Send AWS services logs with the Datadog Kinesis Firehose Destination


AWS service logs are usually stored in S3 buckets or CloudWatch Log groups. It is possible to subscribe to these logs and forward them to an Amazon Kinesis stream to then forward them to one or multiple destinations. Datadog is one of the default destinations for Amazon Kinesis Delivery streams.

AWS fully manages Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, so you don’t need to maintain any additional infrastructure or forwarding configurations for streaming logs. You can set up a Kinesis Firehose Delivery Stream in the AWS Firehose console, or automatically set up the destination using a CloudFormation template.


Datadog recommends using a Kinesis stream as input when using the Datadog Kinesis destination. It gives you the ability to forward your logs to multiple destinations in case Datadog is not the only consumer for those logs. If you only want to send logs to Datadog, or if you already have a Kinesis Datastream with your logs, ignore step 1.

  1. (Optional) Create a new Kinesis stream (see the Kinesis documentation). Name the stream something descriptive, like DatadogLogStream, and give it a shard count of 1 (increase the shard count for each MB/s throughput that you need).
  2. Create a new delivery stream and name it DatadogLogsforwarder.
  3. Set the source as “Kinesis stream” (or leave the source as Direct PUT or other sources if you don’t want to use a Kinesis stream) and select DatadogLogStream (or the existing Kinesis stream that already contains your logs).
  4. Disable the data transformation and record transformation and click next.
  5. Select the Datadog destination and select the Datadog US or Datadog EU region, depending on the Datadog Region of your account.
Choose your destination
  1. Paste your APIKEY into the AccessKey box. (You can get your API key from your Datadog API settings page).
  2. (Optional) Add custom parameters, which are added as custom tags to your logs.
Datadog destination configuration
  1. Choose to backup failed events to an S3 bucket.

  2. Configure the delivery stream parameters. The two important parameters are:

    • Retry time: How long the delivery stream should retry before sending an event to the backup S3 bucket.
    • Batch size: Datadog recommends a value between 1MB and 4MB. The logs are sent by the delivery stream if the batch size or the linger time (minimum 60 seconds) is reached. Datadog recommends reducing the batch size to be as close to real-time as possible.
    Batch configuration

To ensure that logs that fail through the Delivery Stream are still sent to Datadog, configure the Datadog Lambda function to trigger on this S3 bucket.

Alternatively, customize this CloudFormation template and install it from the AWS Console. See the full Kinesis CloudFormation template.

Send AWS logs to your Kinesis stream

  1. Check the Subscriptions column on the log groups index page to see current subscriptions to your relevant log groups. Add the new Kinesis stream as a subscriber. Note: CloudWatch Log groups can only have two subscriptions each.
  • Note: If you have more than two sources you want to subscribe to, you can subscribe to the new Kinesis stream after completing this setup.
  1. Subscribe your new Kinesis stream to the CloudWatch log groups you want to ingest into Datadog. Refer to this CloudWatch Logs documentation section (step 3 to 6) to:

    • Use the aws iam create-role command to create the IAM role that gives CloudWatch Logs permission to put logs data into the Kinesis stream.
    • Create a permissions policy allowing the firehose:PutRecord firehose:PutRecordBatch, kinesis:PutRecord, and kinesis:PutRecords actions.
    • Attach the permissions policy to your newly created IAM role using the aws iam put-role-policy command.
    • Use the aws logs put-subscription-filter command to subscribe your Kinesis stream to each CloudWatch log group you want to ingest into Datadog.

    Example of subscription filter:

    aws logs put-subscription-filter \
        --log-group-name "MYLOGGROUPNAME" \
        --filter-name "MyFilterName" \
        --filter-pattern "" \
        --destination-arn "DESTINATIONARN (data stream or delivery stream)" \
        --role-arn "MYROLEARN"

    Important note: The destination of the subscription filter must be in the same account as the log group, as described in the AWS documentation.

  2. Check the Subscriptions column in the log groups index page to confirm that the new Kinesis stream is now subscribed to your log groups.

If you want to push logs directly to the delivery stream without going through a Kinesis data stream, you can subscribe the CloudWatch log groups directly to the Kinesis Firehose Destination by adding the Kinesis Firehose ARN in the destination-arn parameter of the subscription filter, as shown in the AWS Subscription Filters documentation (step 12).

Search for AWS Kinesis logs in Datadog

Once you have set up an Amazon Kinesis delivery stream, you can analyze the logs subscribed to your delivery stream in Datadog.

To populate all logs by ARN:

  1. Navigate to the Logs Explorer in Datadog to see all of your subscribed logs.
  2. In the search bar, type @aws.firehose.arn:"<ARN>", replace <ARN> with your Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose ARN, and press Enter.

Further Reading