Building Scalable Data Pipelines with AWS Serverless Services – Part 2


Welcome back to the second installment of our series on ‘Building Scalable Data Pipelines with AWS Serverless Services.’ In Part 1, we laid the foundation by exploring the essential concepts and initial setup. Now, in Part 2, we dive deeper into the world of serverless architecture to uncover advanced strategies and techniques that will help you supercharge your data pipelines. Let’s continue our journey through AWS’s serverless ecosystem as we harness its power to build efficient and scalable data pipelines.

In this blog post, I will walk you through the steps of creating a fully automated data pipeline using AWS serverless services, from ingesting data at the Bronze Layer to performing advanced analytics with Athena.

Data Pipeline components

Ingesting Data at the Bronze Layer

Our data pipeline begins with ingesting raw data from an on-premises system into an S3 bucket named ‘src_bkt.’ This data is delivered in zipped compressed format daily via a cron job. This initial layer of data is referred to as the “Bronze Layer.”

Data Extraction and Transformation at the Silver Layer

Cleaning the data is essential to ensure that it is consistent and accurate, which will improve the quality of our analytics results. Inside the ‘DemoDataPipeLine’ state machine, we have a Lambda function named ‘extractor.’ This function is responsible for reading the zipped files from the source S3 bucket, decompressing them, and cleaning the data by removing null values. This processed data is now at the “Silver Layer.”

Further ETL Processing for the Golden Layer

In the Golden Layer, we perform additional transformations to prepare the data for analytics, such as aggregating the data and converting it to a common schema. After reaching the Silver Layer, the data goes through another ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) job within the ‘DemoDataPipeLine’ state machine. This job performs additional transformations and cleaning to prepare the data for analytics. Once completed, the data is now in the “Golden Layer.”

Notifications with SNS

To keep the operations team informed about the progress of the data pipeline, we set up an AWS Simple Notification Service (SNS) topic. This topic sends notifications on every state transition within the ‘DemoDataPipeLine’ state machine, ensuring that the team is always up-to-date on the pipeline’s status.

Data Catalog and Table Population

A data catalog provides a central repository for metadata about datasets, making it easy to discover and manage data. With the data now in the Golden Layer, the ‘DemoDataPipeLine’ state machine triggers AWS Crawlers. These Crawlers automatically populate the data catalog with metadata about the datasets, making it easy to query and analyze the data.

Monitoring with CloudWatch

We are monitoring metrics such as Lambda execution time and error rate, as well as logs from our Lambda functions and ETL jobs. This allows us to quickly identify and resolve any issues that may arise. To ensure the reliability and performance of our data pipeline, we use AWS CloudWatch. CloudWatch provides monitoring and logging capabilities for our Lambda functions and ETL jobs, allowing us to track and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Scheduling Pipeline Execution with EventBridge

To automate the data pipeline, we utilize AWS EventBridge. We create an event rule named ‘pipeline-run-rule,’ which triggers our data pipeline, represented by an AWS Step Functions state machine called ‘DemoDataPipeLine,’ at a specific time daily. We are using EventBridge to schedule the pipeline to run once daily at midnight.

Data Analysis with Athena

Athena allows you to run SQL queries on the data catalog’s tables to perform a wide range of analytics, such as ad hoc analysis, reporting, and machine learning. Once the data catalog is populated, we can leverage AWS Athena for querying and analyzing the data. Athena allows you to run SQL queries on the data catalog’s tables, enabling data analysts and data scientists to gain valuable insights from the processed data.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the steps of building a data pipeline using AWS serverless services.

Figure I Architecture of the data pipeline we are going to build

Resource Deployment

Creating AWS resources using AWS CloudFormation is a great way to automate the provisioning and management of your infrastructure. Here’s an example CloudFormation script that creates the resources you described in your data pipeline.

You can find the CloudFormation template here at GitHub.

Note: Remember to review and adjust the IAM policies to provide the necessary permissions for your resources to interact with each other also change bucket and job names as per your resources.

Steps to Deploy Pipeline Resources

  • Create an S3 bucket with the appropriate Name.
  • Go to Cloudformation Console and click on Create Stack.
  • Click on Create with New Resources.
  • Upload Your CloudFormation Script YAML file.
  1. Provide the Name of your data Pipeline Stack.
  • Monitor resource creation & events in the cloudformation console

This blog post describes the key steps to building a robust and fully automated data pipeline using AWS serverless services.

Figure II Cloudformation resource stack overview


AWS provides a comprehensive set of services that can be used to build data pipelines for a wide range of use cases, such as batch processing, stream processing, and machine learning. From ingesting data at the Bronze Layer to performing advanced analytics with Athena, AWS provides a comprehensive ecosystem of services to meet your data processing needs. By following these steps, you can create a reliable and scalable data pipeline that empowers your organization to make data-driven decisions confidently.

About the Author

This blog post was written by Afjal Ahamad, a data engineer at QloudX. Afjal has over 4 years of experience in IT, and he is passionate about using data to solve business problems. He is skilled in PySpark, Pandas, AWS Glue, AWS Data Wrangler, and other data-related tools and services. He is also a certified AWS Solution Architect and AWS Data Analytics – Specialty.

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