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Enes Akar
Enes Akar

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Use Serverless Kafka as an Event Source For AWS Lambda

In this tutorial we will implement a serverless message processing pipeline using Upstash Kafka and AWS Lambda. We will use Upstash Kafka as a source for an AWS Lambda function. The produced messages will trigger AWS Lambda, so your Lambda function will process the messages.

Because Upstash Kafka is a true serverless product, the whole pipeline will be serverless. You pay only when your pipeline is actively processing messages.

Create Upstash Kafka

First, create an Upstash Kafka cluster and topic following those steps. You will need the endpoint, username and password in the following steps.

Create AWS Lambda Function

Now let’s create an AWS Lambda function. For the best performance, select the same region with Upstash Kafka cluster. We will use Node.js runtime.

You can use Serverless Framework or AWS SAM for this step.

Lambda Function Code

Update your function's code as below:

exports.handler = async (event) => {

    if(!event.records) {
        return {response : "no kafka event"};

    for(let messages of Object.values(event.records)) {
        for(let msg of messages) {
            let buff = Buffer.from(msg.value, 'base64');
            let text = buff.toString('ascii');
            // process the message

    return {response : "success" };
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The above code parses the Kafka message from the event parameter. AWS encodes the message using base64 so we decode the message and log it to the console.

Create AWS Secret

AWS Lambda trigger needs the Kafka credentials to be bundled as a secret. So we will create a secret in AWS Secrets Manager. Select Other type of secret. Enter your Kafka cluster's username and password as key/value pairs as below:

In the next screen give a name to your secret.

Edit AWS Lambda Role

Now we need to configure the Lambda function’s role to access the secrets.

On the AWS Lambda function’s page, click on Configuration tab and Permissions. Click to the link just below the Role name label.

The IAM management console will be opened in a new tab. On the Permissions tab click on the link which starts with AWSLambdaBasicExecutionRole-....

Click on the Edit Policy button and add this configuration in the JSON tab:

    "Effect": "Allow",
    "Action": [
    "Resource": [
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You need to replace the ARN of the secret that you created in the previous step.

Create the Trigger

Go back to your Lambda functions page and click the Add trigger button. Select Apache Kafka from the menu and fill in the inputs.

Bootstrap servers: copy/paste endpoint from Upstash console.

Topic name: enter your topic’s name

Click on the Add button under Authentication. Select SASL_SCRAM_256_AUTH and select the secret that you created in the previous step.

Check the Enable trigger checkbox and you can leave the remaining inputs as they are.


Now let’s produce messages and see if AWS Lambda is processing the messages. Copy the curl URL to produce a message from Upstash Console.

➜ curl -u  ZnVsbC1tYW50aXMtMTQyODkkimaEsuUsiT9TGk3OFdjveYHBV9Jjzow03SnUtRQ:4-R-fmtoalXnoeu9TjQBOOL4njfSKwEsE10YvHMiW63hFljqUrrq5_yAq4TPGd9c6JbqfQ==

  "topic" : "newtopic",
  "partition" : 0,
  "offset" : 48,
  "timestamp" : 1639522675505
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Check the cloudwatch (Lambda > Monitor > View logs in CloudWatch). You should see the messages you produced are logged by Lambda function.

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