Posts Tagged AWS Glue

Lakehouse Data Modeling using dbt, Amazon Redshift, Redshift Spectrum, and AWS Glue

Learn how dbt makes it easy to transform data and materialize models in a modern cloud data lakehouse built on AWS

Introduction

Data lakes have grabbed much of the analytics community’s attention in recent years, thanks to an overabundance of VC-backed analytics startups and marketing dollars. Nonetheless, data warehouses, specifically modern cloud data warehouses, continue to gain market share, led by SnowflakeAmazon RedshiftGoogle Cloud BigQuery, and Microsoft’s Azure Synapse Analytics.

Several factors have fostered the renewed interest and appeal of data warehouses, including the data lakehouse architecture. According to Databricks, “a lakehouse is a new, open architecture that combines the best elements of data lakes and data warehouses. Lakehouses are enabled by a new system design: implementing similar data structures and data management features to those in a data warehouse directly on top of low-cost cloud storage in open formats.” Similarly, Snowflake describes a lakehouse as “a data solution concept that combines elements of the data warehouse with those of the data lake. Data lakehouses implement data warehouses’ data structures and management features for data lakes, which are typically more cost-effective for data storage.

dbt

In the following post, we will explore the use of dbt (data build tool), developed by dbt Labs, to transform data in an AWS-based data lakehouse, built with Amazon Redshift, Redshift Spectrum, AWS Glue, and Amazon S3. According to dbt Labs, “dbt enables analytics engineers to transform data in their warehouses by simply writing select statements. dbt handles turning these select statements into tables and views.” Further, “dbt does the T in ELT (Extract, Load, Transform) processes — it doesn’t extract or load data, but it’s extremely good at transforming data that’s already loaded into your warehouse.

This post’s project, displayed in dbt Cloud

Amazon Redshift

According to AWS, “Amazon Redshift uses SQL to analyze structured and semi-structured data across data warehouses, operational databases, and data lakes using AWS-designed hardware and machine learning to deliver the best price-performance at any scale.” AWS claims Amazon Redshift is the most widely used cloud data warehouse.

Amazon Redshift Spectrum

According to AWS, “Redshift Spectrum allows you to efficiently query and retrieve structured and semi-structured data from files in Amazon S3 without having to load the data into Amazon Redshift tables.” Redshift Spectrum tables define the data structure for the files in Amazon S3. The external tables exist in an external data catalog, which can be AWS Glue, the data catalog that comes with Amazon Athena, or an Apache Hive metastore.

dbt can interact with Amazon Redshift Spectrum to create external tables, refresh external table partitions, and access raw data in an Amazon S3-based data lake from the data warehouse. We will use dbt along with the dbt package, dbt_external_tables, to create the external tables in an AWS Glue data catalog.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites to follow along with this post’s demonstration include:

  • Amazon S3 bucket to store raw data;
  • Amazon Redshift or Amazon Redshift Serverless cluster;
  • AWS IAM Role with permissions to Amazon Redshift, Amazon S3, and AWS Glue;
  • dbt Cloud account;
  • dbt CLI (dbt Core) and dbt Amazon Redshift adapter installed locally;
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Code (VS Code) with dbt extensions installed;

The post’s demonstration uses dbt Cloud, VS Code, and the dbt CLI interchangeably with the project’s GitHub repository as a source. Follow along with the demonstration using any or all of these three dbt options.

Example of this project in VS Code with dbt extensions installed

Cost Warning!

Be careful when creating a new, provisioned Amazon Redshift cluster for this demonstration. The suggested default Production cluster with two ra3.4xlarge on-demand compute nodes and AQUA (Redshift’s Advanced Query Accelerator) enabled is estimated at $4,694/month ($3.26/node/hour). For this demonstration, choose the minimum size provisioned Redshift cluster configuration of one dc2.large on-demand compute node, estimated to cost $180/month ($0.25/node/hour). Be sure to delete the cluster when the demonstration is complete.

Creating a new Amazon Redshift cluster

Amazon Redshift Serverless Option

AWS recently announced the general availability (GA) of Amazon Redshift Serverless on July 12, 2022. Amazon Redshift Serverless allows data analysts, developers, and data scientists to run and scale analytics without having to provision and manage data warehouse clusters. dbt is fully compatible with Amazon Redshift Serverless and is an alternative to provisioned Redshift for this demonstration. According to AWS, Amazon Redshift Serverless measures data warehouse capacity in Redshift Processing Units (RPUs). You pay for the workloads you run in RPU-hours on a per-second basis (with a 60-second minimum charge), including queries that access data in open file formats in Amazon S3.

Source Code

All the source code demonstrated in this post is open source and available on GitHub.

Sample Data

This demonstration uses the TICKIT sample database provided by AWS and designed for use with Amazon Redshift. This sample database application tracks sales activity for the fictional online TICKIT website, where users buy and sell tickets for sporting events, shows, and concerts. The database consists of seven tables in a star schema: five dimension tables and two fact tables. A clean copy of the raw TICKIT data, formatted as pipe-delimited text files, is included in this GitHub project. Use the following shell commands to copy the raw data to Amazon S3:

unzip tickit_data.zip
s3_bucket="open-data-lake-demo-us-east-1"
declare -a TableArray=("category" "date" "event" "listing" "sale" "user" "venue")
for table in "${TableArray[@]}"
do
aws s3 cp ./raw_tickit_data/$table.txt s3://$s3_bucket/$table/
done

Prepare Amazon Redshift for dbt

Create New Database

Create a new Redshift database to use for the demonstration, demo.

create database demo
with owner awsuser;

Create Database Schemas

Within the new Redshift database,demo, create the external schema, tickit_external, and the corresponding external AWS Glue Data Catalogtickit_dbt, using the CREATE EXTERNAL SCHEMA Redshift SQL command. Make sure to update the command to reflect your IAM Role’s ARN. Next, create the schema that will hold our dbt models, tickit_dbt. Lastly, as a security best practice, drop the default public schema.

create external schema tickit_external
from data catalog
database 'tickit_dbt'
iam_role 'arn:aws:iam::<your_account_id>:role/<your_cluster_permissions_role>'
create external database if not exists;
create schema tickit_dbt;
drop schema public;

From the AWS Glue console, we should observe a new tickit_dbt AWS Glue Data Catalog. The description shown below was manually added after the catalog was created.

Newly created AWS Glue Data Catalog

Create dbt Database User and Group

As a security best practice, create a separate database dbt user and dbt group. We are assigning a completely arbitrary connection limit of ten. Then, apply the grants to allow the dbt group access to the new database and schemas. Lastly, change the two schema’s owners to the dbt.

create user dbt with password '<your_password>'
nocreatedb nocreateuser syslog access restricted
connection limit 10;
create group dbt with user dbt;
external tables
grant usage on schema tickit_external to group dbt;
grant create on schema tickit_external to group dbt;
grant all on all tables in schema tickit_external to group dbt;
dbt models: tables and view
grant usage on schema tickit_dbt to group dbt;
grant create on schema tickit_dbt to group dbt;
grant all on all tables in schema tickit_dbt to group dbt;
reassign schema ownership to dbt
alter schema tickit_dbt owner to dbt;
alter schema tickit_external owner to dbt;

Alternately, we could use an IAM Role with a SAML 2.0-compliant IdP.

Initialize and Configure dbt for Redshift

Next, configure your dbt Cloud account and dbt locally with your Amazon Redshift connection information using the dbt init command. On a Mac, this configuration is stored in the /Users/<your_usernama>/.dbt/profiles.yml file. You will need your Redshift cluster host URL, port, database, username, and password. With your local install of dbt, we can use the dbt debug command to confirm the new configuration.

Confirming configuration using dbt debug command

Project Structure

The GitHub project structure follows many of the best practices outlined in dbt Labs’ Best Practice Guide. Data models in the models directory is organized into the recommended stagingintermediate, and marts subdirectories (aka layers).

Project structure for data models

From a data lineage perspective, in this project, the staging layer’s data models depend on the external tables (AWS Glue/Amazon Redshift Spectrum). The intermediate layer’s data models depend on the staging models. The marts layer’s data models depend on staging and intermediate models.

dbt Cloud’s Lineage Graph showing an example of data model relationships

Install dbt Packages

The GitHub project’s packages.yml contains a few commonly recommended packages. The only one required for this post is the dbt-labs/dbt_external_tables package. Make sure your project is referring to the latest version of the package.

packages:
package: dbt-labs/dbt_external_tables
version: 0.8.0
package: dbt-labs/codegen
version: 0.7.0
package: dbt-labs/dbt_utils
version: 0.8.6
package: dbt-labs/redshift
version: 0.6.1
view raw packages.yml hosted with ❤ by GitHub

Use the dbt deps command to install the packages locally.

Installing dbt packages

External Tables

The _tickit__sources.yml file in the models/staging/tickit/external_tables/ model’s subdirectory defines the schema and S3 location for each of the seven external TICKIT database tables: category, date, event, listing, sale, user, and venue. You will need to update this file to reflect the name of your Amazon S3 bucket, in seven places.

version: 2
sources:
name: tickit_external
description: Sales activity for the fictional TICKIT web site, where users buy and sell tickets online for sporting events, shows, and concerts.
database: demo
schema: tickit_external
loader: s3
tables:
name: category
description: dimension table – TICKIT categories
external:
location: "s3://<your_s3_bucket_name>/raw_tickit_data/category/"
row_format: >
serde 'org.apache.hadoop.hive.serde2.OpenCSVSerde'
with serdeproperties (
'separatorChar'='|'
)
table_properties: "('skip.header.line.count'='1')"
columns:
name: catid
data_type: int
description: primary key
tests:
unique
not_null
name: catgroup
data_type: varchar(20)
name: catname
data_type: varchar(20)
name: catdesc
data_type: varchar(50)

Execute the command, dbt run-operation stage_external_sources, to create the seven external tables in the AWS Glue Data Catalog. This command is part of the dbt_external_tables package we installed earlier. It iterates through all source nodes, creates the tables if missing, and refreshes metadata.

Creating external tables in AWS Glue Data Catalog

If we failed to run the previous SQL statements to set schema ownership to the dbt user, the following error will likely occur.

Typical error resulting from incorrect ownership of the external_table schema

Once the command completes, we should observe seven new tables in the AWS Glue Data Catalog.

Seven new tables in the AWS Glue Data Catalog

Examining one of the AWS Glue data catalog tables, we can observe how the configuration in the _tickit__sources.yml file was used to define the table’s properties and schema. Note the Location field indicates where the underlying data is located in our Amazon S3 bucket.

The ‘category’ table in the AWS Glue Data Catalog

Staging Layer

In their best practices guide, dbt describes the staging layer in the following manner: “you can think of the staging layer as condensing and refining this material into the individual atoms we’ll later build more intricate and useful structures with.” The staging data models are the base tables and views we will use to build more complex aggregations and analytics queries in Redshift. The schema.yml file, also in the models/staging/tickit/ model’s subdirectory, defines seven late-binding views, modeled by dbt, to be created in Amazon Redshift.

version: 2
models:
name: stg_tickit__categories
description: Late binding view of external dimension table – TICKIT category
name: stg_tickit__dates
description: Late binding view of external dimension table – TICKIT date
name: stg_tickit__events
description: Late binding view of external dimension table – TICKIT event
name: stg_tickit__listings
description: Late binding view of external fact table – TICKIT listing
name: stg_tickit__sales
description: Late binding view of external fact table – TICKIT sale
name: stg_tickit__users
description: Late binding view of external dimension table – TICKIT user
name: stg_tickit__venues
description: Late binding view of external dimension table – TICKIT venue
view raw schema.yml hosted with ❤ by GitHub

The staging model’s SQL statements also follow many of dbt’s best practices. Below, we see an example of the stg_tickit__sales model (stg_tickit__sales.sql). This model performs a SELECT from the external sale table in the external_table schema. The model performs column renaming and basic calculations.

{{ config(materialized='view', bind=False) }}
with source as (
select * from {{ source('tickit_external', 'sale') }}
),
renamed as (
select
saleid as sale_id,
listid as list_id,
sellerid as seller_id,
buyerid as buyer_id,
eventid as event_id,
dateid as date_id,
qtysold as qty_sold,
round (pricepaid / qtysold, 2) as ticket_price,
pricepaid as price_paid,
round((commission / pricepaid) * 100, 2) as commission_prcnt,
commission,
(pricepaid commission) as earnings,
saletime as sale_time
from
source
where
sale_id IS NOT NULL
order by
sale_id
)
select * from renamed

The the dbt run command, according to dbt, “executes compiled SQL model files against the current target database. dbt connects to the target database and runs the relevant SQL, required to materialize all data models using the specified materialization strategies.” Instead of using the dbt run command to create all the project’s tables and views at once, for now, we are limiting the command to just the models in the ./models/staging/tickit/ directory using the --select optional argument. Execute the dbt run --select staging command to materialize the seven corresponding staging tables in Amazon Redshift.

The Staging layer’s data models successfully materialized in Redshift

Once the command completes, we should observe seven new views in Amazon Redshift demo database’s tickit_dbt schema with the stg_ prefix.

Amazon Redshift Query Editor v2 Console

Selecting from any of the views should return data.

Amazon Redshift Query Editor v2 Console

Late Binding Views

This demonstration uses late binding views for staging and intermediate layer models. According to dbt, “using late-binding views in a production deployment of dbt can vastly improve the availability of data in the warehouse, especially for models that are materialized as late-binding views and are queried by end-users, since they won’t be dropped when upstream models are updated. Additionally, late binding views can be used with external tables via Redshift Spectrum.

Alternatively, we could define the seven staging models as tables instead of late binding views. Once created as tables, the dependent intermediate and marts views will not require a late-binding reference, as in this project.

Intermediate Layer

In their best practices guide, dbt describes the intermediate layer as “purpose-built transformation steps.” Further, “the best guiding principle is to think about verbs (e.g. pivotedaggregated_to_userjoinedfanned_out_by_quanityfunnel_created, etc.) in the intermediate layer.

The project’s intermediate layer consists of two models related to users. The sample TICKIT database lumps all users into a single table. However, for analytics purposes, different user personas might interest marketing teams, such as buyers, sellers, sellers who also buy, and non-buyers (users who have never purchased tickets). The two models in the project’s intermediate layer filter for buyers and for sellers, resulting in two separate views of user personas.

{{ config(materialized='view', bind=False) }}
with sales as (
select * from {{ ref('stg_tickit__sales') }}
),
users as (
select * from {{ ref('stg_tickit__users') }}
),
first_purchase as (
select min(date(sale_time)) as first_purchase_date, buyer_id
from sales
group by buyer_id
),
final as (
select distinct
u.user_id,
u.username,
cast((u.last_name||', '||u.first_name) as varchar(100)) as full_name,
f.first_purchase_date,
u.city,
u.state,
u.email,
u.phone,
u.like_broadway,
u.like_classical,
u.like_concerts,
u.like_jazz,
u.like_musicals,
u.like_opera,
u.like_rock,
u.like_sports,
u.like_theatre,
u.like_vegas
from
sales as s
join users as u on u.user_id = s.buyer_id
join first_purchase as f on f.buyer_id = s.buyer_id
order by
user_id
)
select * from final

To materialize the intermediate layer’s two data models into views, execute the command, dbt run --select intermediate.

The Intermediate layer’s data models successfully materialized in Redshift

Once the command completes, we should observe a total of nine views in Amazon Redshift demo database’s tickit_dbt schema — seven staging and two intermediate, identified with the int_ prefix.

Amazon Redshift Query Editor v2 Console

Marts Layer

In their best practices guide, dbt describes the marts layer as “business defined entities.” Further, “this is the layer where everything comes together and we start to arrange all of our atoms (staging models) and molecules (intermediate models) into full-fledged cells that have identity and purpose. We sometimes like to call this the entity layer or concept layer, to emphasize that all our marts are meant to represent a specific entity or concept at its unique grain.

The project’s marts layer consists of four data models across marketing and sales. The models are materialized as two dimension tables and two fact tables. Although it is common practice to describe and label these as traditional star schema dimension (dim_) or fact (fct_) tables, in reality, the fact tables in this demonstration are actually flat, de-normalized, wide tables. Wide tables generally have better analytics performance in a modern data warehouse, according to Fivetran and others.

{{ config(materialized='table', sort='sale_id', dist='sale_id') }}
with categories as (
select * from {{ ref('stg_tickit__categories') }}
),
dates as (
select * from {{ ref('stg_tickit__dates') }}
),
events as (
select * from {{ ref('stg_tickit__events') }}
),
listings as (
select * from {{ ref('stg_tickit__listings') }}
),
sales as (
select * from {{ ref('stg_tickit__sales') }}
),
sellers as (
select * from {{ ref('int_sellers_extracted_from_users') }}
),
buyers as (
select * from {{ ref('int_buyers_extracted_from_users') }}
),
event_categories as (
select
e.event_id,
e.event_name,
c.cat_group,
c.cat_name
from events as e
join categories as c on c.cat_id = e.cat_id
),
final as (
select
s.sale_id,
s.sale_time,
d.qtr,
ec.cat_group,
ec.cat_name,
ec.event_name,
b.username as buyer_username,
b.full_name as buyer_name,
b.state as buyer_state,
b.first_purchase_date as buyer_first_purchase_date,
se.username as seller_username,
se.full_name as seller_name,
se.state as seller_state,
se.first_sale_date as seller_first_sale_date,
s.ticket_price,
s.qty_sold,
s.price_paid,
s.commission_prcnt,
s.commission,
s.earnings
from
sales as s
join listings as l on l.list_id = s.list_id
join buyers as b on b.user_id = s.buyer_id
join sellers as se on se.user_id = s.seller_id
join event_categories as ec on ec.event_id = s.event_id
join dates as d on d.date_id = s.date_id
order by
sale_id
)
select * from final
view raw fct_sales.sql hosted with ❤ by GitHub

The marts layer’s models take various dependencies through joins on staging and intermediate models. The data model above, fct_sales, has dependencies on multiple staging and intermediate models.

Lineage graph (dependency graph) of a data model, displayed in dbt Cloud

To materialize the marts layer’s four data models into tables, execute the command, dbt run --select marts.

The Marts layer’s data models successfully materialized in Redshift as tables

Once the command completes, we should observe four tables and nine views in the Redshift demo database’s tickit_dbt schema. Note how the dbt model for fct_sales (shown above), with its Jinja templating and multiple CTEs have been compiled into the resulting table in Redshift, this is the real magic of dbt!

Amazon Redshift Query Editor v2 Console showing fct_sales table

At this point, all of the project’s models have been compiled and created in the Redshift demo database by dbt.

Analyses

The demonstration’s project also contains example analyses. dbt allows us to version control more analytical-oriented SQL files within our dbt project using the analyses functionality of dbt. These analyses do not fit the fairly opinionated dbt model definition. We can compile the analyses SQL file using the dbt compile command, then copy and paste the resulting SQL statements from the target/compiled/ subdirectory into our data warehouse’s query tool of choice.

Analysis shown in dbt Cloud interface
Compiled analysis SQL executed in Amazon Redshift

Project Documentation

Using the dbt docs generate command will automatically generate the project’s documentation website from the SQL and YAML files. Documentations can be generated and displayed from your dbt Cloud account or hosted locally.

Project’s documentation website

Testing

According to dbt, “Tests are assertions you make about your models and other resources in your dbt project (e.g. sources, seeds, and snapshots). When you run dbt test, dbt will tell you if each test in your project passes or fails.” The project contains over 50 tests, split between the _tickit__sources.yml file and individual tests in the test/ directory. Typical dbt tests check for non-null and unique values, values within an expected numeric range, and values from a known list of strings. Any SELECT statement written in SQL can be tested.

name: user
description: dimension table – TICKIT users
columns:
name: userid
data_type: int
description: primary key
tests:
unique
not_null
name: username
data_type: char(8)
tests:
unique
not_null
name: firstname
data_type: varchar(30)
tests:
not_null
Snippet of tests in the _tickit__sources.sql file
all prices paid for tickets should be a positive value of $1 or greater
there are no credits (negative values)
select price_paid
from {{ ref('stg_tickit__sales') }}
group by price_paid
having not (price_paid >= 1)

Execute the project’s tests using the dbt test command. We can execute individual tests using the --select optional argument, for example, dbt test --select assert_all_sale_amounts_are_positive. We can also use the --threads optional argument with most dbt commands, including dbt test, increasing parallelism and reducing execution time. The example below uses 10 threads, the arbitrary maximum configured for the Amazon Redshift dbt user.

Running dbt tests
Successful test run

Jobs

According to dbt, Jobs are a set of dbt commands that you want to run on a schedule. For example, dbt run and dbt test. Jobs can load packages, run tests, materialize models, check source freshness (dbt source freshness), and regenerate documentation. Below, we have created a daily job to test, refresh, and document our project as the data is updated in the data lake.

dbt Cloud’s Job Run Overview

Notifications

According to dbt, Setting up notifications in dbt Cloud will allow you to receive alerts via Email or a chosen Slack channel when a job run succeeds, fails, or is canceled.

dbt Cloud’s Notifications interface for configuring email and Slack

The Slack notifications include run status, timings, and a link to open the job in dbt Cloud. Below, we see a notification regarding our project’s daily job run.

Notification of successful job run in Slack from dbt Cloud

Exposures

Exposures are a recent addition to dbt. Exposures make it possible to define and describe a downstream use of our dbt project, such as in a dashboard, application, or data science pipeline. Below we see an example of an exposure describing a sales dashboard created in Amazon QuickSight.

version: 2
exposures:
name: tickit_sales_summary
type: dashboard
maturity: medium
url: https://us-east-1.quicksight.aws.amazon.com
description: >
TICKIT sales summary dashboard, authored in Amazon QuickSight
depends_on:
ref('fct_sales')
ref('fct_listings')
owner:
name: Gary A. Stafford
email: gary.a.stafford@gmail.com
view raw dashboard.yml hosted with ❤ by GitHub

The exposure YAML file shown above describes the Amazon QuickSight dashboard shown below.

Amazon QuickSight dashboard

Exposures work with dbt’s auto-documentation feature. dbt populates a dedicated page in the auto-generated documentation site with context relevant to data consumers.

Project’s documentation website, showing dashboard exposure
Project’s documentation website, showing dashboard exposure’s lineage graph

Conclusion

In this post, we covered some of the basic functionality of dbt. We learned how dbt enables analysts to work more like software engineers. We also learned how dbt makes it easy to codify data models in SQL, to version control and manage data models as code with git, and collaborate on data models with other data team members.

Topics not explored in this post but critical to most large-scale dbt-managed production environments include advanced Jinja templating and macrosmodel freshnessorchestrationjob schedulingContinuous Integration and GitOpsnotificationsenvironment variables, and incremental models. We will explore these additional dbt capabilities in future posts.


This blog represents my viewpoints and not of my employer, Amazon Web Services (AWS). All product names, logos, and brands are the property of their respective owners. All diagrams and illustrations are the property of the author unless otherwise noted.

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Data Preparation on AWS: Comparing Available ELT Options to Cleanse and Normalize Data

Comparing the features and performance of different AWS analytics services for Extract, Load, Transform (ELT)

Introduction

According to Wikipedia, “Extract, load, transform (ELT) is an alternative to extract, transform, load (ETL) used with data lake implementations. In contrast to ETL, in ELT models the data is not transformed on entry to the data lake but stored in its original raw format. This enables faster loading times. However, ELT requires sufficient processing power within the data processing engine to carry out the transformation on demand, to return the results in a timely manner.

As capital investments and customer demand continue to drive the growth of the cloud-based analytics market, the choice of tools seems endless, and that can be a problem. Customers face a constant barrage of commercial and open-source tools for their batch, streaming, and interactive exploratory data analytics needs. The major Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) have even grown to a point where they now offer multiple services to accomplish similar analytics tasks.

This post will examine the choice of analytics services available on AWS capable of performing ELT. Specifically, this post will compare the features and performance of AWS Glue Studio, Amazon Glue DataBrew, Amazon Athena, and Amazon EMR using multiple ELT use cases and service configurations.

Data pipeline architecture showing a choice of AWS ELT services

Analytics Use Case

We will address a simple yet common analytics challenge for this comparison — preparing a nightly data feed for analysis the next day. Each night a batch of approximately 1.2 GB of raw CSV-format healthcare data will be exported from a Patient Administration System (PAS) and uploaded to Amazon S3. The data must be cleansed, deduplicated, refined, normalized, and made available to the Data Science team the following morning. The team of Data Scientists will perform complex data analytics on the data and build machine learning models designed for early disease detection and prevention.

Sample Dataset

The dataset used for this comparison is generated by Synthea, an open-source patient population simulation. The high-quality, synthetic, realistic patient data and associated health records cover every aspect of healthcare. The dataset contains the patient-related healthcare history for allergies, care plans, conditions, devices, encounters, imaging studies, immunizations, medications, observations, organizations, patients, payers, procedures, providers, and supplies.

The Synthea dataset was first introduced in my March 2021 post examining the handling of sensitive PII data using Amazon Macie: Data Lakes: Discovery, Security, and Privacy of Sensitive Data.

The Synthea synthetic patient data is available in different record volumes and various data formats, including HL7 FHIR, C-CDA, and CSV. We will use CSV-format data files for this post. Since this post seeks to measure the performance of different AWS ELT-capable services, we will use a larger version of the Synthea dataset containing hundreds of thousands to millions of records.

AWS Glue Data Catalog

The dataset comprises nine uncompressed CSV files uploaded to Amazon S3 and cataloged to an AWS Glue Data Catalog, a persistent metadata store, using an AWS Glue Crawler.

Raw Synthea CSV data, in S3, cataloged in AWS Glue Data Catalog

Test Cases

We will use three data preparation test cases based on the Synthea dataset to examine the different AWS ELT-capable services.

Specifications for three different test cases

Test Case 1: Encounters for Symptom

An encounter is a health care contact between the patient and the provider responsible for diagnosing and treating the patient. In our first test case, we will process 1.26M encounters records for an ongoing study of patient symptoms by our Data Science team.

id date patient code description reasoncode reasondescription
714fd61a-f9fd-43ff-87b9-3cc45a3f1e53 2014-01-09 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe 185345009 Encounter for symptom 444814009 Viral sinusitis (disorder)
23e07532-8b96-4d05-b14e-d4c5a5288ed2 2014-08-18 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe 185349003 Outpatient Encounter
45044100-aaba-4209-8ad1-15383c76842d 2015-07-12 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe 185345009 Encounter for symptom 36971009 Sinusitis (disorder)
ffdddbfb-35e8-4a74-a801-89e97feed2f3 2014-08-12 36d131ee-dd5b-4acb-acbe-19961c32c099 185345009 Encounter for symptom 444814009 Viral sinusitis (disorder)
352d1693-591a-4615-9b1b-f145648f49cc 2016-05-25 36d131ee-dd5b-4acb-acbe-19961c32c099 185349003 Outpatient Encounter
4620bd2f-8010-46a9-82ab-8f25eb621c37 2016-10-07 36d131ee-dd5b-4acb-acbe-19961c32c099 185345009 Encounter for symptom 195662009 Acute viral pharyngitis (disorder)
815494d8-2570-4918-a8de-fd4000d8100f 2010-08-02 660bec03-9e58-47f2-98b9-2f1c564f3838 698314001 Consultation for treatment
67ec5c2d-f41e-4538-adbe-8c06c71ddc35 2010-11-22 660bec03-9e58-47f2-98b9-2f1c564f3838 170258001 Outpatient Encounter
dbe481ce-b961-4f43-ac0a-07fa8cfa8bdd 2012-11-21 660bec03-9e58-47f2-98b9-2f1c564f3838 50849002 Emergency room admission
b5f1ab7e-5e67-4070-bcf0-52451eb20551 2013-12-04 660bec03-9e58-47f2-98b9-2f1c564f3838 185345009 Encounter for symptom 10509002 Acute bronchitis (disorder)
view raw encounters.csv hosted with ❤ by GitHub
Sample of raw encounters data

Data preparation includes the following steps:

  1. Load 1.26M encounter records using the existing AWS Glue Data Catalog table.
  2. Remove any duplicate records.
  3. Select only the records where the description column contains “Encounter for symptom.”
  4. Remove any rows with an empty reasoncodes column.
  5. Extract a new year, month, and day column from the date column.
  6. Remove the date column.
  7. Write resulting dataset back to Amazon S3 as Snappy-compressed Apache Parquet files, partitioned by year, month, and day.
  8. Given the small resultset, bucket the data such that only one file is written per day partition to minimize the impact of too many small files on future query performance.
  9. Catalog resulting dataset to a new table in the existing AWS Glue Data Catalog, including partitions.

Test Case 2: Observations

Clinical observations ensure that treatment plans are up-to-date and correctly administered and allow healthcare staff to carry out timely and regular bedside assessments. We will process 5.38M encounters records for our Data Science team in our second test case.

date patient encounter code description value units
2011-07-02 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe 673daa98-67e9-4e80-be46-a0b547533653 8302-2 Body Height 175.76 cm
2011-07-02 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe 673daa98-67e9-4e80-be46-a0b547533653 29463-7 Body Weight 56.51 kg
2011-07-02 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe 673daa98-67e9-4e80-be46-a0b547533653 39156-5 Body Mass Index 18.29 kg/m2
2011-07-02 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe 673daa98-67e9-4e80-be46-a0b547533653 8480-6 Systolic Blood Pressure 119.0 mmHg
2011-07-02 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe 673daa98-67e9-4e80-be46-a0b547533653 8462-4 Diastolic Blood Pressure 77.0 mmHg
2012-06-17 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe be0aa510-645e-421b-ad21-8a1ab442ca48 8302-2 Body Height 177.25 cm
2012-06-17 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe be0aa510-645e-421b-ad21-8a1ab442ca48 29463-7 Body Weight 59.87 kg
2012-06-17 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe be0aa510-645e-421b-ad21-8a1ab442ca48 39156-5 Body Mass Index 19.05 kg/m2
2012-06-17 33f33990-ae8b-4be8-938f-e47ad473abfe be0aa510-645e-421b-ad21-8a1ab442ca48 8480-6 Systolic Blood Pressure 113.0 mmHg
2012-03-26 36d131ee-dd5b-4acb-acbe-19961c32c099 296a1fd4-56de-451c-a5fe-b50f9a18472d 8302-2 Body Height 174.17 cm
Sample of raw observations data

Data preparation includes the following steps:

  1. Load 5.38M observation records using the existing AWS Glue Data Catalog table.
  2. Remove any duplicate records.
  3. Extract a new year, month, and day column from the date column.
  4. Remove the date column.
  5. Write resulting dataset back to Amazon S3 as Snappy-compressed Apache Parquet files, partitioned by year, month, and day.
  6. Given the small resultset, bucket the data such that only one file is written per day partition to minimize the impact of too many small files on future query performance.
  7. Catalog resulting dataset to a new table in the existing AWS Glue Data Catalog, including partitions.

Test Case 3: Sinusitis Study

A medical condition is a broad term that includes all diseases, lesions, and disorders. In our second test case, we will join the conditions records with the patient records and filter for any condition containing the term ‘sinusitis’ in preparation for our Data Science team.

start stop patient encounter code description
2012-09-05 2012-10-16 bc33b032-8e41-4d16-bc7e-00b674b6b9f8 05a6ef43-d690-455e-ab2f-1ea19d902274 44465007 Sprain of ankle
2014-09-08 2014-09-28 bc33b032-8e41-4d16-bc7e-00b674b6b9f8 1cdcbe46-caaf-4b3f-b58c-9ca9ccb13013 283371005 Laceration of forearm
2014-11-28 2014-12-13 bc33b032-8e41-4d16-bc7e-00b674b6b9f8 b222e257-98da-4a1b-a46c-45d5ad01bbdc 195662009 Acute viral pharyngitis (disorder)
1980-01-09 01858c8d-f81c-4a95-ab4f-bd79fb62b284 ffbd4177-280a-4a08-a1af-9770a06b5146 40055000 Chronic sinusitis (disorder)
1989-06-25 01858c8d-f81c-4a95-ab4f-bd79fb62b284 ffbd4177-280a-4a08-a1af-9770a06b5146 201834006 Localized primary osteoarthritis of the hand
1996-01-07 01858c8d-f81c-4a95-ab4f-bd79fb62b284 ffbd4177-280a-4a08-a1af-9770a06b5146 196416002 Impacted molars
2016-02-07 01858c8d-f81c-4a95-ab4f-bd79fb62b284 748cda45-c267-46b2-b00d-3b405a44094e 15777000 Prediabetes
2016-04-27 2016-05-20 01858c8d-f81c-4a95-ab4f-bd79fb62b284 a64734f1-5b21-4a59-b2e8-ebfdb9058f8b 444814009 Viral sinusitis (disorder)
2014-02-06 2014-02-19 d32e9ad2-4ea1-4bb9-925d-c00fe85851ae c64d3637-8922-4531-bba5-f3051ece6354 43878008 Streptococcal sore throat (disorder)
1982-05-18 08858d24-52f2-41dd-9fe9-cbf1f77b28b2 3fff3d52-a769-475f-b01b-12622f4fee17 368581000119106 Neuropathy due to type 2 diabetes mellitus (disorder)
view raw conditions.csv hosted with ❤ by GitHub
Sample of raw conditions data

Data preparation includes the following steps:

  1. Load 483k condition records using the existing AWS Glue Data Catalog table.
  2. Inner join the condition records with the 132k patient records based on patient ID.
  3. Remove any duplicate records.
  4. Drop approximately 15 unneeded columns.
  5. Select only the records where the description column contains the term “sinusitis.”
  6. Remove any rows with empty ethnicity, race, gender, or marital columns.
  7. Create a new column, condition_age, based on a calculation of the age in days at which the patient’s condition was diagnosed.
  8. Write the resulting dataset back to Amazon S3 as Snappy-compressed Apache Parquet-format files. No partitions are necessary.
  9. Given the small resultset, bucket the data such that only one file is written to minimize the impact of too many small files on future query performance.
  10. Catalog resulting dataset to a new table in the existing AWS Glue Data Catalog.

AWS ELT Options

There are numerous options on AWS to handle the batch transformation use case described above; a non-exhaustive list includes:

  1. AWS Glue Studio (UI-driven with AWS Glue PySpark Extensions)
  2. Amazon Glue DataBrew
  3. Amazon Athena
  4. Amazon EMR with Apache Spark
  5. AWS Glue Studio (Apache Spark script)
  6. AWS Glue Jobs (Legacy jobs)
  7. Amazon EMR with Presto
  8. Amazon EMR with Trino
  9. Amazon EMR with Hive
  10. AWS Step Functions and AWS Lambda
  11. Amazon Redshift Spectrum
  12. Partner solutions on AWS, such as Databricks, Snowflake, Upsolver, StreamSets, Stitch, and Fivetran
  13. Self-managed custom solutions using a combination of OSS, such as dbt, Airbyte, Dagster, Meltano, Apache NiFi, Apache Drill, Apache Beam, Pandas, Apache Airflow, and Kubernetes

For this comparison, we will choose the first five options listed above to develop our ELT data preparation pipelines: AWS Glue Studio (UI-driven job creation with AWS Glue PySpark Extensions), Amazon Glue DataBrew, Amazon Athena, Amazon EMR with Apache Spark, and AWS Glue Studio (Apache Spark script).

Data pipeline architecture showing a choice of AWS ELT services

AWS Glue Studio

According to the documentation, “AWS Glue Studio is a new graphical interface that makes it easy to create, run, and monitor extract, transform, and load (ETL) jobs in AWS Glue. You can visually compose data transformation workflows and seamlessly run them on AWS Glue’s Apache Spark-based serverless ETL engine. You can inspect the schema and data results in each step of the job.

AWS Glue Studio’s visual job creation capability uses the AWS Glue PySpark Extensions, an extension of the PySpark Python dialect for scripting ETL jobs. The extensions provide easier integration with AWS Glue Data Catalog and other AWS-managed data services. As opposed to using the graphical interface for creating jobs with AWS Glue PySpark Extensions, you can also run your Spark scripts with AWS Glue Studio. In fact, we can use the exact same scripts run on Amazon EMR.

For the tests, we are using the G.2X worker type, Glue version 3.0 (Spark 3.1.1 and Python 3.7), and Python as the language choice for this comparison. We will test three worker configurations using both UI-driven job creation with AWS Glue PySpark Extensions and Apache Spark script options:

  • 10 workers with a maximum of 20 DPUs
  • 20 workers with a maximum of 40 DPUs
  • 40 workers with a maximum of 80 DPUs
AWS Glue Studio visual job creation UI for Test Case 3: Sinusitis Study

AWS Glue Studio Spark job details for Test Case 2: Observations

AWS Glue Studio job runs for Test Case 2: Observations

AWS Glue DataBrew

According to the documentation, “AWS Glue DataBrew is a visual data preparation tool that enables users to clean and normalize data without writing any code. Using DataBrew helps reduce the time it takes to prepare data for analytics and machine learning (ML) by up to 80 percent, compared to custom-developed data preparation. You can choose from over 250 ready-made transformations to automate data preparation tasks, such as filtering anomalies, converting data to standard formats, and correcting invalid values.

DataBrew allows you to set the maximum number of DataBrew nodes that can be allocated when a job runs. For this comparison, we will test three different node configurations:

  • 3 maximum nodes
  • 10 maximum nodes
  • 20 maximum nodes
AWS Glue DataBrew Project for Test Case 3: Sinusitis Study

AWS Glue DataBrew Recipe for Test Case 1: Encounters for Symptom

AWS Glue DataBrew recipe job runs for Test Case 1: Encounters for Symptom

Amazon Athena

According to the documentation, “Athena helps you analyze unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data stored in Amazon S3. Examples include CSV, JSON, or columnar data formats such as Apache Parquet and Apache ORC. You can use Athena to run ad-hoc queries using ANSI SQL, without the need to aggregate or load the data into Athena.

Although Athena is classified as an ad-hoc query engine, using a CREATE TABLE AS SELECT (CTAS) query, we can create a new table in the AWS Glue Data Catalog and write to Amazon S3 from the results of a SELECT statement from another query. That other query statement performs a transformation on the data using SQL.

Purpose: Process data for sinusitis study using Amazon Athena
Author: Gary A. Stafford (January 2022)
CREATE TABLE "sinusitis_athena" WITH (
format = 'Parquet',
write_compression = 'SNAPPY',
external_location = 's3://databrew-demo-111222333444-us-east-1/sinusitis_athena/',
bucketed_by = ARRAY['patient'],
bucket_count = 1
) AS
SELECT DISTINCT
patient,
code,
description,
date_diff(
'day',
date(substr(birthdate, 1, 10)),
date(substr(start, 1, 10))
) as condition_age,
marital,
race,
ethnicity,
gender
FROM conditions AS c,
patients AS p
WHERE c.patient = p.id
AND gender <> ''
AND ethnicity <> ''
AND race <> ''
AND marital <> ''
AND description LIKE '%sinusitis%'
ORDER BY patient, code;
CTAS query for Test Case 2: Observations

Purpose: Process data for sinusitis study using Amazon Athena
Author: Gary A. Stafford (January 2022)
CREATE TABLE "sinusitis_athena" WITH (
format = 'Parquet',
write_compression = 'SNAPPY',
external_location = 's3://databrew-demo-111222333444-us-east-1/sinusitis_athena/',
bucketed_by = ARRAY['patient'],
bucket_count = 1
) AS
SELECT DISTINCT
patient,
code,
description,
date_diff(
'day',
date(substr(birthdate, 1, 10)),
date(substr(start, 1, 10))
) as condition_age,
marital,
race,
ethnicity,
gender
FROM conditions AS c,
patients AS p
WHERE c.patient = p.id
AND gender <> ''
AND ethnicity <> ''
AND race <> ''
AND marital <> ''
AND description LIKE '%sinusitis%'
ORDER BY patient, code;
CTAS query for Test Case 3: Sinusitis Study

Amazon Athena is a fully managed AWS service and has no performance settings to adjust or monitor.

Amazon Athena CTAS statement for Test Case 1: Encounters for Symptom

Parquet data partitioned by year in Amazon S3 for Test Case 1: Encounters for Symptom, using Athena

CTAS and Partitions

A notable limitation of Amazon Athena for the batch use case is the 100 partition limit with CTAS queries. Athena [only] supports writing to 100 unique partition and bucket combinations with CTAS. Partitioned by year, month, and day, the observations test case requires 2,558 partitions, and the observations test case requires 10,433 partitions. There is a recommended workaround using an INSERT INTO statement. However, the workaround requires additional SQL logic, computation, and most important cost. It is not practical, in my opinion, compared to other methods when a higher number of partitions are needed. To avoid the partition limit with CTAS, we will only partition by year and bucket by month when using Athena. Take this limitation into account when comparing the final results.

Amazon EMR with Apache Spark

According to the documentation, “Amazon EMR is a cloud big data platform for running large-scale distributed data processing jobs, interactive SQL queries, and machine learning (ML) applications using open-source analytics frameworks such as Apache Spark, Apache Hive, and Presto. You can quickly and easily create managed Spark clusters from the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or the Amazon EMR API.

For this comparison, we are using two different Spark 3.1.2 EMR clusters:

  • (1) r5.xlarge Master node and (2) r5.2xlarge Core nodes
  • (1) r5.2xlarge Master node and (4) r5.2xlarge Core nodes

All Spark jobs are written in both Python (PySpark) and Scala. We are using the AWS Glue Data Catalog as the metastore for Spark SQL instead of Apache Hive.

4-node Amazon EMR cluster shown in Amazon EMR Management Console

Completed EMR Steps (Spark Jobs) on 4-node Amazon EMR cluster

# Purpose: Process data for sinusitis study using either Amazon EMR and AWS Glue with PySpark
# Author: Gary A. Stafford (January 2022)
from pyspark.sql import SparkSession
table_name = "sinusitis_emr_spark"
spark = SparkSession \
.builder \
.appName(table_name) \
.config("hive.metastore.client.factory.class",
"com.amazonaws.glue.catalog.metastore.AWSGlueDataCatalogHiveClientFactory") \
.enableHiveSupport() \
.getOrCreate()
spark.sql("USE synthea_patient_big_data;")
sql_query_data = """
SELECT DISTINCT
patient,
code,
description,
datediff(
date(substr(start, 1, 10)),
date(substr(birthdate, 1, 10))
) as condition_age,
marital,
race,
ethnicity,
gender
FROM conditions as c, patients as p
WHERE c.patient = p.id
AND gender <> ''
AND ethnicity <> ''
AND race <> ''
AND marital <> ''
AND description LIKE '%sinusitis%';
"""
df_data = spark.sql(sql_query_data)
df_data \
.coalesce(1) \
.write \
.bucketBy(1, "patient") \
.sortBy("patient", "code") \
.mode("overwrite") \
.format("parquet") \
.option("path", f"s3://databrew-demo-111222333444-us-east-1/{table_name}/") \
.saveAsTable(name=table_name)
# update glue table
spark.sql(f"ALTER TABLE {table_name} SET TBLPROPERTIES ('classification'='parquet');")
Amazon EMR PySpark script for Test Case 3: Sinusitis Study

# Purpose: Process encounters dataset using either Amazon EMR and AWS Glue with PySpark
# Author: Gary A. Stafford (January 2022)
from pyspark.sql import SparkSession
table_name = "encounter_emr_spark"
spark = SparkSession \
.builder \
.appName(table_name) \
.config("hive.metastore.client.factory.class",
"com.amazonaws.glue.catalog.metastore.AWSGlueDataCatalogHiveClientFactory") \
.config("hive.exec.dynamic.partition",
"true") \
.config("hive.exec.dynamic.partition.mode",
"nonstrict") \
.config("hive.exec.max.dynamic.partitions",
"10000") \
.config("hive.exec.max.dynamic.partitions.pernode",
"10000") \
.enableHiveSupport() \
.getOrCreate()
spark.sql("USE synthea_patient_big_data;")
sql_query_data = """
SELECT DISTINCT
id,
patient,
code,
description,
reasoncode,
reasondescription,
year(date) as year,
month(date) as month,
day(date) as day
FROM encounters
WHERE description='Encounter for symptom';
"""
df_data = spark.sql(sql_query_data)
df_data \
.coalesce(1) \
.write \
.partitionBy("year", "month", "day") \
.bucketBy(1, "patient") \
.sortBy("patient") \
.mode("overwrite") \
.format("parquet") \
.option("path", f"s3://databrew-demo-111222333444-us-east-1/{table_name}/") \
.saveAsTable(name=table_name)
# update glue table
spark.sql(f"ALTER TABLE {table_name} SET TBLPROPERTIES ('classification'='parquet');")
Amazon EMR PySpark script for Test Case 1: Encounters for Symptom

package main.spark.demo
// Purpose: Process observations dataset using Spark on Amazon EMR with Scala
// Author: Gary A. Stafford
// Date: 2022-03-06
import org.apache.spark.SparkContext
import org.apache.spark.sql.{DataFrame, SparkSession}
object Observations {
def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
val (spark: SparkSession, sc: SparkContext) = createSession
performELT(spark, sc)
}
private def createSession = {
val spark: SparkSession = SparkSession.builder
.appName("Observations ELT App")
.config("hive.metastore.client.factory.class",
"com.amazonaws.glue.catalog.metastore.AWSGlueDataCatalogHiveClientFactory")
.config("hive.exec.dynamic.partition",
"true")
.config("hive.exec.dynamic.partition.mode",
"nonstrict")
.config("hive.exec.max.dynamic.partitions",
"10000")
.config("hive.exec.max.dynamic.partitions.pernode",
"10000")
.enableHiveSupport()
.getOrCreate()
val sc: SparkContext = spark.sparkContext
sc.setLogLevel("INFO")
(spark, sc)
}
private def performELT(spark: SparkSession, sc: SparkContext) = {
val tableName: String = sc.getConf.get("spark.executorEnv.TABLE_NAME")
val dataLakeBucket: String = sc.getConf.get("spark.executorEnv.DATA_LAKE_BUCKET")
spark.sql("USE synthea_patient_big_data;")
val sql_query_data: String =
"""
SELECT DISTINCT
patient,
encounter,
code,
description,
value,
units,
year(date) as year,
month(date) as month,
day(date) as day
FROM observations
WHERE date <> 'date';
"""
val observationsDF: DataFrame = spark
.sql(sql_query_data)
observationsDF
.coalesce(1)
.write
.partitionBy("year", "month", "day")
.bucketBy(1, "patient")
.sortBy("patient")
.mode("overwrite")
.format("parquet")
.option("path", s"s3://${dataLakeBucket}/${tableName}/")
.saveAsTable(tableName = tableName)
spark.sql(s"ALTER TABLE ${tableName} SET TBLPROPERTIES ('classification'='parquet');")
}
}
Spark jobs written in Scala had nearly identical execution times, such as Test Case 2: Observations

Partitions in the AWS Glue Data Catalog table for Test Case 1: Encounters for Symptom

Results

Data pipelines were developed and tested for each of the three test cases using the five chosen AWS ELT services and configuration variations. Each pipeline was then run 3–5 times, for a total of approximately 150 runs. The resulting AWS Glue Data Catalog table and data in Amazon S3 were deleted between each pipeline run. Each new run created a new data catalog table and wrote new results to Amazon S3. The median execution times from these tests are shown below.

Number of raw and processed records for each test case

Overall results (see details below) — lower times are better

Although we can make some general observations about the execution times of the chosen AWS services, the results are not meant to be a definitive guide to performance. An accurate comparison would require a deeper understanding of how each of these managed services works under the hood, in order to both optimize and balance their compute profiles correctly.

Amazon Athena

The Resultset column contains the final number of records written to Amazon S3 by Athena. The results contain the data pipeline’s median execution time and any additional data points.

Results for Amazon Athena data pipelines

AWS Glue Studio (AWS Glue PySpark Extensions)

Tests were run with three different configurations for AWS Glue Studio using the graphical interface for creating jobs with AWS Glue PySpark Extensions. Times for each configuration were nearly identical.

Results for data pipelines using AWS Glue Studio with AWS Glue PySpark Extensions

AWS Glue Studio (Apache PySpark script)

As opposed to using the graphical interface for creating jobs with AWS Glue PySpark Extensions, you can also run your Apache Spark scripts with AWS Glue Studio. The tests were run with the same three configurations as above. The execution times compared to the Amazon EMR tests, below, are almost identical.

Results for data pipelines using PySpark scripts on AWS Glue Studio

Amazon EMR with Apache Spark

Tests were run with three different configurations for Amazon EMR with Apache Spark using PySpark. The first set of results is for the 2-node EMR cluster. The second set of results is for the 4-node cluster. The third set of results is for the same 4-node cluster in which the data was not bucketed into a single file within each partition. Compare the execution times and the number of objects against the previous set of results. Too many small files can negatively impact query performance.

Results for data pipelines using Amazon EMR with Apache Spark — times for PySpark scripts

It is commonly stated that “Scala is almost ten times faster than Python.” However, with Amazon EMR, jobs written in Python (PySpark) and Scala had similar execution times for all three test cases.

Results for data pipelines using Amazon EMR with Apache Spark — Python vs. Scala

Amazon Glue DataBrew

Tests were run with three different configurations Amazon Glue DataBrew, including 3, 10, and 20 maximum nodes. Times for each configuration were nearly identical.

Results for data pipelines using Amazon Glue DataBrew

Observations

  1. All tested AWS services can read and write to an AWS Glue Data Catalog and the underlying datastore, Amazon S3. In addition, they all work with the most common analytics data file formats.
  2. All tested AWS services have rich APIs providing access through the AWS CLI and SDKs, which support multiple programming languages.
  3. Overall, AWS Glue Studio, using the AWS Glue PySpark Extensions, appears to be the most capable ELT tool of the five services tested and with the best performance.
  4. Both AWS Glue DataBrew and AWS Glue Studio are no-code or low-code services, democratizing access to data for non-programmers. Conversely, Amazon Athena requires knowledge of ANSI SQL, and Amazon EMR with Apache Spark requires knowledge of Scala or Python. Be cognizant of the potential trade-offs from using no-code or low-code services on observability, configuration control, and automation.
  5. Both AWS Glue DataBrew and AWS Glue Studio can write a custom Parquet writer type optimized for Dynamic Frames, GlueParquet. One potential advantage, a pre-computed schema is not required before writing.
  6. There is a slight ‘cold-start’ with Glue Studio. Studio startup times ranged from 7 seconds to 2 minutes and 4 seconds in the tests. However, the lower execution time of AWS Glue Studio compared to Amazon EMR with Spark and AWS Glue DataBrew in the tests offsets any initial cold-start time, in my opinion.
  7. Changing the maximum number of units from 3 to 10 to 20 for AWS Glue DataBrew made negligible differences in job execution times. Given the nearly identical execution times, it is unclear exactly how many units are being used by the job. More importantly, how many DataBrew node hours we are being billed for. These are some of the trade-offs with a fully-managed service — visibility and fine-tuning configuration.
  8. Similarly, with AWS Glue Studio, using either 10 workers w/ max. 20 DPUs, 20 workers w/ max. 40 DPUs, or 40 workers w/ max. 80 DPUs resulted in nearly identical executions times.
  9. Amazon Athena had the fastest execution times but is limited by the 100 partition limit for large CTAS resultsets. Athena is not practical, in my opinion, compared to other ELT methods, when a higher number of partitions are needed.
  10. It is commonly stated that “Scala is almost ten times faster than Python.” However, with Amazon EMR, jobs written in Python (PySpark) and Scala had almost identical execution times for all three test cases.
  11. Using Amazon EMR with EC2 instances takes about 9 minutes to provision a new cluster for this comparison fully. Given nearly identical execution times to AWS Glue Studio with Apache Spark scripts, Glue has the clear advantage of nearly instantaneous startup times.
  12. AWS recently announced Amazon EMR Serverless. Although this service is still in Preview, this new version of EMR could potentially reduce or eliminate the lengthy startup time for ephemeral clusters requirements.
  13. Although not discussed, scheduling the data pipelines to run each night was a requirement for our use case. AWS Glue Studio jobs and AWS Glue DataBrew jobs are schedulable from those services. For Amazon EMR and Amazon Athena, we could use Amazon Managed Workflows for Apache Airflow (MWAA), AWS Data Pipeline, or AWS Step Functions combined with Amazon CloudWatch Events Rules to schedule the data pipelines.

Conclusion

Customers have many options for ELT — the cleansing, deduplication, refinement, and normalization of raw data. We examined chosen services on AWS, each capable of handling the analytics use case presented. The best choice of tools depends on your specific ELT use case and performance requirements.


This blog represents my own viewpoints and not of my employer, Amazon Web Services (AWS). All product names, logos, and brands are the property of their respective owners.

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Video Demonstration: Building a Data Lake with Apache Airflow

Build a simple Data Lake on AWS using a combination of services, including Amazon Managed Workflows for Apache Airflow (Amazon MWAA), AWS Glue, AWS Glue Studio, Amazon Athena, and Amazon S3

Introduction

In the following video demonstration, we will build a simple data lake on AWS using a combination of services, including Amazon Managed Workflows for Apache Airflow (Amazon MWAA), AWS Glue Data Catalog, AWS Glue Crawlers, AWS Glue Jobs, AWS Glue Studio, Amazon Athena, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), and Amazon S3.

Using a series of Airflow DAGs (Directed Acyclic Graphs), we will catalog and move data from three separate data sources into our Amazon S3-based data lake. Once in the data lake, we will perform ETL (or more accurately ELT) on the raw data — cleansing, augmenting, and preparing it for data analytics. Finally, we will perform aggregations on the refined data and write those final datasets back to our data lake. The data lake will be organized around the data lake pattern of bronze (aka raw), silver (aka refined), and gold (aka aggregated) data, popularized by Databricks.

Architecture and workflow demonstrated in the video

Demonstration

For best results, view at 1080p HD on YouTube

Source Code

The source code for this demonstration, including the Airflow DAGsSQL files, and data files, is open-sourced and located on GitHub.

DAGs

The DAGs shown in the video demonstration have been renamed for easier project management within the Airflow UI. The DAGs included in the GitHub project are as follows:


This blog represents my own viewpoints and not of my employer, Amazon Web Services (AWS). All product names, logos, and brands are the property of their respective owners.

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Video Demonstration: Building a Data Lake on AWS

Build a simple Data Lake on AWS using a combination of services, including AWS Glue, AWS Glue Studio, Amazon Athena, and Amazon S3

Introduction

In the following video demonstration, we will build a simple data lake on AWS using a combination of services, including AWS Glue Data Catalog, AWS Glue Crawlers, AWS Glue Jobs, AWS Glue Studio, Amazon Athena, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), and Amazon S3.

We will catalog and move data from three separate data sources into our Amazon S3-based data lake. Once in the data lake, we will perform ETL (or more accurately ELT) on the raw data — cleansing, augmenting, and preparing it for data analytics. Finally, we will perform aggregations on the refined data and write those final datasets back to our data lake. The data lake will be organized around the data lake pattern of bronze (aka raw), silver (aka refined), and gold (aka aggregated) data, popularized by Databricks.

Architecture and workflow demonstrated in the video

Demonstration

For best results, view at 1080p HD on YouTube

Source Code

The source code for this demonstration, including the SQL statements, is open-sourced and located on GitHub.


This blog represents my own viewpoints and not of my employer, Amazon Web Services (AWS). All product names, logos, and brands are the property of their respective owners.

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Video Demonstration: Ahana Cloud for Presto on AWS using Apache Hive and AWS Glue

Using Ahana Cloud for Presto to perform analytics on AWS using both Apache Hive and AWS Glue as metastores

Introduction

The following series of five videos are an extended version of the demonstration featured in the October 2021 webinar, Build an Open Data Lake on AWS with Presto. An on-demand copy of the live webinar is available on Ahana.io, featuring Dipti Borkar (Ahana Co-Founder and CPO) and I.

In the demonstration, we will build a data lake on AWS using a combination of Ahana Cloud for Presto, Apache Hive, Apache Superset, Amazon S3, AWS Glue, and Amazon Athena. We then analyze the data in Apache Superset using Ahana Cloud for Presto.

Build an Open Data Lake on AWS with Presto

Demonstration

The demonstration is divided into five YouTube videos (playlist):

Ahana Cloud for Presto Demo — Part 1/5: Public GitHub Resources

Ahana Cloud for Presto Demo — Part 2/5: MoMa Datasource

Ahana Cloud for Presto Demo — Part 3/5: Ahana SaaS

Ahana Cloud for Presto Demo — Part 4/5: AWS Glue & Amazon

Ahana Cloud for Presto Demo — Part 5/5: PrestoDB & Apache Hive

Source Code

All source code for this post and the previous posts in this series are open-sourced and located on GitHub. In the webinar and the videos, the Apache Hive and AWS Glue data catalog tables contain an _athena or _presto suffix. For clarity, in the source code, I have changed those to indicate the metastore they are associated with, _hive or _glue, since either set of tables can be queried Presto. Additionally, in the webinar and the videos, the raw data files were uploaded to Amazon S3 in uncompressed CSV format; this is unnecessary. The CTAS SQL statements both expect GZIP-compressed CSV files. To save time and cost, upload the compressed files, as they are, to Amazon S3.

The following files are used in the demonstration:


This blog represents my own viewpoints and not of my employer, Amazon Web Services (AWS). All product names, logos, and brands are the property of their respective owners.

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Getting Started with Data Analysis on AWS using AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and QuickSight: Part 2

Introduction

In part one, we learned how to ingest, transform, and enrich raw, semi-structured data, in multiple formats, using Amazon S3, AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and AWS Lambda. We built an S3-based data lake and learned how AWS leverages open-source technologies, including Presto, Apache Hive, and Apache Parquet. In part two of this post, we will use the transformed and enriched data sources, stored in the data lake, to create compelling visualizations using Amazon QuickSight.

athena-glue-architecture-v2High-level AWS architecture diagram of the demonstration.

Background

If you recall the demonstration from part one of the post, we had adopted the persona of a large, US-based electric energy provider. The energy provider had developed and sold its next-generation Smart Electrical Monitoring Hub (Smart Hub) to residential customers. Customers can analyze their electrical usage with a fine level of granularity, per device and over time. The goal of the Smart Hub is to enable the customers, using data, to reduce their electrical costs. The provider benefits from a reduction in load on the existing electrical grid and a better distribution of daily electrical load as customers shift usage to off-peak times to save money.

Data Visualization and BI

The data analysis process in the demonstration was divided into four logical stages: 1) Raw Data Ingestion, 2) Data Transformation, 3) Data Enrichment, and 4) Data Visualization and Business Intelligence (BI).

athena-glue-0.pngFull data analysis workflow diagram (click to enlarge…)

In the final, Data Visualization and Business Intelligence (BI) stage, the enriched data is presented and analyzed. There are many enterprise-grade services available for data visualization and business intelligence, which integrate with Amazon Athena. Amazon services include Amazon QuickSight, Amazon EMR, and Amazon SageMaker. Third-party solutions from AWS Partners, many available on the AWS Marketplace, include Tableau, Looker, Sisense, and Domo.

In this demonstration, we will focus on Amazon QuickSight. Amazon QuickSight is a fully managed business intelligence (BI) service. QuickSight lets you create and publish interactive dashboards that include ML Insights. Dashboards can be accessed from any device, and embedded into your applications, portals, and websites. QuickSight serverlessly scales automatically from tens of users to tens of thousands without any infrastructure management.

Athena-Glue-4

Using QuickSight

QuickSight APIs

Amazon recently added a full set of aws quicksight APIs for interacting with QuickSight. For example, to preview the three QuickSight data sets created for this part of the demo, with the AWS CLI, we would use the list-data-sets comand.


aws quicksight list-data-sets –aws-account-id 123456789012


{
"Status": 200,
"DataSetSummaries": [
{
"Arn": "arn:aws:quicksight:us-east-1:123456789012:dataset/9eb88a69-20de-d8be-aefd-2c7ac4e23748",
"DataSetId": "9eb88a69-20de-d8be-aefd-2c7ac4e23748",
"Name": "etl_output_parquet",
"CreatedTime": 1578028774.897,
"LastUpdatedTime": 1578955245.02,
"ImportMode": "SPICE"
},
{
"Arn": "arn:aws:quicksight:us-east-1:123456789012:dataset/78e81193-189c-6dd0-864fb-a33244c9654",
"DataSetId": "78e81193-189c-6dd0-864fb-a33244c9654",
"Name": "electricity_rates_parquet",
"CreatedTime": 1578029224.996,
"LastUpdatedTime": 1578945179.472,
"ImportMode": "SPICE"
},
{
"Arn": "arn:aws:quicksight:us-east-1:123456789012:dataset/a474214d-c838-b384-bcca-ea1fcd2dd094",
"DataSetId": "a474214d-c838-b384-bcca-ea1fcd2dd094",
"Name": "smart_hub_locations_parquet",
"CreatedTime": 1578029124.565,
"LastUpdatedTime": 1578888788.135,
"ImportMode": "SPICE"
}
],
"RequestId": "2524e80c-7c67-7fbd-c3f1-b700c521badc"
}

To examine details of a single data set, with the AWS CLI, we would use the describe-data-set command.


aws quicksight describe-data-set \
–aws-account-id 123456789012 \
–data-set-id 9eb88a69-20de-d8be-aefd-2c7ac4e23748

QuickSight Console

However, for this final part of the demonstration, we will be working from the Amazon QuickSight Console, as opposed to the AWS CLI, AWS CDK, or CloudFormation templates.

Signing Up for QuickSight

To use Amazon QuickSight, you must sign up for QuickSight.

screen_shot_2020-01-02_at_9_07_00_pm

There are two Editions of Amazon QuickSight, Standard and Enterprise. For this demonstration, the Standard Edition will suffice.

screen_shot_2020-01-02_at_9_07_40_pm

QuickSight Data Sets

Amazon QuickSight uses Data Sets as the basis for all data visualizations. According to AWS, QuickSight data sets can be created from a wide variety of data sources, including Amazon RDS, Amazon Aurora, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Athena, and Amazon S3. You can also upload Excel spreadsheets or flat files (CSV, TSV, CLF, ELF, and JSON), connect to on-premises databases like SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL and import data from SaaS applications like Salesforce. Below, we see a list of the latest data sources available in the QuickSight New Data Set Console.

screen_shot_2020-01-12_at_8_18_05_pm_v2

Demonstration Data Sets

For the demonstration, I have created three QuickSight data sets, all based on Amazon Athena. You have two options when using Amazon Athena as a data source. The first option is to select a table from an AWS Glue Data Catalog database, such as the database we created in part one of the post, ‘smart_hub_data_catalog.’ The second option is to create a custom SQL query, based on one or more tables in an AWS Glue Data Catalog database.

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_9_05_49_pm.png

Of the three data sets created for part two of this demonstration, two data sets use tables directly from the Data Catalog, including ‘etl_output_parquet’ and ‘electricity_rates_parquet.’ The third data set uses a custom SQL query, based on the single Data Catalog table, ‘smart_hub_locations_parquet.’ All three tables used to create the data sets represent the enriched, highly efficient Parquet-format data sources in the S3-based Data Lake.

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_9_16_54_pm.png

Data Set Features

There are a large number of features available when creating and configuring data sets. We cannot possibly cover all of them in this post. Let’s look at three features: geospatial field types, calculated fields, and custom SQL.

Geospatial Data Types

QuickSight can intelligently detect common types of geographic fields in a data source and assign QuickSight geographic data type, including Country, County, City, Postcode, and State. QuickSight can also detect geospatial data, including Latitude and Longitude. We will take advantage of this QuickSight feature for our three data set’s data sources, including the State, Postcode, Latitude, and Longitude field types.

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_9_53_19_pm.png

Calculated Fields

A commonly-used QuickSight data set feature is the ‘Calculated field.’ For the ‘etl_output_parquet’ data set, I have created a new field (column), cost_dollar.

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_4_35_20_pm

The cost field is the electrical cost of the device, over a five minute time interval, in cents (¢). The calculated cost_dollar field is the quotient of the cost field divided by 100. This value represents the electrical cost of the device, over a five minute time interval, in dollars ($). This is a straightforward example. However, a calculated field can be very complex, built from multiple arithmetic, comparison, and conditional functions, string calculations, and data set fields.

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_9_35_14_pm

Data set calculated fields can also be created and edited from the QuickSight Analysis Console (discussed later).

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_4_45_47_pm.png

Custom SQL

The third QuickSight data set is based on an Amazon Athena custom SQL query.


SELECT lon, lat, postcode, hash, tz, state
FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.smart_hub_locations_parquet;

Although you can write queries in the QuickSight Data Prep Console, I prefer to write custom Athena queries using the Athena Query Editor. Using the Editor, you can write, run, debug, and optimize queries to ensure they function correctly, first.

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_12_50_14_pm

The Athena query can then be pasted into the Custom SQL window. Clicking ‘Finish’ in the window is the equivalent of ‘Run query’ in the Athena Query Editor Console. The query runs and returns data.

screen_shot_2020-01-12_at_8_12_44_pm

Similar to the Athena Query Editor, queries executed in the QuickSight Data Prep Console will show up in the Athena History tab, with a /* QuickSight */ comment prefix.

screen_shot_2020-01-14_at_9_10_16_pm

SPICE

You will notice the three QuickSight data sets are labeled, ‘SPICE.’ According to AWS, the acronym, SPICE, stands for ‘Super-fast, Parallel, In-memory, Calculation Engine.’ QuickSight’s in-memory calculation engine, SPICE, achieves blazing fast performance at scale. SPICE automatically replicates data for high availability allowing thousands of users to simultaneously perform fast, interactive analysis while shielding your underlying data infrastructure, saving you time and resources. With the Standard Edition of QuickSight, as the first Author, you get 1 GB of SPICE in-memory data for free.

QuickSight Analysis

The QuickSight Analysis Console is where Analyses are created. A specific QuickSight Analysis will contain a collection of data sets and data visualizations (visuals). Each visual is associated with a single data set.

Types of QuickSight Analysis visuals include: horizontal and vertical, single and stacked bar charts, line graphs, combination charts, area line charts, scatter plots, heat maps, pie and donut charts, tree maps, pivot tables, gauges, key performance indicators (KPI), geospatial diagrams, and word clouds. Individual visual titles, legends, axis, and other visual aspects can be easily modified. Visuals can contain drill-downs.

A data set’s fields can be modified from within the Analysis Console. Field types and formats, such as date, numeric, currency fields, can be customized for display. The Analysis can include a Title and subtitle. There are some customizable themes available to change the overall look of the Analysis.

screen_shot_2020-01-15_at_12_45_37_am.png

Analysis Filters

Data displayed in the visuals can be further shaped using a combination of Filters, Conditional formatting, and Parameters. Below, we see an example of a typical filter based on a range of dates and times. The data set contains two full days’ worth of data. Here, we are filtering the data to a 14-hour peak electrical usage period, between 8 AM and 10 PM on the same day, 12/21/2019.

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_10_46_57_pm.png

Drill-Down, Drill-Up, Focus, and Exclude

According to AWS, all visual types except pivot tables offer the ability to create a hierarchy of fields for a visual element. The hierarchy lets you drill down or up to see data at different levels of the hierarchy. Focus allows you to concentrate on a single element within a hierarchy of fields. Exclude allows you to remove an element from a hierarchy of fields. Below, we see an example of all four of these features, available to apply to the ‘Central Air Conditioner’. Since the AC unit is the largest consumer of electricity on average per day, applying these filters to understand its impact on the overall electrical usage may be useful to an analysis. We can also drill down to minutes from hours or up to days from hours.

screen_shot_2020-01-15_at_12_56_54_am.png

Example QuickSight Analysis

A QuickSight Analysis is shared by the Analysis Author as a QuickSight Dashboard. Below, we see an example of a QuickSight Dashboard, built and shared for this demonstration. The ‘Residential Electrical Usage Analysis’ is built from the three data sets created earlier. From those data sets, we have constructed several visuals, including a geospatial diagram, donut chart, heat map, KPI, combination chart, stacked vertical bar chart, and line graph. Each visual’s title, layout, and field display has all customized. The data displayed in the visuals have been filtered differently, including by date and time, by customer id (loc_id), and by state. Conditional formatting is used to enhance the visual appearance of visuals, such as the ‘Total Electrical Cost’ KPI.

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_7_57_47_pm_v4.png

Conclusion

In part one, we learned how to ingest, transform, and enrich raw, semi-structured data, in multiple formats, using Amazon S3, AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and AWS Lambda. We built an S3-based data lake and learned how AWS leverages open-source technologies, including Presto, Apache Hive, and Apache Parquet. In part two of this post, we used the transformed and enriched datasets, stored in the data lake, to create compelling visualizations using Amazon QuickSight.

All opinions expressed in this post are my own and not necessarily the views of my current or past employers or their clients.

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Getting Started with Data Analysis on AWS using AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and QuickSight: Part 1

Introduction

According to Wikipedia, data analysis is “a process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modeling data with the goal of discovering useful information, informing conclusion, and supporting decision-making.” In this two-part post, we will explore how to get started with data analysis on AWS, using the serverless capabilities of Amazon Athena, AWS Glue, Amazon QuickSight, Amazon S3, and AWS Lambda. We will learn how to use these complementary services to transform, enrich, analyze, and visualize semi-structured data.

Data Analysis—discovering useful information, informing conclusion, and supporting decision-making. –Wikipedia

In part one, we will begin with raw, semi-structured data in multiple formats. We will discover how to ingest, transform, and enrich that data using Amazon S3, AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and AWS Lambda. We will build an S3-based data lake, and learn how AWS leverages open-source technologies, such as Presto, Apache Hive, and Apache Parquet. In part two, we will learn how to further analyze and visualize the data using Amazon QuickSight. Here’s a quick preview of what we will build in part one of the post.

Demonstration

In this demonstration, we will adopt the persona of a large, US-based electric energy provider. The energy provider has developed its next-generation Smart Electrical Monitoring Hub (Smart Hub). They have sold the Smart Hub to a large number of residential customers throughout the United States. The hypothetical Smart Hub wirelessly collects detailed electrical usage data from individual, smart electrical receptacles and electrical circuit meters, spread throughout the residence. Electrical usage data is encrypted and securely transmitted from the customer’s Smart Hub to the electric provider, who is running their business on AWS.

Customers are able to analyze their electrical usage with fine granularity, per device, and over time. The goal of the Smart Hub is to enable the customers, using data, to reduce their electrical costs. The provider benefits from a reduction in load on the existing electrical grid and a better distribution of daily electrical load as customers shift usage to off-peak times to save money.

screen_shot_2020-01-13_at_7_57_47_pm_v4.pngPreview of post’s data in Amazon QuickSight.

The original concept for the Smart Hub was developed as part of a multi-day training and hackathon, I recently attended with an AWSome group of AWS Solutions Architects in San Francisco. As a team, we developed the concept of the Smart Hub integrated with a real-time, serverless, streaming data architecture, leveraging AWS IoT Core, Amazon Kinesis, AWS Lambda, and Amazon DynamoDB.

SA_Team_PhotoFrom left: Bruno Giorgini, Mahalingam (‘Mahali’) Sivaprakasam, Gary Stafford, Amit Kumar Agrawal, and Manish Agarwal.

This post will focus on data analysis, as opposed to the real-time streaming aspect of data capture or how the data is persisted on AWS.

athena-glue-architecture-v2High-level AWS architecture diagram of the demonstration.

Featured Technologies

The following AWS services and open-source technologies are featured prominently in this post.

Athena-Glue-v2.png

Amazon S3-based Data Lake

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 5.09.05 PMAn Amazon S3-based Data Lake uses Amazon S3 as its primary storage platform. Amazon S3 provides an optimal foundation for a data lake because of its virtually unlimited scalability, from gigabytes to petabytes of content. Amazon S3 provides ‘11 nines’ (99.999999999%) durability. It has scalable performance, ease-of-use features, and native encryption and access control capabilities.

AWS Glue

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 5.11.37 PMAWS Glue is a fully managed extract, transform, and load (ETL) service to prepare and load data for analytics. AWS Glue discovers your data and stores the associated metadata (e.g., table definition and schema) in the AWS Glue Data Catalog. Once cataloged, your data is immediately searchable, queryable, and available for ETL.

AWS Glue Data Catalog

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 5.13.01 PM.pngThe AWS Glue Data Catalog is an Apache Hive Metastore compatible, central repository to store structural and operational metadata for data assets. For a given data set, store table definition, physical location, add business-relevant attributes, as well as track how the data has changed over time.

AWS Glue Crawler

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 5.14.57 PMAn AWS Glue Crawler connects to a data store, progresses through a prioritized list of classifiers to extract the schema of your data and other statistics, and then populates the Glue Data Catalog with this metadata. Crawlers can run periodically to detect the availability of new data as well as changes to existing data, including table definition changes. Crawlers automatically add new tables, new partitions to an existing table, and new versions of table definitions. You can even customize Glue Crawlers to classify your own file types.

AWS Glue ETL Job

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 5.11.37 PMAn AWS Glue ETL Job is the business logic that performs extract, transform, and load (ETL) work in AWS Glue. When you start a job, AWS Glue runs a script that extracts data from sources, transforms the data, and loads it into targets. AWS Glue generates a PySpark or Scala script, which runs on Apache Spark.

Amazon Athena

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 5.17.49 PMAmazon Athena is an interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data in Amazon S3 using standard SQL. Athena supports and works with a variety of standard data formats, including CSV, JSON, Apache ORC, Apache Avro, and Apache Parquet. Athena is integrated, out-of-the-box, with AWS Glue Data Catalog. Athena is serverless, so there is no infrastructure to manage, and you pay only for the queries that you run.

The underlying technology behind Amazon Athena is Presto, the open-source distributed SQL query engine for big data, created by Facebook. According to the AWS, the Athena query engine is based on Presto 0.172 (released April 9, 2017). In addition to Presto, Athena uses Apache Hive to define tables.

Amazon QuickSight

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 5.18.40 PMAmazon QuickSight is a fully managed business intelligence (BI) service. QuickSight lets you create and publish interactive dashboards that can then be accessed from any device, and embedded into your applications, portals, and websites.

AWS Lambda

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 5.25.57 PMAWS Lambda automatically runs code without requiring the provisioning or management servers. AWS Lambda automatically scales applications by running code in response to triggers. Lambda code runs in parallel. With AWS Lambda, you are charged for every 100ms your code executes and the number of times your code is triggered. You pay only for the compute time you consume.

Smart Hub Data

Everything in this post revolves around data. For the post’s demonstration, we will start with four categories of raw, synthetic data. Those data categories include Smart Hub electrical usage data, Smart Hub sensor mapping data, Smart Hub residential locations data, and electrical rate data. To demonstrate the capabilities of AWS Glue to handle multiple data formats, the four categories of raw data consist of three distinct file formats: XML, JSON, and CSV. I have attempted to incorporate as many ‘real-world’ complexities into the data without losing focus on the main subject of the post. The sample datasets are intentionally small to keep your AWS costs to a minimum for the demonstration.

To further reduce costs, we will use a variety of data partitioning schemes. According to AWS, by partitioning your data, you can restrict the amount of data scanned by each query, thus improving performance and reducing cost. We have very little data for the demonstration, in which case partitioning may negatively impact query performance. However, in a ‘real-world’ scenario, there would be millions of potential residential customers generating terabytes of data. In that case, data partitioning would be essential for both cost and performance.

Smart Hub Electrical Usage Data

The Smart Hub’s time-series electrical usage data is collected from the customer’s Smart Hub. In the demonstration’s sample electrical usage data, each row represents a completely arbitrary five-minute time interval. There are a total of ten electrical sensors whose electrical usage in kilowatt-hours (kW) is recorded and transmitted. Each Smart Hub records and transmits electrical usage for 10 device sensors, 288 times per day (24 hr / 5 min intervals), for a total of 2,880 data points per day, per Smart Hub. There are two days worth of usage data for the demonstration, for a total of 5,760 data points. The data is stored in JSON Lines format. The usage data will be partitioned in the Amazon S3-based data lake by date (e.g., ‘dt=2019-12-21’).


{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576915200,"data":{"s_01":0,"s_02":0.00502,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04167}}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576915500,"data":{"s_01":0,"s_02":0.00552,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04147}}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576915800,"data":{"s_01":0.29267,"s_02":0.00642,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04207}}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576916100,"data":{"s_01":0.29207,"s_02":0.00592,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04137}}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576916400,"data":{"s_01":0.29217,"s_02":0.00622,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04157}}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576916700,"data":{"s_01":0,"s_02":0.00562,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04197}}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576917000,"data":{"s_01":0,"s_02":0.00512,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04257}}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576917300,"data":{"s_01":0,"s_02":0.00522,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04177}}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576917600,"data":{"s_01":0,"s_02":0.00502,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04267}}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","ts":1576917900,"data":{"s_01":0,"s_02":0.00612,"s_03":0,"s_04":0,"s_05":0,"s_06":0,"s_07":0,"s_08":0,"s_09":0,"s_10":0.04237}}

view raw

smart_data.json

hosted with ❤ by GitHub

Note the electrical usage data contains nested data. The electrical usage for each of the ten sensors is contained in a JSON array, within each time series entry. The array contains ten numeric values of type, double.


{
"loc_id": "b6a8d42425fde548",
"ts": 1576916400,
"data": {
"s_01": 0.29217,
"s_02": 0.00622,
"s_03": 0,
"s_04": 0,
"s_05": 0,
"s_06": 0,
"s_07": 0,
"s_08": 0,
"s_09": 0,
"s_10": 0.04157
}
}

Real data is often complex and deeply nested. Later in the post, we will see that AWS Glue can map many common data types, including nested data objects, as illustrated below.

screen_shot_2020-01-05_at_7_46_19_am

Smart Hub Sensor Mappings

The Smart Hub sensor mappings data maps a sensor column in the usage data (e.g., ‘s_01’ to the corresponding actual device (e.g., ‘Central Air Conditioner’). The data contains the device location, wattage, and the last time the record was modified. The data is also stored in JSON Lines format. The sensor mappings data will be partitioned in the Amazon S3-based data lake by the state of the residence (e.g., ‘state=or’ for Oregon).


{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_01","description":"Central Air Conditioner","location":"N/A","watts":3500,"last_modified":1559347200}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_02","description":"Ceiling Fan","location":"Master Bedroom","watts":65,"last_modified":1559347200}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_03","description":"Clothes Dryer","location":"Basement","watts":5000,"last_modified":1559347200}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_04","description":"Clothes Washer","location":"Basement","watts":1800,"last_modified":1559347200}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_05","description":"Dishwasher","location":"Kitchen","watts":900,"last_modified":1559347200}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_06","description":"Flat Screen TV","location":"Living Room","watts":120,"last_modified":1559347200}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_07","description":"Microwave Oven","location":"Kitchen","watts":1000,"last_modified":1559347200}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_08","description":"Coffee Maker","location":"Kitchen","watts":900,"last_modified":1559347200}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_09","description":"Hair Dryer","location":"Master Bathroom","watts":2000,"last_modified":1559347200}
{"loc_id":"b6a8d42425fde548","id":"s_10","description":"Refrigerator","location":"Kitchen","watts":500,"last_modified":1559347200}

Smart Hub Locations

The Smart Hub locations data contains the geospatial coordinates, home address, and timezone for each residential Smart Hub. The data is stored in CSV format. The data for the four cities included in this demonstration originated from OpenAddresses, ‘the free and open global address collection.’ There are approximately 4k location records. The location data will be partitioned in the Amazon S3-based data lake by the state of the residence where the Smart Hub is installed (e.g., ‘state=or’ for Oregon).



lon lat number street unit city district region postcode id hash tz
-122.8077278 45.4715614 6635 SW JUNIPER TER 97008 b6a8d42425fde548 America/Los_Angeles
-122.8356634 45.4385864 11225 SW PINTAIL LOOP 97007 08ae3df798df8b90 America/Los_Angeles
-122.8252379 45.4481709 9930 SW WRANGLER PL 97008 1c7e1f7df752663e America/Los_Angeles
-122.8354211 45.4535977 9174 SW PLATINUM PL 97007 b364854408ee431e America/Los_Angeles
-122.8315771 45.4949449 15040 SW MILLIKAN WAY # 233 97003 0e97796ba31ba3b4 America/Los_Angeles
-122.7950339 45.4470259 10006 SW CONESTOGA DR # 113 97008 2b5307be5bfeb026 America/Los_Angeles
-122.8072836 45.4908594 12600 SW CRESCENT ST # 126 97005 4d74167f00f63f50 America/Los_Angeles
-122.8211801 45.4689303 7100 SW 140TH PL 97008 c5568631f0b9de9c America/Los_Angeles
-122.831154 45.4317057 15050 SW MALLARD DR # 101 97007 dbd1321080ce9682 America/Los_Angeles
-122.8162856 45.4442878 10460 SW 136TH PL 97008 008faab8a9a3e519 America/Los_Angeles

Electrical Rates

Lastly, the electrical rate data contains the cost of electricity. In this demonstration, the assumption is that the rate varies by state, by month, and by the hour of the day. The data is stored in XML, a data export format still common to older, legacy systems. The electrical rate data will not be partitioned in the Amazon S3-based data lake.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<root>
<row>
<state>or</state>
<year>2019</year>
<month>12</month>
<from>19:00:00</from>
<to>19:59:59</to>
<type>peak</type>
<rate>12.623</rate>
</row>
<row>
<state>or</state>
<year>2019</year>
<month>12</month>
<from>20:00:00</from>
<to>20:59:59</to>
<type>partial-peak</type>
<rate>7.232</rate>
</row>
<row>
<state>or</state>
<year>2019</year>
<month>12</month>
<from>21:00:00</from>
<to>21:59:59</to>
<type>partial-peak</type>
<rate>7.232</rate>
</row>
<row>
<state>or</state>
<year>2019</year>
<month>12</month>
<from>22:00:00</from>
<to>22:59:59</to>
<type>off-peak</type>
<rate>4.209</rate>
</row>
</root>

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rates.xml

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Data Analysis Process

Due to the number of steps involved in the data analysis process in the demonstration, I have divided the process into four logical stages: 1) Raw Data Ingestion, 2) Data Transformation, 3) Data Enrichment, and 4) Data Visualization and Business Intelligence (BI).

athena-glue-0.pngFull data analysis workflow diagram (click to enlarge…)

Raw Data Ingestion

In the Raw Data Ingestion stage, semi-structured CSV-, XML-, and JSON-format data files are copied to a secure Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket. Within the bucket, data files are organized into folders based on their physical data structure (schema). Due to the potentially unlimited number of data files, files are further organized (partitioned) into subfolders. Organizational strategies for data files are based on date, time, geographic location, customer id, or other common data characteristics.

This collection of semi-structured data files, S3 buckets, and partitions form what is referred to as a Data Lake. According to AWS, a data lake is a centralized repository that allows you to store all your structured and unstructured data at any scale.

A series of AWS Glue Crawlers process the raw CSV-, XML-, and JSON-format files, extracting metadata, and creating table definitions in the AWS Glue Data Catalog. According to AWS, an AWS Glue Data Catalog contains metadata tables, where each table specifies a single data store.

Athena-Glue-1

Data Transformation

In the Data Transformation stage, the raw data in the previous stage is transformed. Data transformation may include both modifying the data and changing the data format. Data modifications include data cleansing, re-casting data types, changing date formats, field-level computations, and field concatenation.

The data is then converted from CSV-, XML-, and JSON-format to Apache Parquet format and written back to the Amazon S3-based data lake. Apache Parquet is a compressed, efficient columnar storage format. Amazon Athena, like many Cloud-based services, charges you by the amount of data scanned per query. Hence, using data partitioning, bucketing, compression, and columnar storage formats, like Parquet, will reduce query cost.

Lastly, the transformed Parquet-format data is cataloged to new tables, alongside the raw CSV, XML, and JSON data, in the Glue Data Catalog.

Athena-Glue-2

Data Enrichment

According to ScienceDirect, data enrichment or augmentation is the process of enhancing existing information by supplementing missing or incomplete data. Typically, data enrichment is achieved by using external data sources, but that is not always the case.

Data Enrichment—the process of enhancing existing information by supplementing missing or incomplete data. –ScienceDirect

In the Data Enrichment stage, the Parquet-format Smart Hub usage data is augmented with related data from the three other data sources: sensor mappings, locations, and electrical rates. The customer’s Smart Hub usage data is enriched with the customer’s device types, the customer’s timezone, and customer’s electricity cost per monitored period based on the customer’s geographic location and time of day.

Athena-Glue-3a

Once the data is enriched, it is converted to Parquet and optimized for query performance, stored in the data lake, and cataloged. At this point, the original CSV-, XML-, and JSON-format raw data files, the transformed Parquet-format data files, and the Parquet-format enriched data files are all stored in the Amazon S3-based data lake and cataloged in the Glue Data Catalog.

Athena-Glue-3b

Data Visualization

In the final Data Visualization and Business Intelligence (BI) stage, the enriched data is presented and analyzed. There are many enterprise-grade services available for visualization and Business Intelligence, which integrate with Athena. Amazon services include Amazon QuickSight, Amazon EMR, and Amazon SageMaker. Third-party solutions from AWS Partners, available on the AWS Marketplace, include Tableau, Looker, Sisense, and Domo. In this demonstration, we will focus on Amazon QuickSight.

Athena-Glue-4

Getting Started

Requirements

To follow along with the demonstration, you will need an AWS Account and a current version of the AWS CLI. To get the most from the demonstration, you should also have Python 3 and jq installed in your work environment.

Source Code

All source code for this post can be found on GitHub. Use the following command to clone a copy of the project.


git clone \
–branch master –single-branch –depth 1 –no-tags \
https://github.com/garystafford/athena-glue-quicksight-demo.git

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git_clone.sh

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Source code samples in this post are displayed as GitHub Gists, which will not display correctly on some mobile and social media browsers.

TL;DR?

Just want the jump in without reading the instructions? All the AWS CLI commands, found within the post, are consolidated in the GitHub project’s README file.

CloudFormation Stack

To start, create the ‘smart-hub-athena-glue-stack’ CloudFormation stack using the smart-hub-athena-glue.yml template. The template will create (3) Amazon S3 buckets, (1) AWS Glue Data Catalog Database, (5) Data Catalog Database Tables, (6) AWS Glue Crawlers, (1) AWS Glue ETL Job, and (1) IAM Service Role for AWS Glue.

Make sure to change the DATA_BUCKET, SCRIPT_BUCKET, and LOG_BUCKET variables, first, to your own unique S3 bucket names. I always suggest using the standard AWS 3-part convention of 1) descriptive name, 2) AWS Account ID or Account Alias, and 3) AWS Region, to name your bucket (e.g. ‘smart-hub-data-123456789012-us-east-1’).


# *** CHANGE ME ***
BUCKET_SUFFIX="123456789012-us-east-1"
DATA_BUCKET="smart-hub-data-${BUCKET_SUFFIX}"
SCRIPT_BUCKET="smart-hub-scripts-${BUCKET_SUFFIX}"
LOG_BUCKET="smart-hub-logs-${BUCKET_SUFFIX}"
aws cloudformation create-stack \
–stack-name smart-hub-athena-glue-stack \
–template-body file://cloudformation/smart-hub-athena-glue.yml \
–parameters ParameterKey=DataBucketName,ParameterValue=${DATA_BUCKET} \
ParameterKey=ScriptBucketName,ParameterValue=${SCRIPT_BUCKET} \
ParameterKey=LogBucketName,ParameterValue=${LOG_BUCKET} \
–capabilities CAPABILITY_NAMED_IAM

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step1-2.sh

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Raw Data Files

Next, copy the raw CSV-, XML-, and JSON-format data files from the local project to the DATA_BUCKET S3 bucket (steps 1a-1b in workflow diagram). These files represent the beginnings of the S3-based data lake. Each category of data uses a different strategy for organizing and separating the files. Note the use of the Apache Hive-style partitions (e.g., /smart_hub_data_json/dt=2019-12-21). As discussed earlier, the assumption is that the actual, large volume of data in the data lake would necessitate using partitioning to improve query performance.


# location data
aws s3 cp data/locations/denver_co_1576656000.csv \
s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/smart_hub_locations_csv/state=co/
aws s3 cp data/locations/palo_alto_ca_1576742400.csv \
s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/smart_hub_locations_csv/state=ca/
aws s3 cp data/locations/portland_metro_or_1576742400.csv \
s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/smart_hub_locations_csv/state=or/
aws s3 cp data/locations/stamford_ct_1576569600.csv \
s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/smart_hub_locations_csv/state=ct/
# sensor mapping data
aws s3 cp data/mappings/ \
s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/sensor_mappings_json/state=or/ \
–recursive
# electrical usage data
aws s3 cp data/usage/2019-12-21/ \
s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/smart_hub_data_json/dt=2019-12-21/ \
–recursive
aws s3 cp data/usage/2019-12-22/ \
s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/smart_hub_data_json/dt=2019-12-22/ \
–recursive
# electricity rates data
aws s3 cp data/rates/ \
s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/electricity_rates_xml/ \
–recursive

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step3.sh

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Confirm the contents of the DATA_BUCKET S3 bucket with the following command.


aws s3 ls s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/ \
–recursive –human-readable –summarize

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step3.sh

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There should be a total of (14) raw data files in the DATA_BUCKET S3 bucket.


2020-01-04 14:39:51 20.0 KiB electricity_rates_xml/2019_12_1575270000.xml
2020-01-04 14:39:46 1.3 KiB sensor_mappings_json/state=or/08ae3df798df8b90_1550908800.json
2020-01-04 14:39:46 1.3 KiB sensor_mappings_json/state=or/1c7e1f7df752663e_1559347200.json
2020-01-04 14:39:46 1.3 KiB sensor_mappings_json/state=or/b6a8d42425fde548_1568314800.json
2020-01-04 14:39:47 44.9 KiB smart_hub_data_json/dt=2019-12-21/08ae3df798df8b90_1576915200.json
2020-01-04 14:39:47 44.9 KiB smart_hub_data_json/dt=2019-12-21/1c7e1f7df752663e_1576915200.json
2020-01-04 14:39:47 44.9 KiB smart_hub_data_json/dt=2019-12-21/b6a8d42425fde548_1576915200.json
2020-01-04 14:39:49 44.6 KiB smart_hub_data_json/dt=2019-12-22/08ae3df798df8b90_15770016000.json
2020-01-04 14:39:49 44.6 KiB smart_hub_data_json/dt=2019-12-22/1c7e1f7df752663e_1577001600.json
2020-01-04 14:39:49 44.6 KiB smart_hub_data_json/dt=2019-12-22/b6a8d42425fde548_15770016001.json
2020-01-04 14:39:39 89.7 KiB smart_hub_locations_csv/state=ca/palo_alto_ca_1576742400.csv
2020-01-04 14:39:37 84.2 KiB smart_hub_locations_csv/state=co/denver_co_1576656000.csv
2020-01-04 14:39:44 78.6 KiB smart_hub_locations_csv/state=ct/stamford_ct_1576569600.csv
2020-01-04 14:39:42 91.6 KiB smart_hub_locations_csv/state=or/portland_metro_or_1576742400.csv
Total Objects: 14
Total Size: 636.7 KiB

Lambda Functions

Next, package the (5) Python3.8-based AWS Lambda functions for deployment.


pushd lambdas/athena-json-to-parquet-data || exit
zip -r package.zip index.py
popd || exit
pushd lambdas/athena-csv-to-parquet-locations || exit
zip -r package.zip index.py
popd || exit
pushd lambdas/athena-json-to-parquet-mappings || exit
zip -r package.zip index.py
popd || exit
pushd lambdas/athena-complex-etl-query || exit
zip -r package.zip index.py
popd || exit
pushd lambdas/athena-parquet-to-parquet-elt-data || exit
zip -r package.zip index.py
popd || exit

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step4.sh

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Copy the five Lambda packages to the SCRIPT_BUCKET S3 bucket. The ZIP archive Lambda packages are accessed by the second CloudFormation stack, smart-hub-serverless. This CloudFormation stack, which creates the Lambda functions, will fail to deploy if the packages are not found in the SCRIPT_BUCKET S3 bucket.

I have chosen to place the packages in a different S3 bucket then the raw data files. In a real production environment, these two types of files would be separated, minimally, into separate buckets for security. Remember, only data should go into the data lake.


aws s3 cp lambdas/athena-json-to-parquet-data/package.zip \
s3://${SCRIPT_BUCKET}/lambdas/athena_json_to_parquet_data/
aws s3 cp lambdas/athena-csv-to-parquet-locations/package.zip \
s3://${SCRIPT_BUCKET}/lambdas/athena_csv_to_parquet_locations/
aws s3 cp lambdas/athena-json-to-parquet-mappings/package.zip \
s3://${SCRIPT_BUCKET}/lambdas/athena_json_to_parquet_mappings/
aws s3 cp lambdas/athena-complex-etl-query/package.zip \
s3://${SCRIPT_BUCKET}/lambdas/athena_complex_etl_query/
aws s3 cp lambdas/athena-parquet-to-parquet-elt-data/package.zip \
s3://${SCRIPT_BUCKET}/lambdas/athena_parquet_to_parquet_elt_data/

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step5.sh

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Create the second ‘smart-hub-lambda-stack’ CloudFormation stack using the smart-hub-lambda.yml CloudFormation template. The template will create (5) AWS Lambda functions and (1) Lambda execution IAM Service Role.


aws cloudformation create-stack \
–stack-name smart-hub-lambda-stack \
–template-body file://cloudformation/smart-hub-lambda.yml \
–capabilities CAPABILITY_NAMED_IAM

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step6.sh

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At this point, we have deployed all of the AWS resources required for the demonstration using CloudFormation. We have also copied all of the raw CSV-, XML-, and JSON-format data files in the Amazon S3-based data lake.

AWS Glue Crawlers

If you recall, we created five tables in the Glue Data Catalog database as part of the CloudFormation stack. One table for each of the four raw data types and one table to hold temporary ELT data later in the demonstration. To confirm the five tables were created in the Glue Data Catalog database, use the Glue Data Catalog Console, or run the following AWS CLI / jq command.


aws glue get-tables \
–database-name smart_hub_data_catalog \
| jq -r '.TableList[].Name'

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step8.sh

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The five data catalog tables should be as follows.


electricity_rates_xml
etl_tmp_output_parquet
sensor_mappings_json
smart_hub_data_json
smart_hub_locations_csv

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step8.txt

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We also created six Glue Crawlers as part of the CloudFormation template. Four of these Crawlers are responsible for cataloging the raw CSV-, XML-, and JSON-format data from S3 into the corresponding, existing Glue Data Catalog database tables. The Crawlers will detect any new partitions and add those to the tables as well. Each Crawler corresponds to one of the four raw data types. Crawlers can be scheduled to run periodically, cataloging new data and updating data partitions. Crawlers will also create a Data Catalog database tables. We use Crawlers to create new tables, later in the post.

Run the four Glue Crawlers using the AWS CLI (step 1c in workflow diagram).


aws glue start-crawler –name smart-hub-locations-csv
aws glue start-crawler –name smart-hub-sensor-mappings-json
aws glue start-crawler –name smart-hub-data-json
aws glue start-crawler –name smart-hub-rates-xml

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step7.sh

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You can check the Glue Crawler Console to ensure the four Crawlers finished successfully.

screen_shot_2020-01-03_at_3_05_29_pm

Alternately, use another AWS CLI / jq command.


aws glue get-crawler-metrics \
| jq -r '.CrawlerMetricsList[] | "\(.CrawlerName): \(.StillEstimating), \(.TimeLeftSeconds)"' \
| grep "^smart-hub-[A-Za-z-]*"

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step8.sh

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When complete, all Crawlers should all be in a state of ‘Still Estimating = false’ and ‘TimeLeftSeconds = 0’. In my experience, the Crawlers can take up one minute to start, after the estimation stage, and one minute to stop when complete.


smart-hub-data-json: true, 0
smart-hub-etl-tmp-output-parquet: false, 0
smart-hub-locations-csv: false, 15
smart-hub-rates-parquet: false, 0
smart-hub-rates-xml: false, 15
smart-hub-sensor-mappings-json: false, 15

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step8.txt

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Successfully running the four Crawlers completes the Raw Data Ingestion stage of the demonstration.

Converting to Parquet with CTAS

With the Raw Data Ingestion stage completed, we will now transform the raw Smart Hub usage data, sensor mapping data, and locations data into Parquet-format using three AWS Lambda functions. Each Lambda subsequently calls Athena, which executes a CREATE TABLE AS SELECT SQL statement (aka CTAS) . Each Lambda executes a similar command, varying only by data source, data destination, and partitioning scheme. Below, is an example of the command used for the Smart Hub electrical usage data, taken from the Python-based Lambda, athena-json-to-parquet-data/index.py.


query = \
"CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS " + data_catalog + "." + output_directory + " " \
"WITH ( " \
" format = 'PARQUET', " \
" parquet_compression = 'SNAPPY', " \
" partitioned_by = ARRAY['dt'], " \
" external_location = 's3://" + data_bucket + "/" + output_directory + "' " \
") AS " \
"SELECT * " \
"FROM " + data_catalog + "." + input_directory + ";"

This compact, yet powerful CTAS statement converts a copy of the raw JSON- and CSV-format data files into Parquet-format, and partitions and stores the resulting files back into the S3-based data lake. Additionally, the CTAS SQL statement catalogs the Parquet-format data files into the Glue Data Catalog database, into new tables. Unfortunately, this method will not work for the XML-format raw data files, which we will tackle next.

The five deployed Lambda functions should be visible from the Lambda Console’s Functions tab.

screen_shot_2020-01-04_at_5_57_31_pm

Invoke the three Lambda functions using the AWS CLI. (part of step 2a in workflow diagram).


aws lambda invoke \
–function-name athena-json-to-parquet-data \
response.json
aws lambda invoke \
–function-name athena-csv-to-parquet-locations \
response.json
aws lambda invoke \
–function-name athena-json-to-parquet-mappings \
response.json

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step9.sh

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Here is an example of the same CTAS command, shown above for the Smart Hub electrical usage data, as it is was executed successfully by Athena.


CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS smart_hub_data_catalog.smart_hub_data_parquet
WITH (format = 'PARQUET',
parquet_compression = 'SNAPPY',
partitioned_by = ARRAY['dt'],
external_location = 's3://smart-hub-data-demo-account-1-us-east-1/smart_hub_data_parquet')
AS
SELECT *
FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.smart_hub_data_json

We can view any Athena SQL query from the Athena Console’s History tab. Clicking on a query (in pink) will copy it to the Query Editor tab and execute it. Below, we see the three SQL statements executed by the Lamba functions.

screen_shot_2020-01-04_at_7_08_32_pm

AWS Glue ETL Job for XML

If you recall, the electrical rate data is in XML format. The Lambda functions we just executed, converted the CSV and JSON data to Parquet using Athena. Currently, unlike CSV, JSON, ORC, Parquet, and Avro, Athena does not support the older XML data format. For the XML data files, we will use an AWS Glue ETL Job to convert the XML data to Parquet. The Glue ETL Job is written in Python and uses Apache Spark, along with several AWS Glue PySpark extensions. For this job, I used an existing script created in the Glue ETL Jobs Console as a base, then modified the script to meet my needs.


import sys
from awsglue.transforms import *
from awsglue.utils import getResolvedOptions
from pyspark.context import SparkContext
from awsglue.context import GlueContext
from awsglue.job import Job
args = getResolvedOptions(sys.argv, [
'JOB_NAME',
's3_output_path',
'source_glue_database',
'source_glue_table'
])
s3_output_path = args['s3_output_path']
source_glue_database = args['source_glue_database']
source_glue_table = args['source_glue_table']
sc = SparkContext()
glueContext = GlueContext(sc)
spark = glueContext.spark_session
job = Job(glueContext)
job.init(args['JOB_NAME'], args)
datasource0 = glueContext. \
create_dynamic_frame. \
from_catalog(database=source_glue_database,
table_name=source_glue_table,
transformation_ctx="datasource0")
applymapping1 = ApplyMapping.apply(
frame=datasource0,
mappings=[("from", "string", "from", "string"),
("to", "string", "to", "string"),
("type", "string", "type", "string"),
("rate", "double", "rate", "double"),
("year", "int", "year", "int"),
("month", "int", "month", "int"),
("state", "string", "state", "string")],
transformation_ctx="applymapping1")
resolvechoice2 = ResolveChoice.apply(
frame=applymapping1,
choice="make_struct",
transformation_ctx="resolvechoice2")
dropnullfields3 = DropNullFields.apply(
frame=resolvechoice2,
transformation_ctx="dropnullfields3")
datasink4 = glueContext.write_dynamic_frame.from_options(
frame=dropnullfields3,
connection_type="s3",
connection_options={
"path": s3_output_path,
"partitionKeys": ["state"]
},
format="parquet",
transformation_ctx="datasink4")
job.commit()

The three Python command-line arguments the script expects (lines 10–12, above) are defined in the CloudFormation template, smart-hub-athena-glue.yml. Below, we see them on lines 10–12 of the CloudFormation snippet. They are injected automatically when the job is run and can be overridden from the command line when starting the job.


GlueJobRatesToParquet:
Type: AWS::Glue::Job
Properties:
GlueVersion: 1.0
Command:
Name: glueetl
PythonVersion: 3
ScriptLocation: !Sub "s3://${ScriptBucketName}/glue_scripts/rates_xml_to_parquet.py"
DefaultArguments: {
"–s3_output_path": !Sub "s3://${DataBucketName}/electricity_rates_parquet",
"–source_glue_database": !Ref GlueDatabase,
"–source_glue_table": "electricity_rates_xml",
"–job-bookmark-option": "job-bookmark-enable",
"–enable-spark-ui": "true",
"–spark-event-logs-path": !Sub "s3://${LogBucketName}/glue-etl-jobs/"
}
Description: "Convert electrical rates XML data to Parquet"
ExecutionProperty:
MaxConcurrentRuns: 2
MaxRetries: 0
Name: rates-xml-to-parquet
Role: !GetAtt "CrawlerRole.Arn"
DependsOn:
CrawlerRole
GlueDatabase
DataBucket
ScriptBucket
LogBucket

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elt-job-cfn.yml

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First, copy the Glue ETL Job Python script to the SCRIPT_BUCKET S3 bucket.


aws s3 cp glue-scripts/rates_xml_to_parquet.py \
s3://${SCRIPT_BUCKET}/glue_scripts/

view raw

step10.sh

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Next, start the Glue ETL Job (part of step 2a in workflow diagram). Although the conversion is a relatively simple set of tasks, the creation of the Apache Spark environment, to execute the tasks, will take several minutes. Whereas the Glue Crawlers took about 2 minutes on average, the Glue ETL Job could take 10–15 minutes in my experience. The actual execution time only takes about 1–2 minutes of the 10–15 minutes to complete. In my opinion, waiting up to 15 minutes is too long to be viable for ad-hoc jobs against smaller datasets; Glue ETL Jobs are definitely targeted for big data.


aws glue start-job-run –job-name rates-xml-to-parquet

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step11.sh

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To check on the status of the job, use the Glue ETL Jobs Console, or use the AWS CLI.


# get status of most recent job (the one that is running)
aws glue get-job-run \
–job-name rates-xml-to-parquet \
–run-id "$(aws glue get-job-runs \
–job-name rates-xml-to-parquet \
| jq -r '.JobRuns[0].Id')"

view raw

step11.sh

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When complete, you should see results similar to the following. Note the ‘JobRunState’ is ‘SUCCEEDED.’ This particular job ran for a total of 14.92 minutes, while the actual execution time was 2.25 minutes.


{
"JobRun": {
"Id": "jr_f7186b26bf042ea7773ad08704d012d05299f080e7ac9b696ca8dd575f79506b",
"Attempt": 0,
"JobName": "rates-xml-to-parquet",
"StartedOn": 1578022390.301,
"LastModifiedOn": 1578023285.632,
"CompletedOn": 1578023285.632,
"JobRunState": "SUCCEEDED",
"PredecessorRuns": [],
"AllocatedCapacity": 10,
"ExecutionTime": 135,
"Timeout": 2880,
"MaxCapacity": 10.0,
"LogGroupName": "/aws-glue/jobs",
"GlueVersion": "1.0"
}
}

The job’s progress and the results are also visible in the AWS Glue Console’s ETL Jobs tab.

screen_shot_2020-01-04_at_7_42_51_pm

Detailed Apache Spark logs are also available in CloudWatch Management Console, which is accessible directly from the Logs link in the AWS Glue Console’s ETL Jobs tab.

screen_shot_2020-01-04_at_7_44_08_pm

The last step in the Data Transformation stage is to convert catalog the Parquet-format electrical rates data, created with the previous Glue ETL Job, using yet another Glue Crawler (part of step 2b in workflow diagram). Start the following Glue Crawler to catalog the Parquet-format electrical rates data.


aws glue start-crawler –name smart-hub-rates-parquet

view raw

step11b.sh

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This concludes the Data Transformation stage. The raw and transformed data is in the data lake, and the following nine tables should exist in the Glue Data Catalog.


electricity_rates_parquet
electricity_rates_xml
etl_tmp_output_parquet
sensor_mappings_json
sensor_mappings_parquet
smart_hub_data_json
smart_hub_data_parquet
smart_hub_locations_csv
smart_hub_locations_parquet

If we examine the tables, we should observe the data partitions we used to organize the data files in the Amazon S3-based data lake are contained in the table metadata. Below, we see the four partitions, based on state, of the Parquet-format locations data.

screen_shot_2020-01-05_at_7_45_46_am

Data Enrichment

To begin the Data Enrichment stage, we will invoke the AWS Lambda, athena-complex-etl-query/index.py. This Lambda accepts input parameters (lines 28–30, below), passed in the Lambda handler’s event parameter. The arguments include the Smart Hub ID, the start date for the data requested, and the end date for the data requested. The scenario for the demonstration is that a customer with the location id value, using the electrical provider’s application, has requested data for a particular range of days (start date and end date), to visualize and analyze.

The Lambda executes a series of Athena INSERT INTO SQL statements, one statement for each of the possible Smart Hub connected electrical sensors, s_01 through s_10, for which there are values in the Smart Hub electrical usage data. Amazon just released the Amazon Athena INSERT INTO a table using the results of a SELECT query capability in September 2019, an essential addition to Athena. New Athena features are listed in the release notes.

Here, the SELECT query is actually a series of chained subqueries, using Presto SQL’s WITH clause capability. The queries join the Parquet-format Smart Hub electrical usage data sources in the S3-based data lake, with the other three Parquet-format, S3-based data sources: sensor mappings, locations, and electrical rates. The Parquet-format data is written as individual files to S3 and inserted into the existing ‘etl_tmp_output_parquet’ Glue Data Catalog database table. Compared to traditional relational database-based queries, the capabilities of Glue and Athena to enable complex SQL queries across multiple semi-structured data files, stored in S3, is truly amazing!

The capabilities of Glue and Athena to enable complex SQL queries across multiple semi-structured data files, stored in S3, is truly amazing!

Below, we see the SQL statement starting on line 43.


import boto3
import os
import logging
import json
from typing import Dict
# environment variables
data_catalog = os.getenv('DATA_CATALOG')
data_bucket = os.getenv('DATA_BUCKET')
# variables
output_directory = 'etl_tmp_output_parquet'
# uses list comprehension to generate the equivalent of:
# ['s_01', 's_02', …, 's_09', 's_10']
sensors = [f's_{i:02d}' for i in range(1, 11)]
# logging
logger = logging.getLogger()
logger.setLevel(logging.INFO)
# athena client
athena_client = boto3.client('athena')
def handler(event, context):
args = {
"loc_id": event['loc_id'],
"date_from": event['date_from'],
"date_to": event['date_to']
}
athena_query(args)
return {
'statusCode': 200,
'body': json.dumps("function 'athena-complex-etl-query' complete")
}
def athena_query(args: Dict[str, str]):
for sensor in sensors:
query = \
"INSERT INTO " + data_catalog + "." + output_directory + " " \
"WITH " \
" t1 AS " \
" (SELECT d.loc_id, d.ts, d.data." + sensor + " AS kwh, l.state, l.tz " \
" FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.smart_hub_data_parquet d " \
" LEFT OUTER JOIN smart_hub_data_catalog.smart_hub_locations_parquet l " \
" ON d.loc_id = l.hash " \
" WHERE d.loc_id = '" + args['loc_id'] + "' " \
" AND d.dt BETWEEN cast('" + args['date_from'] + \
"' AS date) AND cast('" + args['date_to'] + "' AS date)), " \
" t2 AS " \
" (SELECT at_timezone(from_unixtime(t1.ts, 'UTC'), t1.tz) AS ts, " \
" date_format(at_timezone(from_unixtime(t1.ts, 'UTC'), t1.tz), '%H') AS rate_period, " \
" m.description AS device, m.location, t1.loc_id, t1.state, t1.tz, t1.kwh " \
" FROM t1 LEFT OUTER JOIN smart_hub_data_catalog.sensor_mappings_parquet m " \
" ON t1.loc_id = m.loc_id " \
" WHERE t1.loc_id = '" + args['loc_id'] + "' " \
" AND m.state = t1.state " \
" AND m.description = (SELECT m2.description " \
" FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.sensor_mappings_parquet m2 " \
" WHERE m2.loc_id = '" + args['loc_id'] + "' AND m2.id = '" + sensor + "')), " \
" t3 AS " \
" (SELECT substr(r.to, 1, 2) AS rate_period, r.type, r.rate, r.year, r.month, r.state " \
" FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.electricity_rates_parquet r " \
" WHERE r.year BETWEEN cast(date_format(cast('" + args['date_from'] + \
"' AS date), '%Y') AS integer) AND cast(date_format(cast('" + args['date_to'] + \
"' AS date), '%Y') AS integer)) " \
"SELECT replace(cast(t2.ts AS VARCHAR), concat(' ', t2.tz), '') AS ts, " \
" t2.device, t2.location, t3.type, t2.kwh, t3.rate AS cents_per_kwh, " \
" round(t2.kwh * t3.rate, 4) AS cost, t2.state, t2.loc_id " \
"FROM t2 LEFT OUTER JOIN t3 " \
" ON t2.rate_period = t3.rate_period " \
"WHERE t3.state = t2.state " \
"ORDER BY t2.ts, t2.device;"
logger.info(query)
response = athena_client.start_query_execution(
QueryString=query,
QueryExecutionContext={
'Database': data_catalog
},
ResultConfiguration={
'OutputLocation': 's3://' + data_bucket + '/tmp/' + output_directory
},
WorkGroup='primary'
)
logger.info(response)

view raw

athena_query.py

hosted with ❤ by GitHub

Below, is an example of one of the final queries, for the s_10 sensor, as executed by Athena. All the input parameter values, Python variables, and environment variables have been resolved into the query.


INSERT INTO smart_hub_data_catalog.etl_tmp_output_parquet
WITH t1 AS (SELECT d.loc_id, d.ts, d.data.s_10 AS kwh, l.state, l.tz
FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.smart_hub_data_parquet d
LEFT OUTER JOIN smart_hub_data_catalog.smart_hub_locations_parquet l ON d.loc_id = l.hash
WHERE d.loc_id = 'b6a8d42425fde548'
AND d.dt BETWEEN cast('2019-12-21' AS date) AND cast('2019-12-22' AS date)),
t2 AS (SELECT at_timezone(from_unixtime(t1.ts, 'UTC'), t1.tz) AS ts,
date_format(at_timezone(from_unixtime(t1.ts, 'UTC'), t1.tz), '%H') AS rate_period,
m.description AS device,
m.location,
t1.loc_id,
t1.state,
t1.tz,
t1.kwh
FROM t1
LEFT OUTER JOIN smart_hub_data_catalog.sensor_mappings_parquet m ON t1.loc_id = m.loc_id
WHERE t1.loc_id = 'b6a8d42425fde548'
AND m.state = t1.state
AND m.description = (SELECT m2.description
FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.sensor_mappings_parquet m2
WHERE m2.loc_id = 'b6a8d42425fde548'
AND m2.id = 's_10')),
t3 AS (SELECT substr(r.to, 1, 2) AS rate_period, r.type, r.rate, r.year, r.month, r.state
FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.electricity_rates_parquet r
WHERE r.year BETWEEN cast(date_format(cast('2019-12-21' AS date), '%Y') AS integer)
AND cast(date_format(cast('2019-12-22' AS date), '%Y') AS integer))
SELECT replace(cast(t2.ts AS VARCHAR), concat(' ', t2.tz), '') AS ts,
t2.device,
t2.location,
t3.type,
t2.kwh,
t3.rate AS cents_per_kwh,
round(t2.kwh * t3.rate, 4) AS cost,
t2.state,
t2.loc_id
FROM t2
LEFT OUTER JOIN t3 ON t2.rate_period = t3.rate_period
WHERE t3.state = t2.state
ORDER BY t2.ts, t2.device;

Along with enriching the data, the query performs additional data transformation using the other data sources. For example, the Unix timestamp is converted to a localized timestamp containing the date and time, according to the customer’s location (line 7, above). Transforming dates and times is a frequent, often painful, data analysis task. Another example of data enrichment is the augmentation of the data with a new, computed column. The column’s values are calculated using the values of two other columns (line 33, above).

Invoke the Lambda with the following three parameters in the payload (step 3a in workflow diagram).


aws lambda invoke \
–function-name athena-complex-etl-query \
–payload "{ \"loc_id\": \"b6a8d42425fde548\",
\"date_from\": \"2019-12-21\", \"date_to\": \"2019-12-22\"}" \
response.json

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step12.sh

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The ten INSERT INTO SQL statement’s result statuses (one per device sensor) are visible from the Athena Console’s History tab.

screen_shot_2020-01-05_at_9_17_23_pm

Each Athena query execution saves that query’s results to the S3-based data lake as individual, uncompressed Parquet-format data files. The data is partitioned in the Amazon S3-based data lake by the Smart Meter location ID (e.g., ‘loc_id=b6a8d42425fde548’).

Below is a snippet of the enriched data for a customer’s clothes washer (sensor ‘s_04’). Note the timestamp is now an actual date and time in the local timezone of the customer (e.g., ‘2019-12-21 20:10:00.000’). The sensor ID (‘s_04’) is replaced with the actual device name (‘Clothes Washer’). The location of the device (‘Basement’) and the type of electrical usage period (e.g. ‘peak’ or ‘partial-peak’) has been added. Finally, the cost column has been computed.



ts device location type kwh cents_per_kwh cost state loc_id
2019-12-21 19:40:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement peak 0.0 12.623 0.0 or b6a8d42425fde548
2019-12-21 19:45:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement peak 0.0 12.623 0.0 or b6a8d42425fde548
2019-12-21 19:50:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement peak 0.1501 12.623 1.8947 or b6a8d42425fde548
2019-12-21 19:55:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement peak 0.1497 12.623 1.8897 or b6a8d42425fde548
2019-12-21 20:00:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement partial-peak 0.1501 7.232 1.0855 or b6a8d42425fde548
2019-12-21 20:05:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement partial-peak 0.2248 7.232 1.6258 or b6a8d42425fde548
2019-12-21 20:10:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement partial-peak 0.2247 7.232 1.625 or b6a8d42425fde548
2019-12-21 20:15:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement partial-peak 0.2248 7.232 1.6258 or b6a8d42425fde548
2019-12-21 20:20:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement partial-peak 0.2253 7.232 1.6294 or b6a8d42425fde548
2019-12-21 20:25:00.000 Clothes Washer Basement partial-peak 0.151 7.232 1.092 or b6a8d42425fde548

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elt_data.csv

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To transform the enriched CSV-format data to Parquet-format, we need to catalog the CSV-format results using another Crawler, first (step 3d in workflow diagram).


aws glue start-crawler –name smart-hub-etl-tmp-output-parquet

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step13.sh

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Optimizing Enriched Data

The previous step created enriched Parquet-format data. However, this data is not as optimized for query efficiency as it should be. Using the Athena INSERT INTO WITH SQL statement, allowed the data to be partitioned. However, the method does not allow the Parquet data to be easily combined into larger files and compressed. To perform both these optimizations, we will use one last Lambda, athena-parquet-to-parquet-elt-data/index.py. The Lambda will create a new location in the Amazon S3-based data lake, containing all the enriched data, in a single file and compressed using Snappy compression.


aws lambda invoke \
–function-name athena-parquet-to-parquet-elt-data \
response.json

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step14.sh

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The resulting Parquet file is visible in the S3 Management Console.

screen_shot_2020-01-04_at_6_07_23_pm

The final step in the Data Enrichment stage is to catalog the optimized Parquet-format enriched ETL data. To catalog the data, run the following Glue Crawler (step 3i in workflow diagram


aws glue start-crawler –name smart-hub-etl-output-parquet

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step15.sh

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Final Data Lake and Data Catalog

We should now have the following ten top-level folders of partitioned data in the S3-based data lake. The ‘tmp’ folder may be ignored.


aws s3 ls s3://${DATA_BUCKET}/

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step16.sh

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PRE electricity_rates_parquet/
PRE electricity_rates_xml/
PRE etl_output_parquet/
PRE etl_tmp_output_parquet/
PRE sensor_mappings_json/
PRE sensor_mappings_parquet/
PRE smart_hub_data_json/
PRE smart_hub_data_parquet/
PRE smart_hub_locations_csv/
PRE smart_hub_locations_parquet/

Similarly, we should now have the following ten corresponding tables in the Glue Data Catalog. Use the AWS Glue Console to confirm the tables exist.

screen_shot_2020-01-04_at_8_30_50_pm

Alternately, use the following AWS CLI / jq command to list the table names.


aws glue get-tables \
–database-name smart_hub_data_catalog \
| jq -r '.TableList[].Name'

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step17.sh

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electricity_rates_parquet
electricity_rates_xml
etl_output_parquet
etl_tmp_output_parquet
sensor_mappings_json
sensor_mappings_parquet
smart_hub_data_json
smart_hub_data_parquet
smart_hub_locations_csv
smart_hub_locations_parquet

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gistfile1.txt

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‘Unknown’ Bug

You may have noticed the four tables created with the AWS Lambda functions, using the CTAS SQL statement, erroneously have the ‘Classification’ of ‘Unknown’ as opposed to ‘parquet’. I am not sure why, I believe it is a possible bug with the CTAS feature. It seems to have no adverse impact on the table’s functionality. However, to fix the issue, run the following set of commands. This aws glue update-table hack will switch the table’s ‘Classification’ to ‘parquet’.


database=smart_hub_data_catalog
tables=(smart_hub_locations_parquet sensor_mappings_parquet smart_hub_data_parquet etl_output_parquet)
for table in ${tables}; do
fixed_table=$(aws glue get-table \
–database-name "${database}" \
–name "${table}" \
| jq '.Table.Parameters.classification = "parquet" | del(.Table.DatabaseName) | del(.Table.CreateTime) | del(.Table.UpdateTime) | del(.Table.CreatedBy) | del(.Table.IsRegisteredWithLakeFormation)')
fixed_table=$(echo ${fixed_table} | jq .Table)
aws glue update-table \
–database-name "${database}" \
–table-input "${fixed_table}"
echo "table '${table}' classification changed to 'parquet'"
done

The results of the fix may be seen from the AWS Glue Console. All ten tables are now classified correctly.

screen_shot_2020-01-05_at_11_43_50_pm

Explore the Data

Before starting to visualize and analyze the data with Amazon QuickSight, try executing a few Athena queries against the tables in the Glue Data Catalog database, using the Athena Query Editor. Working in the Editor is the best way to understand the data, learn Athena, and debug SQL statements and queries. The Athena Query Editor has convenient developer features like SQL auto-complete and query formatting capabilities.

Be mindful when writing queries and searching the Internet for SQL references, the Athena query engine is based on Presto 0.172. The current version of Presto, 0.229, is more than 50 releases ahead of the current Athena version. Both Athena and Presto functionality has changed and diverged. There are additional considerations and limitations for SQL queries in Athena to be aware of.

screen_shot_2020-01-05_at_10_32_25_am

Here are a few simple, ad-hoc queries to run in the Athena Query Editor.


preview the final etl data
SELECT *
FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.etl_output_parquet
LIMIT 10;
total cost in $'s for each device, at location 'b6a8d42425fde548'
from high to low, on December 21, 2019
SELECT device,
concat('$', cast(cast(sum(cost) / 100 AS decimal(10, 2)) AS varchar)) AS total_cost
FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.etl_tmp_output_parquet
WHERE loc_id = 'b6a8d42425fde548'
AND date (cast(ts AS timestamp)) = date '2019-12-21'
GROUP BY device
ORDER BY total_cost DESC;
count of smart hub residential locations in Oregon and California,
grouped by zip code, sorted by count
SELECT DISTINCT postcode, upper(state), count(postcode) AS smart_hub_count
FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.smart_hub_locations_parquet
WHERE state IN ('or', 'ca')
AND length(cast(postcode AS varchar)) >= 5
GROUP BY state, postcode
ORDER BY smart_hub_count DESC, postcode;
electrical usage for the clothes washer
over a 30-minute period, on December 21, 2019
SELECT ts, device, location, type, cost
FROM smart_hub_data_catalog.etl_tmp_output_parquet
WHERE loc_id = 'b6a8d42425fde548'
AND device = 'Clothes Washer'
AND cast(ts AS timestamp)
BETWEEN timestamp '2019-12-21 08:45:00'
AND timestamp '2019-12-21 09:15:00'
ORDER BY ts;

Cleaning Up

You may choose to save the AWS resources created in part one of this demonstration, to be used in part two. Since you are not actively running queries against the data, ongoing AWS costs will be minimal. If you eventually choose to clean up the AWS resources created in part one of this demonstration, execute the following AWS CLI commands. To avoid failures, make sure each command completes before running the subsequent command. You will need to confirm the CloudFormation stacks are deleted using the AWS CloudFormation Console or the AWS CLI. These commands will not remove Amazon QuickSight data sets, analyses, and dashboards created in part two. However, deleting the AWS Glue Data Catalog and the underlying data sources will impact the ability to visualize the data in QuickSight.


# delete s3 contents first
aws s3 rm s3://${DATA_BUCKET} –recursive
aws s3 rm s3://${SCRIPT_BUCKET} –recursive
aws s3 rm s3://${LOG_BUCKET} –recursive
# then, delete lambda cfn stack
aws cloudformation delete-stack –stack-name smart-hub-lambda-stack
# finally, delete athena-glue-s3 stack
aws cloudformation delete-stack –stack-name smart-hub-athena-glue-stack

view raw

step18.sh

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Part Two

In part one, starting with raw, semi-structured data in multiple formats, we learned how to ingest, transform, and enrich that data using Amazon S3, AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and AWS Lambda. We built an S3-based data lake and learned how AWS leverages open-source technologies, including Presto, Apache Hive, and Apache Parquet. In part two of this post, we will use the transformed and enriched datasets, stored in the data lake, to create compelling visualizations using Amazon QuickSight.

All opinions expressed in this post are my own and not necessarily the views of my current or past employers or their clients.

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2 Comments

Getting Started with Apache Zeppelin on Amazon EMR, using AWS Glue, RDS, and S3: Part 2

Introduction

In Part 1 of this two-part post, we created and configured the AWS resources required to demonstrate the use of Apache Zeppelin on Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR). Further, we configured Zeppelin integrations with AWS Glue Data CatalogAmazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for PostgreSQL, and Amazon Simple Cloud Storage Service (S3) Data Lake. We also covered how to obtain the project’s source code from the two GitHub repositories, zeppelin-emr-demo and zeppelin-emr-config. Below is a high-level architectural diagram of the infrastructure we constructed in Part 1 for this demonstration.

EMR-Zeppelin

Part 2

In Part 2 of this post, we will explore Apache Zeppelin’s features and integration capabilities with a variety of AWS services using a series of four Zeppelin notebooks. Below is an overview of each Zeppelin notebook with a link to view it using Zepl’s free Notebook Explorer. Zepl was founded by the same engineers that developed Apache Zeppelin. Zepl’s enterprise collaboration platform, built on Apache Zeppelin, enables both Data Science and AI/ML teams to collaborate around data.

Notebook 1

The first notebook uses a small 21k row kaggle dataset, Transactions from a Bakery. The notebook demonstrates Zeppelin’s integration capabilities with the Helium plugin system for adding new chart types, the use of Amazon S3 for data storage and retrieval, and the use of Apache Parquet, a compressed and efficient columnar data storage format, and Zeppelin’s storage integration with GitHub for notebook version control.

Interpreters

When you open a notebook for the first time, you are given the choice of interpreters to bind and unbind to the notebook. The last interpreter in the list shown below, postgres, is the new PostgreSQL JDBC Zeppelin interpreter we created in Part 1 of this post. We will use this interpreter in Notebook 3.

screen-shot-2019-11-24-at-8_03_50-pm

Application Versions

The first two paragraphs of the notebook are used to confirm the version of Spark, Scala, OpenJDK, and Python we are using. Recall we updated the Spark and Python interpreters to use Python 3.

screen_shot_2019-11-26_at_6_58_33_pm

Helium Visualizations

If you recall from Part 1 of the post, we pre-installed several additional Helium Visualizations, including the Ultimate Pie Chart. Below, we see the use of the Spark SQL (%sql) interpreter to query a Spark DataFrame, return results, and visualize the data using the Ultimate Pie Chart.  In addition to the pie chart, we see the other pre-installed Helium visualizations proceeding the five default visualizations, in the menu bar. With Zeppelin, all we have to do is write Spark SQL queries against the Spark DataFrame created earlier in the notebook, and Zeppelin will handle the visualization. You have some basic controls over charts using the ‘settings’ option.

screen-shot-2019-11-24-at-8_06_56-pm

Building the Data Lake

Notebook 1 demonstrates how to read and write data to S3. We read and write the Bakery dataset to both CSV-format and Apache Parquet-format, using Spark (PySpark). We also write the results of Spark SQL queries, like the one above, in Parquet, to S3.

screen-shot-2019-11-24-at-8_20_18-pm

With Parquet, data may be split into multiple files, as shown in the S3 bucket directory below. Parquet is much faster to read into a Spark DataFrame than CSV. Spark provides support for both reading and writing Parquet files. We will write all of our data to Parquet in S3, making future re-use of the data much more efficient than downloading data from the Internet, like GroupLens or kaggle, or consuming CSV from S3.

screen-shot-2019-11-24-at-8_22_46-pm

Preview S3 Data

In addition to using the Zeppelin notebook, we can preview data right in the S3 bucket web interface using the Amazon S3 Select feature. This query in place feature is helpful to quickly understand the structure and content of new data files with which you want to interact within Zeppelin.

screen-shot-2019-11-24-at-8_23_33-pm

screen-shot-2019-11-24-at-8_23_40-pm

screen_shot_2019-11-28_at_7_41_49_pm.png

Saving Changes to GitHub

In Part 1, we configured Zeppelin to read and write the notebooks from your own copy of the GitHub notebook repository. Using the ‘version control’ menu item, changes made to the notebooks can be committed directly to GitHub.

screen-shot-2019-11-24-at-8_16_36-pm

screen-shot-2019-11-24-at-8_38_19-pm

In GitHub, note the committer is the zeppelin user.

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Notebook 2

The second notebook demonstrates the use of a single-node and multi-node Amazon EMR cluster for the exploration and analysis of public datasets ranging from approximately 100k rows up to 27MM rows, using Zeppelin. We will use the latest GroupLens MovieLens rating datasets to examine the performance characteristics of Zeppelin, using Spark, on single- verses multi-node EMR clusters for analyzing big data using a variety of Amazon EC2 Instance Types.

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Multi-Node EMR Cluster

If you recall from Part 1, we waited to create this cluster due to the compute costs of running the cluster’s large EC2 instances. You should understand the cost of these resources before proceeding, and that you ensure they are destroyed immediately upon completion of the demonstration to minimize your expenses.

Normalized Instance Hours
Understanding the costs of EMR requires understanding the concept of normalized instance hours. Cluster displayed in the EMR AWS Console contains two columns, ‘Elapsed time’ and ‘Normalized instance hours’. The ‘Elapsed time’ column reflects the actual wall-clock time the cluster was used. The ‘Normalized instance hours’ column indicates the approximate number of compute hours the cluster has used, rounded up to the nearest hour.

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Normalized instance hours calculations are based on a normalization factor. The normalization factor ranges from 1 for a small instance, up to 64 for an 8xlarge. Based on the type and quantity of instances in our multi-node cluster, we would use approximately 56 compute hours (aka normalized instance hours) for every one hour of wall-clock time our EMR cluster is running. Note the multi-node cluster used in our demo, highlighted in yellow above. The cluster ran for two hours, which equated to 112 normalized instance hours.

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Create the Multi-Node Cluster

Create the multi-node EMR cluster using CloudFormation. Change the following nine variable values, then run the emr cloudformation create-stack API command, using the AWS CLI.

# change me
ZEPPELIN_DEMO_BUCKET="your-bucket-name"
EC2_KEY_NAME="your-key-name"
LOG_BUCKET="aws-logs-your_aws_account_id-your_region"
GITHUB_ACCOUNT="your-account-name"
GITHUB_REPO="your-new-project-name"
GITHUB_TOKEN="your-token-value"
MASTER_INSTANCE_TYPE="m5.xlarge" # optional
CORE_INSTANCE_TYPE="m5.2xlarge" # optional
CORE_INSTANCE_COUNT=3 # optional

aws cloudformation create-stack \
    --stack-name zeppelin-emr-prod-stack \
    --template-body file://cloudformation/emr_cluster.yml \
    --parameters ParameterKey=ZeppelinDemoBucket,ParameterValue=${ZEPPELIN_DEMO_BUCKET} \
                 ParameterKey=Ec2KeyName,ParameterValue=${EC2_KEY_NAME} \
                 ParameterKey=LogBucket,ParameterValue=${LOG_BUCKET} \
                 ParameterKey=MasterInstanceType,ParameterValue=${MASTER_INSTANCE_TYPE} \
                 ParameterKey=CoreInstanceType,ParameterValue=${CORE_INSTANCE_TYPE} \
                 ParameterKey=CoreInstanceCount,ParameterValue=${CORE_INSTANCE_COUNT} \
                 ParameterKey=GitHubAccount,ParameterValue=${GITHUB_ACCOUNT} \
                 ParameterKey=GitHubRepository,ParameterValue=${GITHUB_REPO} \
                 ParameterKey=GitHubToken,ParameterValue=${GITHUB_TOKEN}

Use the Amazon EMR web interface to confirm the success of the CloudFormation stack. The fully-provisioned cluster should be in the ‘Waiting’ state when ready.

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Configuring the EMR Cluster

Refer to Part 1 for the configuration steps necessary to prepare the EMR cluster and Zeppelin before continuing. Repeat all the steps used for the single-node cluster.

Monitoring with Ganglia

In Part 1, we installed Ganglia as part of creating the EMR cluster. Ganglia, according to its website, is a scalable distributed monitoring system for high-performance computing systems such as clusters and grids. Ganglia can be used to evaluate the performance of the single-node and multi-node EMR clusters. With Ganglia, we can easily view cluster and individual instance CPU, memory, and network I/O performance.

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Ganglia Example: Cluster CPU

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Ganglia Example: Cluster Memory

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Ganglia Example: Cluster Network I/O

YARN Resource Manager

The YARN Resource Manager Web UI is also available on our EMR cluster. Using the Resource Manager, we can view the compute resource load on the cluster, as well as the individual EMR Core nodes. Below, we see that the multi-node cluster has 24 vCPUs and 72 GiB of memory available, split evenly across the three Core cluster nodes.

You might recall, the m5.2xlarge EC2 instance type, used for the three Core nodes, each contains 8 vCPUs and 32 GiB of memory. However, by default, although all 8 vCPUs are available for computation per node, only 24 GiB of the node’s 32 GiB of memory are available for computation. EMR ensures a portion of the memory on each node is reserved for other system processes. The maximum available memory is controlled by the YARN memory configuration option, yarn.scheduler.maximum-allocation-mb.

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The YARN Resource Manager preview above shows the load on the Code nodes as Notebook 2 is executing the Spark SQL queries on the large MovieLens with 27MM ratings. Note that only 4 of the 24 vCPUs (16.6%) are in use, but that 70.25 of the 72 GiB (97.6%) of available memory is being used. According to Spark, because of the in-memory nature of most Spark computations, Spark programs can be bottlenecked by any resource in the cluster: CPU, network bandwidth, or memory. Most often, if the data fits in memory, the bottleneck is network bandwidth. In this case, memory appears to be the most constrained resource. Using memory-optimized instances, such as r4 or r5 instance types, might be more effective for the core nodes than the m5 instance types.

MovieLens Datasets

By changing one variable in the notebook, we can work with the latest, smaller GroupLens MovieLens dataset containing approximately 100k rows (ml-latest-small) or the larger dataset, containing approximately 27M rows (ml-latest). For this demo, try both datasets on both the single-node and multi-node clusters. Compare the Spark SQL paragraph execution times for each of the four variations, including single-node with the small dataset, single-node with the large dataset, multi-node with the small dataset, and multi-node with the large dataset. Observe how fast the SQL queries are executed on the single-node versus multi-node cluster. Try switching to a different Core node instance type, such as r5.2xlarge. Try creating a cluster with additional Core nodes. How is the compute time effected?

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Terminate the multi-node EMR cluster to save yourself the expense before continuing to Notebook 3.

aws cloudformation delete-stack \
    --stack-name=zeppelin-emr-prod-stack

Notebook 3

The third notebook demonstrates Amazon EMR and Zeppelin’s integration capabilities with AWS Glue Data Catalog as an Apache Hive-compatible metastore for Spark SQL. We will create an Amazon S3-based Data Lake using the AWS Glue Data Catalog and a set of AWS Glue Crawlers.

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Glue Crawlers

Before continuing with Notebook 3, run the two Glue Crawlers using the AWS CLI.

aws glue start-crawler --name bakery-transactions-crawler
aws glue start-crawler --name movie-ratings-crawler

The two Crawlers will create a total of seven tables in the Glue Data Catalog database.

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If we examine the Glue Data Catalog database, we should now observe several tables, one for each dataset found in the S3 bucket. The location of each dataset is shown in the ‘Location’ column of the tables view.

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From the Zeppelin notebook, we can even use Spark SQL to query the AWS Glue Data Catalog, itself, for its databases and the tables within them.

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According to Amazon, the Glue Data Catalog tables and databases are containers for the metadata definitions that define a schema for underlying source data. Using Zeppelin’s SQL interpreter, we can query the Data Catalog database and return the underlying source data. The SQL query example, below, demonstrates how we can perform a join across two tables in the data catalog database, representing two different data sources, and return results.

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Notebook 4

The fourth notebook demonstrates Zeppelin’s ability to integrate with an external data source. In this case, we will interact with data in an Amazon RDS PostgreSQL relational database using three methods, including the Psycopg 2 PostgreSQL adapter for Python, Spark’s native JDBC capability, and Zeppelin’s JDBC Interpreter.

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First, we create a new schema and four related tables for the RDS PostgreSQL movie ratings database, using the Psycopg 2 PostgreSQL adapter for Python and the SQL file we copied to S3 in Part 1.

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The RDS database’s schema, shown below, approximates the schema of the four CSV files from the GroupLens MovieLens rating dataset we used in Notebook 2.

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Since the schema of the PostgreSQL database matches the MovieLens dataset files, we can import the data from the CVS files, downloaded from GroupLens, directly into the RDS database, again using the Psycopg PostgreSQL adapter for Python.

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According to the Spark documentation, Spark SQL also includes a data source that can read data from other databases using JDBC. Using Spark’s JDBC capability and the PostgreSQL JDBC Driver we installed in Part 1, we can perform Spark SQL queries against the RDS database using PySpark (%spark.pyspark). Below, we see a paragraph example of reading the RDS database’s movies table, using Spark.

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As a third method of querying the RDS database, we can use the custom Zeppelin PostgreSQL JDBC interpreter (%postgres) we created in Part 1. Although the default driver of the JDBC interpreter is set as PostgreSQL, and the associated JAR is included with Zeppelin, we overrode that older JAR, with the latest PostgreSQL JDBC Driver JAR.

Using the %postgres interpreter, we query the RDS database’s public schema, and return the four database tables we created earlier in the notebook.

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Again, below, using the %postgres interpreter in the notebook’s paragraph, we query the RDS database and return data, which we then visualize using Zeppelin’s bar chart. Finally, note the use of Zeppelin Dynamic Forms in this example. Dynamic Forms allows Zeppelin to dynamically creates input forms, whose input values are then available to use programmatically. Here, we use two form input values to control the data returned from our query and the resulting visualization.

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Conclusion

In this two-part post, we learned how effectively Apache Zeppelin integrates with Amazon EMR. We also learned how to extend Zeppelin’s capabilities, using  AWS Glue, Amazon RDS, and Amazon S3 as a Data Lake. Beyond what was covered in this post, there are dozens of more Zeppelin and EMR features, as well as dozens of more AWS services that integrate with Zeppelin and EMR, for you to discover.

All opinions expressed in this post are my own and not necessarily the views of my current or past employers or their clients.

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Getting Started with Apache Zeppelin on Amazon EMR, using AWS Glue, RDS, and S3: Part 1