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From Mark Payne <>
Subject Re: MergeContent/SplitText - Performance against large CSV files
Date Fri, 13 Nov 2015 17:25:59 GMT

Ok thanks for the more detailed explanation. I think that makes RouteText a much more appealing
solution. It is available on master now. 


Sent from my iPhone

> On Nov 13, 2015, at 12:12 PM, Mark Petronic <> wrote:
> Thank you, Mark, for the quick reply. My comments on your comments...
> "That's a great question! 200 million per day equates to about 2K - 3K per second."
> Unfortunately, the rate will be much more extreme. Those records all show up over the
course of about 4 hours. So, every time a new zip file appears on my NFS share, I grab it
and process it. About 160 files will appear over those 4 hours. For example, the average sized
zip file would likely contain about 180,000 or 1,600,000 records to process in that one scheduled
Nifi run. And, it is very likely that, for a given run, say scheduled to run every 30 minutes,
there could be multiple files to process. I did not mention it before but there are really
two types of very large CSV files I have to process here, one is 18M records and the other
200M records per day. So, traffic is very bursty.
> Does that change anything regarding the intended use case for the new RouteText
> "We should have a RouteCSV processor as well."
> That would be very nice and definitely more performant without the need for regex matching.
However, I definitely would benefit even from RouteText, in the interim. For my use case,
the regex will be pretty simple as the timestamp is close to the front of the record, but
I see where you are going on the potential complexity with groups and widely spread out fields
of interest.
> Is RouteText available on any branch where I could build and play around with it before
> Thanks,
> Mark
>> On Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 11:14 AM, Mark Payne <> wrote:
>> Mark,
>> That's a great question! 200 million per day equates to about 2K - 3K per second.
So that is quite reasonable.
>> You are very correct, though, that splitting that CSV into tons of one-line FlowFiles
does indeed have a cost.
>> Specifically, the big cost is the Provenance data that is generated at that rate.
But again 2K - 3K per second
>> going through a handful of Processors is a very reasonable workload.
>> I will caution you, though, that there is a ticket [1] where people will sometimes
run into Out Of Memory Errors
>> if they try to split a huge CSV into individual FlowFiles because it holes all of
those FlowFile objects (not the
>> data itself but the attributes) in memory until the session is committed. The workaround
for this (until that ticket
>> is completed) is to use a SplitText to split into 10,000 lines or so per FlowFile
and then another SplitText to
>> split each of those smaller ones into 1-line FlowFiles.
>> Also of note, in 0.4.0, which is expected to be released in around a week or so,
there is a new RouteText
>> Processor. This, I think, will make your life far easier. Rather than using SplitText,
Extract Text, and MergeContent
>> in order to group the text, RouteText will allow you to supply a Grouping Regex.
So that regex can just pull out the
>> device id, year, month, and day, from each line and group together lines of text
that have the same values into
>> a single FlowFile. For instance, if your CSV looked like:
>> # device_id, device_manufacturer, value, year, month, day, hour
>> 1234, Famous Manufacturer, 83, 2015, 11, 13, 12
>> You could define a grouping regex as:
>> (\d+), .*?, .*?, (\d+), (\d+), (\d+), .*
>> It looks complex but it's just breaking apart the CSV into individual fields and
grouping on device_id, year, month, day.
>> This will also create a RouteText.Group attribute with the value "1234, 2015, 11,
>> This processor provides two benefits: it combines all of the grouping into a single
Processor, and it cuts down on the
>> millions of FlowFiles that are generated and then merged back together.
>> As I write this, though, I am realizing that the regex above is quite a pain. We
should have a RouteCSV processor as well.
>> Though it won't provide any features that RouteText can't provide, it will make configuration
far easier. I created a ticket
>> for this here [2]. I'm not sure that it will make it into the 0.4.0 release, though.
>> I hope this helps!
>> Thanks
>> -Mark
>> [1]
>> [2]
>>> On Nov 13, 2015, at 10:44 AM, Mark Petronic <> wrote:
>>> I have a concept question. Say I have 10 GB of CSV files/day containing records
where 99% of them are from the last couple days but there are stragglers that are late reported
that can date back many months. Devices that are powered off at times don't report but eventually
do when powered on and report old, captured data - store and forward kind of thing. I want
to capture all the data for historic reasons. There are about 200 million records per day
to process. I want to put this data in Hive tables that are partitioned by year, month, and
day and use ORC columnar storage. These tables are external Hive tables and point to the directories
where I want to drop these files on HDFS, manually add new partitions, as needed, and immediately
be able to query using HQL.
>>> Nifi Concept: 
>>> 0. Use GetText to get a CSV file
>>> 1. Use UpdateAttribute to parse the incoming CSV file name to obtain a device_id
and set that as an attribute on the flow file
>>> 2. Use SplitText to split each row into a flow file. 
>>> 3. Use ExtractText to identify the field that is the record timestamp and create
a year, month, and day attribute on the flow file from that timestamp. 
>>> 4. Use MergeContent with a grouping key made up of (device_id,year,month,day)
>>> 5. Convert each file to ORC (many Parquet). This stage will likely require me
building a custom processor because the conversion is not going to be a simple A-to-B. I want
to do some validation on fields, type conversion, and other custom stuff against some source-of-truth
schema stored in a web service with REST API.
>>> 6. Use PutHDFS to store these ORC files in directories like .../device_id/year=2015/month=11/day=9
by using the attributes already present from the upstream processors to build up the path,
where device_id is the Hive table name and the year, month, day are the partition key name=value
per Hive format. The file names will just be some unique ID, they don't really matter
>>> 7. Use ExecuteProcessStream to execute a Hive script that will "alter table add
partitions...." for any partitions that were newly created on this schedule run
>>> Is this insane or is it what Nifi was designed to do? I could definitely see
using a Spark job to do the group by (device_id,year,month,day) stage. 200M flow files from
the SplitText is the one that has me wondering if I am nuts thinking of doing that? There
must be overhead on flow files and deprecating them to one line each seems to me as a worst
case scenario. But it all depends on the core design and whether Nifi is optimized to handle
such a use case. 
>>> Thanks,
>>> Mark

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