Working with Events in Dispatch

Dispatch is designed to accept events from different sources. To be able to do that, Dispatch introduces an event driver concept. An Event Driver is an image that knows how to ingest events from a particular source. For example, if you would like to run your functions in reaction to events coming from VMware vCenter, you would register a driver that knows how to communicate to vCenter and translate the vCenter events. Then you create an event driver instance of that type.

Available Event Drivers

The following table lists out all of the currently supported pre-build event drivers. Adding additional event drivers is easy, see Custom Event Drivers for information. The GitHub link should provide additional detail per driver type.

Driver Type Image GitHub Usage
vcenter dispatchframework/dispatch-events-vcenter dispatchframework/dispatch-events-vcenter Usage
azure-eventgrid dispatchframework/dispatch-events-eventgrid dispatchframework/dispatch-events-eventgrid Usage
aws dispatchframework/dispatch-events-aws dispatchframework/dispatch-events-aws Usage
cron dispatchframework/cron-driver dispatchframework/dispatch-events-cron Usage
cloudevents dispatchframework/dispatch-events-cloudevent dispatchframework/dispatch-events-cloudevent Usage


Event drivers are implemented as Kubernetes Pods. When a new event driver is created, a new Kubernetes pod is deployed, with configuration matching the one provided in the request. The pod is wrapped in the deployment, so that it will be rescheduled/restarted if needed. See Registering an Event Driver Type for more details.

Event Driver Usage

The examples below show both the YAML representation of the Dispatch resource which can be used with the CLI (dispatch create -f <path to yaml>) and the pure CLI command.

Registering an Event Driver Type

Before creating an event driver instance, event driver types must be registered with Dispatch. Registering an event driver type is simple. Dispatch needs to know the name of the driver type, where the driver container image is located and whether or not to expose an endpoint for the driver.

kind: DriverType
image: dispatchframework/dispatch-events-vcenter
expose: false
name: vcenter
  - key: role
    value: example
dispatch create eventdrivertype vcenter dispatchframework/dispatch-events-vcenter

Adding an Event Driver Instance

Once the event driver type has been registered, event driver instances can be created. Unlike the event driver types, instances often take arguements. To discover the arguments appropriate to the driver type, see the documentation for the type. For instance the vcenter event driver takes vcenterurl as an argument which it uses to connect to the remote vcenter instance.

Event driver arguments can be passed one of two ways:

  1. Directly via config or --set (do not use this method for passing sensitive data i.e. secrets)

    kind: Driver
    type: vcenter
      - key: vcenterurl
        value: user:passwd@host:port
      - key: role
        value: example
    dispatch create eventdriver --name --set    vcenterurl=user:passwd@host:port
  2. Indirectly using secrets

    Create a secret with the arguments specfied as keys and values

    kind: Secret
    name: vcenter
      vcenterurl: user:passwd@host:port
      - key: role
        value: example
    cat << EOF > vcenter.json
      "vcenterurl": "user:passwd@host:port"
    dispatch create secret vcenter ./vcenter.json

    Then reference that secret when creating the event driver instance.

    kind: Driver
    type: vcenter
      - vcenter
      - key: role
        value: example
    dispatch create eventdriver vcenter --name --secret vcenter

The above will create a new event driver of type vcenter and –name Creating an event-driver may take some time - monitor its status by running:

dispatch get eventdriver

When the status changes to READY, the event driver is ready to use.

Event driver by itself doesn’t do much. it produces events which are ingested by Dispatch, but Dispatch does not know what to do with them yet. To tell Dispatch to react to events, you need to create a subscription.

Working with subscriptions

Adding subscription

Subscription tells Dispatch to match certain events to certain functions, so that when events matching defined conditions arrive to the system, these functions will be executed. Events that do not match any subscriptions are automatically dropped.

To add a new subscription for the vm.being.created event in a vcenter event driver, run:

dispatch create subscription --event-type vm.being.created myFunction

The above command will print output similar to the following:

           NAME          |    EVENT TYPE    | FUNCTION NAME | STATUS |         CREATED DATE
  complete-cicada-410962 | vm.being.created | myFunction    | READY  | Fri Dec 31 17:18:54 PST -0001

The above subscription will cause dispatch to execute function myFunction for every event of type vm.being.created.

You can also specify a name for your subscription using --name parameter. if you don’t, a random, human-readable name will be created.

Event driver event types

To find out the list of event types produced by event drivers, see the documentation for the event driver type.

Emitting events via CLI or API

Event driver is a powerful concept, but there are cases when you want to emit an event by yourself or through some external application.

Emitting events via CLI

To emit an event using CLI, you can use the dispatch emit subcommand.

In the following example, We emit an event of type my.event:

dispatch emit my.event --data '{ "example": "payload"}'

Events in Dispatch follow Cloud Events specification. There are certain attributes in Cloud Events that are mandatory. when emitting them through the CLI, the CLI will pick reasonable defaults. You can customize those defaults using CLI attributes:

  • --source - Event source. Defaults to dispatch
  • --event-id - Event ID, should be unique within the scope of producer. Defaults to generated UUIDv4.

You can also provide following optional details about the emitted event:

  • --event-type-version - Version of the event, specific to the source. Defaults to empty string.
  • --schema-url - URL to schema describing event data. Defaults to empty string.
  • --content-type - Content Type of optional data payload. Defaults to application/json when using --data, or automatically detected type when using --data-from-file. If specified, always takes precedence over detected type.

You can provide data payload for Event using --data parameter. --data-from-file will read the content from the specified file path. Use the --binary switch to automatically encode the data using base64. If dispatch CLI detects binary type, the content will automatically be base64-encoded.

Emitting events via API

You can also emit an event using Dispatch API directly. Here is an example using cURL:

curl -X "POST" "https://${DISPATCH_URL}/v1/event/" \
     -H 'Cookie: cookie' \
     -H 'Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8' \
     -d $'{
  "event": {
    "source": "dispatch",
    "contentType": "application/json",
    "eventTime": "2018-03-02T23:31:35.818-08:00",
    "eventType": "test.event33",
    "eventID": "b4620ea5-8e9d-42d5-a566-6ad2f7873d63",
    "cloudEventsVersion": "0.1",

NOTE: The above example assume no authentication. In a production environment, service account credentials must be passed as a JWT bearer token to an Authorization HTTP header.