Connecting DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue: 2 Easy Steps

on Tutorial, Data Integration, Database, ETL • August 18th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Are you trying to derive deeper insights from your Amazon DynamoDB by moving the data into a larger Database like Amazon S3? Well, you have landed on the right article. Now, it has become easier to replicate data from DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue.

This article will give you a brief overview of Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon S3. You will also get to know how you can connect your DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue. Moreover, the advantages and disadvantages of this method will also be discussed in further sections. Read along to decide which method of connecting DynamoDB to S3 is best for you.

Table of Contents


You will have a much easier time understanding the steps to connect DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue if you have gone through the following aspects:

  • An active AWS account.
  • Working knowledge of Databases.
  • Clear idea regarding the type of data to be transferred.

Introduction to Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB Logo
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Amazon DynamoDB is a document and key-value database with a millisecond response time. It is an internet-scale database that is fully managed, multi-active, multi-region, and durable, with built-in security, in-memory caching, backup, and restoration. For essential activities, companies like Airbnb, Toyota, Samsung, Lyft, and Capital One rely on DynamoDB’s performance and scalability.

Some of the use cases of DynamoDB include:

  1. Dynamodb is heavily used in e-commerce since it stores the data as a key-value pair with low latency.
  2. Due to its low latency, Dynamodb is used in serverless web applications.

To know more about Amazon DynamoDB, visit this link.

Introduction to Amazon S3

Amazon S3 Logo
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Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is a web-based cloud storage service that provides high-speed, scalable storage. It was created to back up and archive applications and data on Amazon Web Services.

Amazon S3 is a very useful tool since it allows users to store and retrieve data from anywhere on the internet at any time. This is done using the AWS Management Console, which has a user-friendly online interface. For example, Amazon utilizes S3 to host its websites all over the world. The popularity of S3 is rapidly increasing.

Some of the use cases of Amazon S3 include:

  1. Since S3 is cost-effective, S3 can be used as a backup to store your transient/raw and permanent data.
  2. Using S3, a data lake can be built to perform analytics and as a repository of data.
  3. S3 can be used in Machine Learning, Data profiling, etc.

To know more about Amazon S3, visit this link.

Introduction to AWS Glue

AWS Glue Logo
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AWS Glue is a serverless ETL service, which is fully managed. Since it is serverless, you do not have to worry about the configuration and management of your resources. Before going through the steps to export DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue, here are the use cases of DynamoDB and Amazon S3.

To know more about AWS Glue, visit this link.

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Steps to Connect DynamoDB to MySQL using AWS Glue

This blog post details the steps to move data from DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue. This method would need you to deploy precious engineering resources to invest time and effort to understand both S3 and DynamoDB. They would then need to piece the infrastructure together bit by bit. This is a fairly time-consuming process.

Now, let us export data from DynamoDB to S3 using AWS glue. It is done in two major steps:

Step 1: Create a Crawler

The first step in connecting DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue is to create a crawler. You can follow the below-mentioned steps to create a crawler.:

  • Create a Database DynamoDB.
Creating DynamoDB Database
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  • Pick the table CompanyEmployeeList from the tables drop-down list.
Adding Table to DynamoDB
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  • Let the table info gets created through crawler. Set up crawler details in the window below. Provide crawler name as dynamodb_crawler.
Adding Crawler
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  • Add database name and DynamoDB table name.
Adding Crawler
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  • Provide the necessary IAM role to the crawler such that it can access the DynamoDB table. Here, the created IAM role is AWSGlueServiceRole-DynamoDB.
Choosing IAM Role
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  • You can schedule the crawler. For this illustration, it is running on-demand as the activity is one-time.
Creating a Schedule for Crawler
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Configuring Crawler's Output
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  • Review the crawler information.
Reviewing Crawler Information
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  • Run the crawler.
Running Crawler
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  • Check the catalog details once the crawler is executed successfully.
Catalog Details
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Step 2: Exporting Data from DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue

Since the crawler is generated, let us create a job to copy data from the DynamoDB table to S3. Here the job name given is dynamodb_s3_gluejob. In AWS Glue, you can use either Python or Scala as an ETL language. For the scope of this article, let us use Python

Job Properties
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  • Pick your data source.
Picking the Data Source
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  • Pick your data target.
Picking the Target Data
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  • Once completed, Glue will create a readymade mapping for you.
Mapping the data
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  • Once you review your mapping, it will automatically generate python code/job for you.
Review your Mappings
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  • Execute the Python job.
Python Code Execution
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  • Once the job completes successfully, it will generate logs for you to review.
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  • Go and check files in the bucket. Download the files.
Checking Files in the Bucket
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  • Review the contents of the file.
Reviewing the Contents of File
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Advantages of Connecting DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue

Some of the advantages of connecting DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue include:

  1. This approach is fully serverless and you do not have to worry about provisioning and maintaining your resources
  2. You can run your customized Python and Scala code to run the ETL
  3. You can push your event notification to Cloudwatch
  4. You can trigger Lambda function for success or failure notification
  5. You can manage your job dependencies using AWS Glue
  6. AWS Glue is the perfect choice if you want to create a data catalog and push your data to the Redshift spectrum

Disadvantages of Connecting DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue

Some of the disadvantages of connecting DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue include:

  1. AWS Glue is batch-oriented and does not support streaming data. In case your DynamoDB table is populated at a higher rate. AWS Glue may not be the right option
  2. AWS Glue service is still in an early stage and not mature enough for complex logic
  3. AWS Glue still has a lot of limitations on the number of crawlers, number of jobs, etc.

Refer to AWS documentation to know more about the limitations. You can also check out how to move data from DynamoDB to Amazon S3 using AWS Data Pipeline.


AWS Glue can be used over AWS Data Pipeline when you do not want to worry about your resources and do not need to take control over your resources ie. EC2 instances, EMR cluster, etc. Thus, connecting DynamoDB to S3 using AWS Glue can help you to replicate data with ease.

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Businesses can use automated platforms like Hevo Data to set this integration and handle the ETL process. It helps you directly transfer data from a source of your choice to a Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence tools, or any other desired destination in a fully automated and secure manner without having to write any code and will provide you a hassle-free experience.

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Share your experience of setting up DynamoDB to S3 Integration in the comments section below!

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