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Kafka Foreign Data Wrapper for PostgreSQL

Build Status

At this point the project is not yet production ready. Use with care. Pull requests welcome

A simple foreign data wrapper for Kafka which allows it to be treated as a table.

Currently kafka_fdw allows message parsing in csv and json format. More might come in a future release.


The FDW uses the librdkafka C client library. to build against installed librdkafka and postgres run make && make install

to run test

make installcheck

not this runs an integration test against an asumed running kafaka on localhost:9092 with zookeeper on localhost:2181 see test/


CREATE SERVER must specifie a brokerlist using option brokers

CREATE SERVER kafka_server
OPTIONS (brokers 'localhost:9092');



CREATE FOREIGN TABLE must specify the two meta columns for partition and offset. These can be named abritrary just must be specified wich is what using options. Note offset is a sql reserved keyword so naming a column offset needs quotation when used. The remaining columns must match the expected csv message format. For more usage options see test/expected

    part int OPTIONS (partition 'true'),
    offs bigint OPTIONS (offset 'true'),
    some_int int,
    some_text text,
    some_date date,
    some_time timestamp
SERVER kafka_server OPTIONS
    (format 'csv', topic 'contrib_regress', batch_size '30', buffer_delay '100');

The offset and partition columns are special. Due to the way Kafka works, we should specify these on all queries.

Notes on Supported Formats


CSV, like a PostgreSQL relation, represents data as a series of tuples. In this respect the mapping is fairly straight forward. We use position to map to columns. What CSV lacks' however is any sort of schema enforcement between rows, to ensure that all values of a particular column have the same data types, and other schema checks we expect from a relational database. For this reason, it is important to ask how much one trusts the schema enforcement of the writers. If the schema enforcement is trusted then you can assume that bad data should throw an error. But if it is not, then the error handling options documented here should be used to enforce schema on read and skip but flag malformed rows.

On one side you can use strict 'true' if the format will never change and you fully trust the writer to properly enforce schemas. If you trust the writer to always be correct and allow new columns to be added on to the end, however, you should leave this setting off.

If you do not trust the writer and wish to enforce schema on read only, then set a column with the option junk 'true'and another with the optionjunk_error 'true'`.


JSON has many of the same schema validation issues that CSV does but there are tools and standards to validate and check JSON documents against schema specifications. Thus the same error handling recommendations that apply to CSV above apply here.

Mapping JSON fields to the relation fields is somewhat less straight forward than it with CSV. JSON objects represent key/value mappings in an arbitrary order. For JSON we apply a mapping of the tupple attribute name to the JSON object key name. For JSON tables one uses the json option to specify the json property mapped to.

The example in our test script is:

CREATE FOREIGN TABLE kafka_test_json (
    part int OPTIONS (partition 'true'),
    offs bigint OPTIONS (offset 'true'),
    some_int int OPTIONS (json 'int_val'),
    some_text text OPTIONS (json 'text_val'),
    some_date date OPTIONS (json 'date_val'),
    some_time timestamp OPTIONS (json 'time_val')

SERVER kafka_server OPTIONS
    (format 'json', topic 'contrib_regress_json', batch_size '30', buffer_delay '100');

Here you can see that a message on partition 2, with an offset of 53 containing the document:

   "text_val": "Some arbitrary text, apparently",
   "date_val": "2011-05-04",
   "int_val": 3,
   "time_val": "2011-04-14 22:22:22"

would be turned into

(2, 13, 3, "Some text, apparently", 2011-05-04, "2011-04-14 22:22:22")

as a row in the above table.

Currently the Kafka FDW does not support series of JSON arrays, only JSON objects. JSON arrays in objects can be presented as text or JSON/JSONB fields, however.


With the defined meta columns you can query like so:

SELECT * FROM kafka_test WHERE part = 0 AND offs > 1000 LIMIT 60;

Here offs is the offset column. And defaults to offset beginning. Without any partition specified all partitions will be scanned.

Querying across partitions could be done as well.

SELECT * FROM kafka_test WHERE (part = 0 AND offs > 100) OR (part = 1 AND offs > 300) OR (part = 3 AND offs > 700)

Error handling

The default for consuming kafka data is not very strict i.e. to less columns will be assumed be NULL and to many will be ignored. If you don't like this behaviour you can enable strictness via table options strict 'true'. Thus any such column will error out the query. However invalid or unparsable data e.g. text for numeric data or invalid date or such will still error out per default. To ignore such data you can pass ignore_junk 'true' as table options and these columns will be set to NULL. Alternatively you can add table columns with the attributes junk 'true' and / or junk_error 'true'. While fetching data kafka_fdw will then put the whole payload into the junk column and / or the errormessage(s) into the junk_error column. see test/sql/junk_test.sql for a usage example.


Inserting Data into kafak works with INSERT statements. If you provide the partition as a values that will be user otherwise kafkas builtin partitioner will select partition.

add partition as a value

INSERT INTO kafka_test(part, some_int, some_text)
    (0, 5464565, 'some text goes into partition 0'),
    (1, 5464565, 'some text goes into partition 1'),
    (0, 5464565, 'some text goes into partition 0'),
    (3, 5464565, 'some text goes into partition 3'),
    (NULL, 5464565, 'some text goes into partition selected by kafka');

use built in partitioner

INSERT INTO kafka_test(some_int, some_text)
    (5464565, 'some text goes into partition selected by kafka');


is currently broken I can't manage to have a proper repeatable topic setup


Although it works when used properly we need way more error handling. Basically more test are needed for inapproiate usage like no topic specified, topic doesn't exist, no partition and offsetcolumn defined wrong format specification and stuff that might come.


The idea is to make the FDW more flexible in usage

  • specify other formats like protobuf or binary

  • specify encoding

  • optimize performance with check_selective_binary_conversion i.e. WHEN just a single column is projected like SELECT one_coll FROM forein_table WHERE ... we won't need to take the effort to convert all columns

  • better cost and row estmate

  • some analyze options would be nice

  • parallelism with multiple partitions we could theoretically consum them in parallel ....


kafka foreign database wrapper for postresql





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