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Easy, Scalable, Fault-tolerant Stream Processing with Kafka and Spark’s Structured Streaming

« Kafka Summit New York City 2017

Last year, in Apache Spark 2.0, we introduced Structured Steaming, a new stream processing engine built on Spark SQL, which revolutionized how developers could write stream processing application. Structured Streaming enables users to express their computations the same way they would express a batch query on static data. Developers can express queries using powerful high-level APIs including DataFrames, Dataset and SQL. Then, the Spark SQL engine is capable of converting these batch-like transformations into an incremental execution plan that can process streaming data, while automatically handling late, out-of-order data, and ensuring end-to-end exactly-once fault-tolerance guarantees.

Since Spark 2.0 we’ve been hard at work building first class integration with Kafka. With this new connectivity, performing complex, low-latency analytics is now as easy as writing a standard SQL query. This functionality in addition to the existing connectivity of Spark SQL make it easy to analyze data using one unified framework. Users can now seamlessly extract insights from data, independent of whether it coming from messy / unstructured files, a structured / columnar historical data warehouse or arriving in real-time from Kafka.

We’ll walk through a concrete example where in less than 10 lines, we read Kafka, parse JSON payload data into separate columns, transform it, enrich it by joining with static data and write it out as a table ready for batch and ad-hoc queries on up-to-the-last-minute data. We’ll use techniques including event-time based aggregations, arbitrary stateful operations, and automatic state management using event-time watermarks.

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