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Day: July 2, 2020

Good Practices when Combining Spark with Cassandra

Valerie Parham-Thompson shares some insights for working with Spark and Cassandra together:

Although we are focusing on Cassandra as the data storage in this presentation, other storage sources and destinations are possible. Another frequently used data storage option is Hadoop HDFS. The previously mentioned spark-cassandra-connector has capabilities to write results to Cassandra, and in the case of batch loading, to read data directly from Cassandra.

Native data output formats available include both JSON and Parquet. The Parquet format in particular is useful for writing to AWS S3. See for more information on querying S3 files stored in Parquet format. A good use case for this is archiving data from Cassandra.

Read on for more advice.

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The Either Monad in Scala

Jyoti Sachdeva explains some of the power of Either:

We use Options in scala but why do we want to go for Either?

Either is a better approach in the respect that if something fails we can track down the reason, which in Option None case is not possible.
We simply pass None but what is the reason we got None instead of Some. We will see how to tackle this scenario using Either.

This is a classic functional programming pattern and one of the easier monads to understand.

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ML Services and Resource Governor

I have a post on two gotchas you might run into around Resource Governor throttling SQL Server Machine Learning Services:

By default, SQL Server will grant 20% of available memory to any R or Python scripts running. The purpose of this limit is to prevent you from hurting server performance with expensive external scripts (like, say, training large neural networks on a SQL Server).

Here’s the kicker: this affects you even if you don’t have Resource Governor enabled. If you see out-of-memory exceptions in Python or error messages about memory allocation in R, I’d recommend bumping this max memory percent up above 20, and I have scripts to help you with the job. Of course, making this change assumes that your server isn’t stressed to the breaking point; if it is, you might simply want to offload that work somewhere else.

Click through for the other issue.

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ADF.Procfwk Version 1.8

Paul Andrew has been busy:

Following more great feedback from the Data Platform community the primary goal of this release was to further improve the resilience of the framework processing. These improvements included its restart clean up capabilities and introducing better dependency chain handling between Worker pipelines when failures occur. The latter builds on the existing restart functionality first introduced in release v1.2 and supplements the logic using a new set of pipeline dependency metadata. I’ve created the below visual to conceptually show the new dependency chain behaviour, should you wish to populate and make use of the new metadata handling.

Read on for the full changelog.

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A Note on Distributed Network Names

Allan Hirt provides an explanation around Distributed Network Names when building Windows Server Failover Clusters on Windows Server 2019:

The new Windows Server 2019 DNN functionality does have a side effect that does affect Azure-based configurations. When creating a WSFC, Windows Server 2019 detects that the VM is running in Azure and will use a DNN for the WSFC name. This is the default behavior.

I clipped this paragraph specifically because Allan uses both “affect” and “effect” correctly, and I wanted to call that out. Do read the rest of it as well.

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Understanding the Identity Cache

Jignesh Raiyani explains the purpose of the identity cache and shows how you might disable it if you want to:

In the release of SQL Server 2012, Microsoft has introduced a feature of Identity Cache. The identity jump doesn’t cause any issue neither with the database nor the running tasks; however, this identity value gap is not acceptable in some of the business-oriented scenarios. This Identity counter values of the columns are stored in the system table separately, which is known as sys.identity_columns DMV. This reference object sys.identity_columns does not rely on the transaction status, and it doesn’t matter that the transaction on the user table is committed or rolled back. Now, in case this user transaction is being rolled back, we will find that the identity value has been skipped in the sys.identity_columns table. The reason being is that the value of the Identity column value does not get rolled back. Apart from the above scenario, there could be various reasons or situations where these issues of the skip of the Identity value will be seen, which will be small in number and random. However, when there is an issue of Identity value jump, the amount of the skip value will be prominent and precise in number, depending upon the column data type, which is easy to identify.

My advice is, don’t disable this unless you have a really good reason to. “I don’t want to see numbers skipped” is a bad reason because identity columns never guarantee sequential insertion. You can still have skips due to transaction rollbacks or other errors on insertion, and the identity cache helps with performance problems in cases with lots of writers inserting rows into the table.

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