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How to export a whole DynamoDB table (to S3)

For the most details, you’ll want to read the documentation, which provides a full section for this here. I’ll try to make this a lot more concise while still containing enough relevant details.

In your AWS console, go to https://console.aws.amazon.com/datapipeline/. Create a new pipeline. Set a meaningful name you like. In “Source”, select “Build using a template” and pick the template “Export DynamoDB table to S3”.

The “Parameters” section should be obvious: indicate which table to read, and which S3 bucket and subfolder you want the backup to be saved in. “DynamoDB read throughput ratio” is an interesting parameter: it allows you to configure the percentage of the provisioned capacity that the export job will consume. The default is 0.25 (25%), you may want to increase it a bit to speed up the export.

The “Schedule” section is useful if you want to run an export regularly, but if you don’t, pick “Run on pipeline activation”.

In “Pipeline Configuration”, I chose to disable logging. (note that every operation in itself is “free” but you’ll still have to pay any incurred costs, like the EC2 instance that will run the job and the S3 storage used by your backup, logs, etc)

In “Security/Access”, I just left IAM roles to “Default”. Not sure what the use cases are for this section.

You can add tags if you like, and click on “Edit in Architect” if you want to customize it more, but I’ll just click “Activate” here. It may tell you “Pipeline has activation warnings” (notably, there’s a warning if you disable logs), you can pick “Edit in Architect” to review the warnings, or just pick “Activate” again anyway.
If you do so, you’ll be redirected to your pipeline’s page, and it will start running shortly after (you may have to refresh the page, or go back to your pipelines list and again to the new pipeline’s page). The “WAITING_FOR_RUNNER” status will probably last almost 10 minutes before the job is actually “RUNNING”.

AWS Data Pipeline, job waiting for runner

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