above details are available in the Aiven console service Overview tab or via the dedicated avn service get command with the Aiven CLI.

Set up a PostgreSQL Debezium source connector with Aiven CLI#

The following example demonstrates how to setup a Debezium source Connector for Apache Kafka to a PostgreSQL database using the Aiven CLI dedicated command.

Define a Kafka Connect configuration file#

Define the connector configurations in a file (we’ll refer to it with the name debezium_source_pg.json) with the following content:

    "connector.class": "io.debezium.connector.postgresql.PostgresConnector",
    "database.hostname": "PG_HOST",
    "database.port": "PG_PORT",
    "database.user": "PG_USER",
    "database.password": "PG_PASSWORD",
    "database.dbname": "PG_DATABASE_NAME",
    "database.sslmode": "SSL_MODE",
    "": "PLUGIN_NAME",
    "": "PG_SLOT_NAME",
    "table.include.list": "PG_TABLES",
    "key.converter": "io.confluent.connect.avro.AvroConverter",
    "key.converter.schema.registry.url": "https://APACHE_KAFKA_HOST:SCHEMA_REGISTRY_PORT",
    "key.converter.basic.auth.credentials.source": "USER_INFO",
    "value.converter": "io.confluent.connect.avro.AvroConverter",
    "value.converter.schema.registry.url": "https://APACHE_KAFKA_HOST:SCHEMA_REGISTRY_PORT",
    "value.converter.basic.auth.credentials.source": "USER_INFO",

The configuration file contains the following entries:

  • name: the connector name

  • PG_HOST, PG_PORT, PG_DATABASE_NAME, SSL_MODE, PG_USER, PG_PASSWORD, PG_TABLES, PG_PUBLICATION_NAME and PG_SLOT_NAME: source database parameters collected in the prerequisite phase.

  • the logical name of the database, dictates the prefix that will be used for Apache Kafka topic names. The resulting topic name will be the concatenation of the and the table name.

  • tasks.max: maximum number of tasks to execute in parallel. By default this is 1, the connector can use at most 1 task for each source table defined.

  • defines the PostgreSQL output plugin to convert changes in the database into events in Apache Kafka.


Please note that the wal2json logical decoding plugin has limitations in the data types that it can support. Besides the basic data types, it automatically turns all other data types into strings based on their textual representation. Therefore, if you’re using complex data types, check the related wal2json string representation.

  • key.converter and value.converter: defines the messages data format in the Apache Kafka topic. The io.confluent.connect.avro.AvroConverter converter pushes messages in Avro format. To store the messages schema we use Aiven’s Karapace schema registry as specified by the schema.registry.url parameter and related credentials.


The key.converter and value.converter sections are only needed when pushing data in Avro format. If omitted the messages will be defined in JSON format.


Check the dedicated blog post for an end-to-end example of the Debezium source connector in action with PostgreSQL.

Create a Kafka Connect connector with Aiven CLI#

To create the connector, execute the following Aiven CLI command, replacing the SERVICE_NAME with the name of the Aiven service where the connector needs to run:

avn service connector create SERVICE_NAME @debezium_source_pg.json

Check the connector status with the following command, replacing the SERVICE_NAME with the Aiven service and the CONNECTOR_NAME with the name of the connector defined before:

avn service connector status SERVICE_NAME CONNECTOR_NAME

Verify the presence of the topic and data in the Apache Kafka target instance.


If you’re using Aiven for Apache Kafka, topics will not be created automatically. Either create them manually following the naming pattern or enable the kafka.auto_create_topics_enable advanced parameter.

Solve the error must be superuser to create FOR ALL TABLES publication#

When creating a Debezium source connector pointing to Aiven for PostgreSQL using the pgoutput plugin, you could get the following error:

Caused by: org.postgresql.util.PSQLException: ERROR: must be superuser to create FOR ALL TABLES publication

The error is due to Debezium trying to create a publication and failing because avnadmin is not a superuser. There are 2 different ways of working around this issue:

  • either add the "publication.autocreate.mode": "filtered" parameter to the Debezium connector configuration to enable the publication creation only for the tables defined in the table.include.list parameter

  • or create the publication on the source database before configuring the connector as defined in the section further below.

Note that with older versions of Debezium, there was a bug preventing the addition of more tables to the filter with filtered mode. As a result, this configuration was not conflicting with a publication FOR ALL TABLES. Starting with Debezium 1.9.7, those configurations are conflicting and you could get the following error:

Caused by: org.postgresql.util.PSQLException: ERROR: publication "dbz_publication" is defined as FOR ALL TABLES
   Detail: Tables cannot be added to or dropped from FOR ALL TABLES publications.

The error is due to Debezium attempting to include more tables into the publication which is incompatible with FOR ALL TABLES.

You can get rid of this error by removing publication.autocreate.mode configuration, which will default to all_tables. In case you want to maintain filtered mode for some reason, then the publication should be recreated accordingly, so as the replication slot.

Create the publication in PostgreSQL#

To create the publication in PostgreSQL:

  • Installing the aiven-extras extension:

  • Create a publication (with name e.g. my_test_publication) for all the tables:

    SELECT *
    FROM aiven_extras.pg_create_publication_for_all_tables(
  • Make sure to use the correct publication name (e.g. my_test_publication) in the connector definition and restart the connector