Tips For Running Kafka Streams On AWS

Ian Duffy and Nina Hanzlikova have some advice if you’re looking to spin up some EC2 instances to run Kafka Streams:

With upgrades in the underlying Kafka Streams library, the Kafka community introduced many improvements to the underlying stream configuration defaults. Where in previous, more unstable iterations of the client library we spent a lot of time tweaking config values such as,, and to achieve some level of stability.

With new releases we found ourselves discarding these custom values and achieving better results. However, some timeout issues persisted on some of our services, where a service would frequently get stuck in a rebalancing state. We noticed that reducing the max.poll.records value for the stream configs would sometimes alleviate issues experienced by these services. From partition lag profiles we also saw that the consuming issue seemed to be confined to only a few partitions, while the others would continue processing normally between re-balances. Ultimately we realised that the processing time for a record in these services could be very long (up to minutes) in some edge cases. Kafka has a fairly large maximum offset commit time before a stream consumer is considered dead (5 minutes) but with larger message batches of data this timeout was still being exceeded. By the time the processing of the record was finished the stream was already marked as failed and so the offset could not be committed. On rebalance, this same record would once again be fetched from Kafka, would fail to process in a timely manner and the situation would repeat. Therefore for any of the affected applications we introduced a processing timeout, ensuring there was an upper bound on the time taken by any of our edge cases.

There are some interesting tidbits in here.

Testing Cosmos DB Performance With Geospatial Data

Kevin Feasel



Vincent-Philippe Lauzon has done some performance testing of Cosmos DB when querying geospatial data:

Here are the main attributes of the sample set:

  • There are 1 200 000 documents
  • Documents are distributed on 4000 logical partitions with 300 documents per logical partition
  • %33 of documents (i.e. 400 000 documents) have a location node with a geospatial “point” in there
  • Points are scattered uniformly on the geospatial rectangle
  • There are no correlation between the partition key and the geospatial point coordinates

We ran the tests with 4 different Request Units (RUs) configurations:

  • 2500

  • 10000

  • 20000

  • 100000

Read on for the test results and his findings.

Data Set Robustness

Tomaz Kastrun shows how robust the iris data set is:

Conclusion, IRIS dataset is – due to the nature of the measurments and observations – robust and rigid; one can get very good accuracy results on a small training set. Everything beyond 30% for training the model, is for this particular case, just additional overload.

The general concept here is, how small can you arbitrarily slice the data and still come up with the same result as the overall data set?  Or, phrased differently, how much data do you need to collect before predictions stabilize?  Read on to see how Tomaz solves the problem.

Powershell Runtime Prompt

Chrissy LeMaire shows off a really cool Powershell prompt:

A few months back, dbatools wizard Fred created a prompt that was so awesome, I never had to use Measure-Commandagain. It was cool enough that a number of us ended up adopting it, so I figured I’d share.

Performance is important to us so that’s what the prompt is all about. Nothing fancy, just the current working directory and how long the command took to run.

The prompt shows how long the previous command took to run.  Click through for the code to do this.

Asynchronous Stats Updates

Monica Rathbun explains why you might want to turn on asynchronous statistics updates in your OLTP environment:

By default, when Auto Update Statistics is set to True, the SQL Server Query Optimizer will automatically update statistics when data has met a threshold of changes (insert, update, delete, or merge) and the estimated rows are now potentially stale. When statistics are stale, execution plans can become suboptimal which can lead to degradation in performance.

This best practice option ensures your statistics stay up to date as much as possible. Each time a cached query plan is executed the Optimizer checks for data changes and potentially generates new statistics. This behavior is exactly what we want, but there is a catch. The caveat to this is that a cached query plan will be “held” while the statistics are updated and will recompile to use the new values before running. This caveat can slow down the execution process dramatically.

The advice Monica provides is generally sound, though there are rare cases when asynchronous statistics updates end up causing more problems than they solve, so test the change first.

SQL Server Agent On A Linux Container

Andrew Pruski shows how to get the SQL Agent service running on a Linux container:

Now, one of the benefits of attending SQL Saturdays is that you get to pick the brains of a lot of very clever people and luckily for me, Jan Van Humbeek (blog|twitter) was there.

Jan said that he had gotten the SQL Agent running in Linux containers so I asked if he could send on his code and he very kindly obliged.

So, the disclaimer for this blog post is that I didn’t write the code here, Jan did. All I’ve done is drop it into a dockerfile so that an image can be built. Thank you very much Jan!

Click through for Jan’s code and Andrew’s presentation of the process.


October 2017
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