DEV Community

Cover image for Simulate IoT sensor, use Kafka to process data in real-time, save to Elasticsearch

Simulate IoT sensor, use Kafka to process data in real-time, save to Elasticsearch

musaatlihan profile image Musa Atlıhan ・4 min read

Previously I did a project that solves the predictive maintenance problem by using Apache Spark ML - with the article here.

Now I have done an additional project to collect that sensory data in real-time by using Apache Kafka.

The code is in this Github repo here.

First I created the TelemetryPoller class - I need to simulate and produce random voltage readings. TelemetryRunnable subclass handles that part.

private Long produceSensorReading() {
    Random random = new Random();
    long leftLimit = 800L;
    long rightLimit = 1500L;

    long number = leftLimit + (long) (Math.random() * (rightLimit - leftLimit));

    // simulate reading time
    try {
    } catch (InterruptedException e) {"SensorReading generation interrupted!");
    return number;
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Randomly generates a voltage value. I added some time delay to simulate a sensor Thread.sleep(random.nextInt(1000)).

Likewise, there is the produceMachineId method for producing random machine ids (there are 100 machines in the project).

Then I created the ProducerRunnable for another thread - the threadsafe LinkedBlockingQueue is shared across threads.

Kafka Producer Configs:

# Kafka Producer properties
# safe producer (Kafka >= 0.11)
# if Kafka >= 1.1 else 1
# high throughput
# (32*1024)
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

I created a topic with the name voltage-reading. I am using my local machine so the bootstrap server is

I don't want Kafka to commit the same data multiple times so the enable.idempotence is true. acks, retries and are in default mode for the idempotent producer.

I am adding a small delay and increase the batch.size so I can get high throughput which is good for a better message compression. Snappy is a good option for JSON compression.

Result is a stream of voltage values including the machine ids.

Producer stream

Now I need a Kafka Consumer and Elasticsearch Client.

I created them in the ElasticsearchConsumer class.

First I want to explain the settings a little bit:

# Kafka Consumer properties
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Again it is running on the localhost, thus the bootstrap server is Kafka Consumers need a group id, or it will assign a random one. I am getting the latest messages and is false, because I will commit the batch manually. By doing the manual committing, I will ensure the at least once property, but I need to be careful about the document duplication in the Elasticsearch index. So, additionally I am generating a unique id by using Kafka records' topic name, partition number, and offset number.

String id = record.topic() + "_" + record.partition() + '_' + record.offset();
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

I am giving this id to Elasticsearch client to prevent any duplication.

Finally, the while loop:

while (true) {
    ConsumerRecords<String, String> records = consumer.poll(Duration.ofMillis(100));

    BulkRequest bulkRequest = new BulkRequest();

    for (ConsumerRecord<String, String> record : records) {
        // kafka generic id to prevent document duplication
        String id = record.topic() + "_" + record.partition() + '_' + record.offset();"Consumer reads: " + record.value());

        try {
            // insert data into elasticsearch
            IndexRequest indexRequest = new IndexRequest("machine-telemetry")
                    .source(record.value(), XContentType.JSON);

        } catch (NullPointerException e) { // skip bad data
            logger.warn("Skipping bad data: " + record.value());

    if (records.count() > 0) {
        BulkResponse bulkItemResponses = client.bulk(bulkRequest, RequestOptions.DEFAULT);
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

I am using a BulkRequest for a better performance, so the client waits until it goes over each record in the for loop. After the bulk operation, it is time to manually commit the messages that are put into Elasticsearch - consumer.commitSync().

And when ElasticsearchConsumer class is running, I see the streaming data is being consumed and is in the Elasticsearch.



In this project, I created a simulator to produce random voltage values as if they are being produced from an IoT sensor. Then I created a Kafka Producer to send that stream into Kafka (Brokers). Finally, I used Kafka Consumer to put that stream into Elasticsearch.

I made the Producer safe by making it idempotent (meaning no duplication on the Brokers). In addition, since I am producing and consuming JSON string data, I applied an efficient compression algorithm called Snappy. Because when the batch is larger the compression is more efficient, I put some delay and increased the batch size from 16KB to 32KB.

On the consumer side, I disabled the automatic committing to ensure at least once behaviour and did the committing manually after putting the messages into Elasticseach.


Editor guide