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Amazon Kinesis Streams
Developer Guide

Handling Startup, Shutdown, and Throttling

Here are some additional considerations to incorporate into the design of your Amazon Kinesis Streams application.

Starting Up Data Producers and Data Consumers

By default, the KCL begins reading records from the tip of the stream;, which is the most recently added record. In this configuration, if a data-producing application adds records to the stream before any receiving record processors are running, the records are not read by the record processors after they start up.

To change the behavior of the record processors so that it always reads data from the beginning of the stream, set the following value in the properties file for your Amazon Kinesis Streams application:

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initialPositionInStream = TRIM_HORIZON

Amazon Kinesis Streams keeps records for 24 to 168 hours. This time frame is called the retention period. Setting the starting position to the TRIM_HORIZON will start the record processor with the oldest data in the stream, as defined by the retention period. Even with the TRIM_HORIZON setting, if a record processor were to start after a greater time has passed than the retention period, then some of the records in the stream will no longer be available. For this reason, you should always have consumer applications reading from the stream and use the CloudWatch metric GetRecords.IteratorAgeMilliseconds to monitor that applications are keeping up with incoming data.

In some scenarios, it may be fine for record processors to miss the first few records in the stream. For example, you might run some initial records through the stream to test that the stream is working end-to-end as expected. After doing this initial verification, you would then start your workers and begin to put production data into the stream.

For more information about the TRIM_HORIZON setting, see Using Shard Iterators.

Shutting Down an Amazon Kinesis Streams Application

When your Amazon Kinesis Streams application has completed its intended task, you should shut it down by terminating the EC2 instances on which it is running. You can terminate the instances using the AWS Management Console or the AWS CLI.

After shutting down your Amazon Kinesis Streams application, you should delete the Amazon DynamoDB table that the KCL used to track the application's state.

Read Throttling

The throughput of a stream is provisioned at the shard level. Each shard has a read throughput of up to 5 transactions per second for reads, up to a maximum total data read rate of 2 MB per second. If an application (or a group of applications operating on the same stream) attempts to get data from a shard at a faster rate, Kinesis Streams throttles the corresponding Get operations.

In an Amazon Kinesis Streams application, if a record processor is processing data faster than the limit — such as in the case of a failover — throttling occurs. Because the Kinesis Client Library manages the interactions between the application and Kinesis Streams, throttling exceptions occur in the KCL code rather than in the application code. However, because the KCL logs these exceptions, you see them in the logs.

If you find that your application is throttled consistently, you should consider increasing the number of shards for the stream.