Impala Improvements in CDH 5.15.0

Michael Ho, et al, share some improvements in Apache Impala’s scalability in the Cloudera Distribution of Hadoop:

Kudu RPC (KRPC) supports asynchronous RPCs. This removes the need to have a single thread per connection. Connections between hosts are long-lived. All RPCs between two hosts multiplex on the same established connection. This drastically cuts down the number of TCP connections between hosts and decouples the number of connections from the number of query fragments.

The error handling semantics are much cleaner and the RPC library transparently re-establishes broken connections. Support for SASL and TLS are built-in. KRPC uses protocol buffers for payload serialization. In addition to structured data, KRPC also supports attaching binary data payloads to RPCs, which removes the cost of data serialization and is used for large data objects like Impala’s intermediate row batches. There is also support for RPC cancellation which comes in handy when a query is cancelled because it allows query teardown to happen sooner.

Looks like there were some pretty nice gains out of this project.

Azure Data Factory Data Flows

Joost van Rossum takes a look at data flows in Azure Data Factory:

2) Create Databricks Service
Yes you are reading this correctly. Under the hood Data Factory is using Databricks to execute the Data flows, but don’t worry you don’t have to write code.
Create a Databricks Service and choose the right region. This should be the same as your storage region to prevent high data movement costs. As Pricing Tier you can use Standard for this introduction. Creating the service it self doesn’t cost anything.

Joost shows the work you have to do to build out a data flow. This has been a big hole in ADF—yeah, ADF seems more like an ELT tool than an ETL tool but even within that space, there are times when you need to do a bit more than pump-and-dump.

Password Protect Everything, Including Hadoop

George Leopold summarizes a recent Securonix report:

The malware spreads via brute-force attacks on weak passwords “or by exploiting one of three vulnerabilities found on Hadoop YARN Resource Manager, Redis [in-memory key-value store service] and ActiveMQ,” Securonix said. Once logged into database services, the malware can for example delete existing databases stored on a server and create another with a ransom note specifying a bitcoin payment.

The security analyst recommends continuous review of cloud-based services like Hadoop and YARN instances and their exposure to the Internet. Along with strong passwords, companies should “restrict access whenever possible to reduce the potential attack surface.”

It’s pretty standard advice: secure your data, password-protect your systems, and minimize the number of computers that get to touch your computers.

What To Know Before Integrating With Apache Kafka

Adi Polak gives us seven helpful tips to think about before building a Kafka cluster:

2 — You shouldn’t send large messages or payloads through Kafka
According to Apache Kafka, for better throughput, the max message size should be 10KB. If the messages are larger than this, it is better to check the alternatives or find a way to chop the message into smaller parts before writing to Kafka. Best practice to do so is using a message key to make sure all chopped messages will be written to the same partition.

Read the whole thing.

Spark And Splitting DataFrames

Giovanni Lanzani explains that one technique to split a data frame doesn’t quite work as expected:

Recently I was delivering a Spark course. One of the exercises asked the students to split a Spark DataFrame in two, non-overlapping, parts.

One of the students came up with a creative way to do so.

He started by adding a monotonically increasing ID column to the DataFrame. Spark has a built-in function for this, monotonically_increasing_id — you can find how to use it in the docs.

Read on to see how this didn’t quite work right, why it didn’t work as expected, and one alternative.

A Functional Approach To PySpark

Tristan Robinson shows us how we can implement a transform function which makes Python code look a little bit more functional:

After a small bit of research I discovered the concept of monkey patching (modifying a program to extend its local execution) the DataFrame object to include a transform function. This function is missing from PySpark but does exist as part of the Scala language already.

The following code can be used to achieve this, and can be stored in a generic wrapper functions notebook to separate it out from your main code. This can then be called to import the functions whenever you need them.

Things which make Python more of a functional language are fine by me. Even though I’d rather use Scala.

AMD vs Intel CPUs For Data Processing Jobs

Hariharan Iyer and Abhishek Srivastava run some tests against AWS’s new AMD-powered EC2 instances:

Our summary findings from TPCDS benchmarks are as follows:
– TPCDS queries are not as sensitive to local disk performance (and hence to EBS volume sizes)
– r5 (Intel) instances are consistently faster than r5a (AMD) instances. However, the speedup depends on the engine and the speedup for r5 (Intel) is lower for Spark (10%) than for Hive (25%).
– r5 instances are also either cheaper (by about 10% for Hive) or the same cost (for Spark)

At least for Hadoop and Spark work, Intel CPUs are a bit better, but there is some nuance in the story so check it out.

Azure Databricks And Active Directory

Tristan Robinson wraps up a two-parter on Azure Databricks security:

With the addition of Databricks runtime 5.1 which was released December 2018, comes the ability to use Azure AD credential pass-through. This is a huge step forward since there is no longer a need to control user permissions through Databricks Groups / Bash and then assigning these groups access to secrets to access Data Lake at runtime. As mentioned previously – with the lack of support for AAD within Databricks currently, ACL activities were done on an individual basis which was not ideal. By using this feature, you can now pass the authentication onto Data Lake, and as we know one of the advantages of Data Lake is the tight integration into Active Directory so this simplifies things. Its worth noting that this feature is currently in public preview but having tested it thoroughly, am happy with the implementation/limitations. The feature also requires a premium workspace and only works with high concurrency clusters – both of which you’d expect to use in this scenario.

It looks like this is the way to go forward with securing Azure Databricks. Read the whole thing.

Azure Databricks Security

Tristan Robinson looks at what’s currently available in terms of security on Azure Databricks:

You’ll notice that as part of this I’m retrieving the secrets/GUIDS I need for the connection from somewhere else – namely the Databricks-backed secrets store. This avoids exposing those secrets in plain text in your notebook – again this would not be ideal. The secret access is then based on an ACL (access control list) so I can only connect to Data Lake if I’m granted access into the secrets. While it is also possible to connect Databricks up to the Azure Key Vault and use this for secrets store instead, when I tried to configure this I was denied based on permissions. After research I was unable to overcome the issue. This would be more ideal to use but unfortunately there is limited support currently and the fact the error message contained spelling mistakes suggests to me the functionality is not yet mature.

To be charitable, there appears to be room for implementation improvement.

Testing Kafka Streams Applications

Yeva Byzek continues her series on testing Kafka-based streaming applications:

When you create a stream processing application with Kafka’s Streams API, you create a Topologyeither using the StreamsBuilder DSL or the low-level Processor API. Normally, the topology runs with the KafkaStreams class, which connects to a Kafka cluster and begins processing when you call start(). For testing though, connecting to a running Kafka cluster and making sure to clean up state between tests adds a lot of complexity and time.

Instead, developers can unit test their Kafka Streams applications with utilities provided by kafka-streams-test-utils. Introduced in KIP-247, this artifact was specifically created to help developers test their code, and it can be added into your continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline.

Streaming applications need tested just like any other.

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