What are Spring Cloud Connectors?

Spring Cloud Connectors is a project that simplifies the process of connecting Spring applications to services in cloud platforms and gaining operational awareness of those platforms. It is designed for extensibility: you can use one of the provided cloud connectors or write one for your cloud platform, you can use the built-in support for commonly-used services (like relational databases, MongoDB, Redis, RabbitMQ), or extend Spring Cloud Connectors to work with your own services.

Cloud Platform Support

Out of the box, Spring Cloud Connectors offers support for the Cloud Foundry and Heroku platforms. You can also extend Spring Cloud Connectors to provide support for other cloud platforms and providers.

Spring Cloud Connectors uses the CloudConnector interface to provide cloud platform support. A CloudConnector implementation for a particular cloud platform is responsible for detecting when the application is running in that cloud platform, obtaining information about the application from the cloud platform, and obtaining information about the services that are bound to the application.

Cloud Service Support

You can extend Spring Cloud Connectors to support additional services, including services that are specific to your own environment or application. Spring Cloud Connectors uses two interfaces to provide cloud service support:

  • ServiceInfo models the information required to connect to the service. In the case of a database service, a ServiceInfo implementation might include fields for host, port, database name, username, and password; in the case of a web service, it might include fields for URL and API key.

  • ServiceInfoCreator creates ServiceInfo objects based on the service information collected by a cloud connector. A ServiceInfoCreator implementation is specific to a cloud platform.

Application Framework Support

The Spring Cloud Spring Service Connector creates service connectors with data types for Spring Data. You can extend Spring Cloud Connectors to provide service connection objects using another framework.

Spring Cloud Connectors uses the ServiceConnectorCreator interface to provide framework support. A ServiceConnectorCreator creates service connectors using the service connection information provided by a ServiceInfo object.


Using the Cloud Foundry Connector

The Cloud Foundry connector discovers services that are bound to an application running in Cloud Foundry. (Since Cloud Foundry enumerates each service in a consistent format, Spring Cloud Connectors does not care which service provider is providing it.)

This connector checks for the presence of a VCAP_APPLICATION environment variable. This is a system-provided environment variable which is specific to Cloud Foundry. If the variable exists, the connector will be activated.

Cloud Foundry users may define their own user-provided service using the cf CLI. The command is of the format:

cf cups [service-name] -p "comma,separated,list,of,params"

Example: cf cups oracle-db-service -p "jdbcUrl"

Once the service is defined, you bind the service to your application and then consume the VCAP_SERVICES environment variable, which stores connection and identification information for service instances that are bound to Cloud Foundry apps.

A sample VCAP_SERVICES entry looks like:

  "user-provided": [
	"credentials": {
 	"jdbcUrl": "oracle://$user:$password@$hostname:$port/$name"
	"label": "user-provided",
	"name": "oracle-db-service",
	"syslog_drain_url": "",
	"tags": [],
	"volume_mounts": []
	"credentials": {
 	"hosts": "localhost:8080",
 	"password": "welcome",
 	"username": "user"
	"label": "user-provided",
	"name": "cassandra-service",
	"syslog_drain_url": "",
	"tags": [],
	"volume_mounts": []

In your code, you can parse this information to retrieve connection details or create a custom Spring Cloud connector.

Creating a Kafka Connector

Let’s look at creating a Kafka connector to consume a Kafka user-provided service. This is accomplished in three steps:

1. Create a KafkaServiceInfo by extending the BaseServiceInfo from the spring-cloud-connector library:

package com.example.kafka;

import org.springframework.cloud.service.BaseServiceInfo;

public class KafkaServiceInfo extends BaseServiceInfo {

    public KafkaServiceInfo(String id) {

    public KafkaServiceInfo(String id, String url, String username, String password) {
   	 this.url = url;
   	 this.username = username;
   	 this.password = password;

    private String url;
    private String username;
    private String password;

    public String getUrl() {
   	 return url;

    public String getUsername() {
   	 return username;

    public String getPassword() {
   	 return password;

    public String toString() {
   	 return "KafkaServiceInfo [url=" + url + ", username=" + username + ", password=" + password + "]";


2. Create a KafkaServiceInfoCreator by extending CloudFoundryServiceInfoCreator

package com.example.kafka;

import java.util.Map;

import org.springframework.cloud.cloudfoundry.CloudFoundryServiceInfoCreator;
import org.springframework.cloud.cloudfoundry.Tags;

public class KafkaServiceInfoCreator extends CloudFoundryServiceInfoCreator<KafkaServiceInfo> {

    public KafkaServiceInfoCreator() {
   	 super(new Tags(""), "kafka");

    public KafkaServiceInfo createServiceInfo(Map<String, Object> serviceData) {
   	 Map<String, Object> credentials = (Map<String, Object>) serviceData.get("credentials");

   	 String id = (String) serviceData.get("name");
   	 String servers = (String) credentials.get("servers");
   	 String clientId = (String) credentials.get("clientId");

   	 return new KafkaServiceInfo(id, servers, clientId);

    public boolean accept(Map<String, Object> serviceData) {
   	 String name = (String) serviceData.get("name");
   	 return name.startsWith("kafka"); // Kicks in only if the service name starts with kafka


The KafkaServiceInfoCreator parses the JSON presented by the VCAP_SERVICES and creates the KafkaServiceInfo and it’s ready for use in the code.

3. To allow these classes to be discovered by spring cloud connectors when using Cloud Foundry, create a file org.springframework.cloud.cloudfoundry.CloudFoundryServiceInfoCreator in src/main/resources/META-INF/services/ and add the com.example.kafka.KafkaServiceInfoCreator to it

  • To consume the kafka-service that is created using the cf cli``cf cups kafka-service -p 'servers,clientId'

  • The following code is required:

  Cloud cloud = new CloudFactory().getCloud();
  KafkaServiceInfo kafkaServiceInfo = (KafkaServiceInfo) cloud.getServiceInfo("kafka-service");
  • Now the KafkaServiceInfo is ready for creating a connection to Kafka service

Creating a Cloud Database Connection

Creating and using a cloud database connection is a simple three-step process.

1. Include the maven dependency


2. Create a Cloud Configuration class

public class CloudConfig extends AbstractCloudConfig {

    public DataSource dataSource() {
        return connectionFactory().dataSource();


3. Optionally, create an application-cloud.properties file

This file should contain information about the DB used in the cloud if different than test/standalone. For example:

spring.jpa.properties.hibernate.dialect = org.hibernate.dialect.MySQL5Dialects

Keep Learning

For more information about Spring Cloud Connectors and a Quick Start tutorial, refer to the Spring Cloud Connectors page on Spring.io. You may also want to learn more about Extending Spring Cloud Connectors.

To learn about connecting to external datasources, see the guide Spring Cloud Connectors and Datasources.