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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.


Breaking changes in Debezium 2.5

Debezium version 2.5 introduces significant changes to the connector's configuration and behavior. New setups defaults to version 2.5 while existing setups using version 1.9 remain on that version for stability. Test configurations with version 2.5 before upgrading. Review the specific changes to the MongoDB connector in Debezium 2.5. For help with upgrades or queries, contact Aiven support.


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

Before you begin, gather the necessary information about your source PostgreSQL database:

  • 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 and pgoutput.

    Starting with Debezium version 2.5, the wal2json plugin is deprecated.

  • 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 are using Aiven for PostgreSQL and Aiven for Apache Kafka the above details are available in the Aiven console service Overview page or via the dedicated avn service get command with the Aiven CLI.

For a complete list of all available parameters and configuration options, see Debezium connector's documentation.


Debezium updates the LSN positions of the PostgreSQL replication slot only when changes occur in the connected database. If any replication slots have not acknowledged receiving old WAL segments, PostgreSQL cannot delete them.

This means that if your system is idle (even though Aiven for PostgreSQL still generates 16 MiB of WAL every 5 minutes) or if changes are only happening in databases not connected to Debezium, PostgreSQL is unable to clean up the WAL, eventually leading to the service running out of disk space. Therefore, ensure you regularly update any database connected to Debezium.

Set up a PostgreSQL Debezium source connector using Aiven CLI

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

Define a Kafka Connect configuration file

Create a configuration file named debezium_source_pg.json with the following connector configurations:

"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",
"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 name of the connector.

  • 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, which determines the prefix used for Apache Kafka topic names. The resulting topic name is a combination of the and the table name.

  • tasks.max: The 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 used to convert changes in the database into events in Apache Kafka.


    The wal2json logical decoding plugin has certain limitations with the data types it can support. Apart from the basic data types, it converts all other data types into strings based on their textual representation. If you use complex data types, verify the corresponding 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 message schemas, Aiven's Karapace schema registry is used, 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. Otherwise, messages default to 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.


With Aiven for Apache Kafka, topics are not created automatically. You have two options:

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

When creating a Debezium source connector with Aiven for PostgreSQL as the target using pgoutput plugin, you might encounter the following error:

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

This error occurs when Debezium attempts to create a publication and fails because avnadmin is not a superuser. You can address this issue in two ways:

  • Add the "publication.autocreate.mode": "filtered" parameter to the Debezium connector configuration. This enables the creation of publications only for the tables specified in the table.include.list parameter.
  • Create the publication on the source database before configuring the connector, as detailed in the following section.

The older versions of Debezium had a bug that prevented the addition of more tables to the filter when using filtered mode. As a result, this configuration did not conflict with a FOR ALL TABLES publication. Starting with Debezium 1.9.7, these configurations are causing conflicts which result in the following error message:

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.

This error is triggered when Debezium tries to include more tables in the publication, which is incompatible with FOR ALL TABLES.

To resolve this error, remove the publication.autocreate.mode configuration default to all_tables. To maintain filtered mode, recreate the publication and replication slot accordingly.

Create the publication in PostgreSQL

To create the publication in PostgreSQL:

  • Installing the aiven-extras extension:

  • Create a publication (with name for example, 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 (for example, my_test_publication) in the connector definition and restart the connector