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DStream Sources

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5 April 2015


Basic Sources

We have already taken a look at the ssc.socketTextStream(...) in the quick example which creates a DStream from text data received over a TCP socket connection. Besides sockets, the StreamingContext API provides methods for creating DStreams from files and Akka actors as input sources.

  • File Streams: For reading data from files on any file system compatible with the HDFS API (that is, HDFS, S3, NFS, etc.), a DStream can be created as
streamingContext.fileStream[KeyClass, ValueClass, InputFormatClass](dataDirectory)
streamingContext.fileStream<KeyClass, ValueClass, InputFormatClass>(dataDirectory);
streamingContext.textFileStream(dataDirectory)

Spark Streaming will monitor the directory dataDirectory and process any files created in that directory (files written in nested directories not supported). Note that

  • The files must have the same data format.
  • The files must be created in the dataDirectory by atomically moving or renaming them into the data directory.
  • Once moved, the files must not be changed. So if the files are being continuously appended, the new data will not be read.

For simple text files, there is an easier method streamingContext.textFileStream(dataDirectory). And file streams do not require running a receiver, hence does not require allocating cores.

Python API fileStream is not available in the Python API, only textFileStream is available.

  • Streams based on Custom Actors: DStreams can be created with data streams received through Akka actors by using streamingContext.actorStream(actorProps, actor-name). See the Custom Receiver Guide for more details.

    Python API Since actors are available only in the Java and Scala libraries, actorStream is not available in the Python API.

  • Queue of RDDs as a Stream: For testing a Spark Streaming application with test data, one can also create a DStream based on a queue of RDDs, using streamingContext.queueStream(queueOfRDDs). Each RDD pushed into the queue will be treated as a batch of data in the DStream, and processed like a stream.

For more details on streams from sockets, files, and actors, see the API documentations of the relevant functions in StreamingContext for Scala, JavaStreamingContext for Java, and StreamingContext for Python.

Advanced Sources

Python API As of Spark 1.3, out of these sources, only Kafka is available in the Python API. We will add more advanced sources in the Python API in future.

This category of sources require interfacing with external non-Spark libraries, some of them with complex dependencies (e.g., Kafka and Flume). Hence, to minimize issues related to version conflicts of dependencies, the functionality to create DStreams from these sources have been moved to separate libraries, that can be linked to explicitly when necessary. For example, if you want to create a DStream using data from Twitter’s stream of tweets, you have to do the following.

  1. Linking: Add the artifact spark-streaming-twitter_2.10 to the SBT/Maven project dependencies.
  2. Programming: Import the TwitterUtils class and create a DStream with TwitterUtils.createStream as shown below.
  3. Deploying: Generate an uber JAR with all the dependencies (including the dependency spark-streaming-twitter_2.10 and its transitive dependencies) and then deploy the application. This is further explained in the Deploying section.
import org.apache.spark.streaming.twitter._
TwitterUtils.createStream(ssc)
import org.apache.spark.streaming.twitter.*;
TwitterUtils.createStream(jssc);

Note that these advanced sources are not available in the Spark shell, hence applications based on these advanced sources cannot be tested in the shell. If you really want to use them in the Spark shell you will have to download the corresponding Maven artifact’s JAR along with its dependencies and it in the classpath.

Some of these advanced sources are as follows.

Custom Sources

Python API This is not yet supported in Python.

Input DStreams can also be created out of custom data sources. All you have to do is implement an user-defined receiver (see next section to understand what that is) that can receive data from the custom sources and push it into Spark. See the Custom Receiver Guide for details.

Receiver Reliability

There can be two kinds of data sources based on their reliability. Sources (like Kafka and Flume) allow the transferred data to be acknowledged. If the system receiving data from these reliable sources acknowledge the received data correctly, it can be ensured that no data gets lost due to any kind of failure. This leads to two kinds of receivers.

  1. Reliable Receiver - A reliable receiver correctly acknowledges a reliable source that the data has been received and stored in Spark with replication.
  2. Unreliable Receiver - These are receivers for sources that do not support acknowledging. Even for reliable sources, one may implement an unreliable receiver that do not go into the complexity of acknowledging correctly.

The details of how to write a reliable receiver are discussed in the Custom Receiver Guide.


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