How you can Deal with Nested Knowledge in Apache Druid vs Rockset

Apache Druid is a distributed real-time analytics database generally used with consumer exercise streams, clickstream analytics, and Web of issues (IoT) gadget analytics. Druid is commonly useful in use circumstances that prioritize real-time ingestion and quick queries.

Druid’s listing of options contains individually compressed and listed columns, varied stream ingestion connectors and time-based partitioning. It’s identified to carry out effectively when used as designed: to carry out quick queries on massive quantities of knowledge. Nonetheless, utilizing Druid could be problematic when used outdoors its regular parameters — for instance, to work with nested information.

On this article, we’ll talk about ingesting and utilizing nested information in Apache Druid. Druid doesn’t retailer nested information within the type usually present in, say, a JSON dataset. So, ingesting nested information requires us to flatten our information earlier than or throughout ingestion.

Flattening Your Knowledge

We are able to flatten information earlier than or throughout ingestion utilizing Druid’s discipline flattening specification. We are able to additionally use different instruments and scripts to assist flatten nested information. Our remaining necessities and import information construction decide the flattening alternative.

A number of textual content processors assist flatten information, and probably the most widespread is jq. jq is like JSON’s grep, and a jq command is sort of a filter that outputs to the usual output. Chaining filters by way of piping permits for highly effective processing operations on JSON information.

For the next two examples, we’ll create the governors.json file. Utilizing your favourite textual content editor, create the file and replica the next traces into it:

"state": "Mississippi",
"shortname": "MS",
"info": {"governor": "Tate Reeves"},
"county": [
{"name": "Neshoba", "population": 30000},
{"name": "Hinds", "population": 250000},
{"name": "Atlanta", "population": 19000}
"state": "Michigan",
"shortname": "MI",
"data": {"governor": "Gretchen Whitmer"},
"county": [
{"name": "Missauki", "population": 15000},
{"name": "Benzie", "population": 17000}

With jq put in, run the next from the command line:

$ jq --arg delim '_' 'scale back (tostream|choose(size==2)) as $i ({};
    .[[$i[0][]|tostring]|be a part of($delim)] = $i[1]
)' governors.json

The outcomes are:

Probably the most versatile data-flattening technique is to put in writing a script or program. Any programming language will do for this. For demonstration functions, let’s use a recursive technique in Python.

def flatten_nested_json(nested_json):
    out = {}

    def flatten(njson, identify=""):
        if sort(njson) is dict:
            for path in njson:
                flatten(njson[path], identify + path + ".")
        elif sort(njson) is listing:
            i = 0
            for path in njson:
                flatten(path, identify + str(i) + ".")
                i += 1
            out[name[:-1]] = njson

    return out

The outcomes seem like this:


Flattening may also be achieved throughout the ingestion course of. The FlattenSpec is a part of Druid’s ingestion specification. Druid applies it first throughout the ingestion course of.

The column names outlined right here can be found to different components of the ingestion specification. The FlattenSpec solely applies when the information format is JSON, Avro, ORC, or Parquet. Of those, JSON is the one one which requires no additional extensions in Druid. On this article, we’re discussing ingestion from JSON information sources.

The FlattenSpec takes the type of a JSON construction. The next instance is from the Druid documentation and covers all of our dialogue factors within the specification:


The useFieldDiscovery flag is about to true above. This permits the ingestion specification to entry all fields on the foundation node. If this flag had been to be false, we’d add an entry for every column we wished to import.

Along with root, there are two different discipline definition sorts. The path discipline definition incorporates an expression of sort JsonPath. The “jq” sort incorporates an expression with a subset of jq instructions referred to as jackson-jq. The ingestion course of makes use of these instructions to flatten our information.

To discover this in additional depth, we’ll use a subset of IMDB, transformed to JSON format. The information has the next construction:


Since we aren’t importing all of the fields, we don’t use the automated discipline discovery choice.


Our FlattenSpec appears like this:



The newly created columns within the ingested information are displayed under:


Querying Flattened Knowledge

On the floor, plainly querying denormalized information shouldn’t current an issue. But it surely is probably not as easy because it appears. The one non-simple information sort Druid helps is multi-value string dimensions.

The relationships between our columns dictate how we flatten your information. For instance, think about a knowledge construction to find out these three information factors:

  • The distinct depend of films launched in Italy OR launched within the USA
  • The distinct depend of films launched in Italy AND launched within the USA
  • The distinct depend of films which are westerns AND launched within the USA

Easy flattening of the nation and style columns produces the next:


With the above construction, it’s not doable to get the distinct depend of films which are launched in Italy AND launched within the USA as a result of there aren’t any rows the place nation = “Italy” AND nation = “USA”.

Another choice is to import information as multi-value dimensions:


On this case, we will decide the “Italy” AND/OR “USA” quantity utilizing the LIKE operator, however not the connection between nations and genres. One group proposed an alternate flattening, the place Druid imports each the information and listing:


On this case, all three distinct counts are doable utilizing:

  • Nation = ‘Italy’ OR County = ‘USA’
  • Nations LIKE ‘Italy’ AND Nations LIKE ‘USA’
  • Style = ‘Western’ AND Nations LIKE ‘USA’

Options to Flattening Knowledge

In Druid, it’s preferable to make use of flat information sources. But, flattening might not at all times be an choice. For instance, we might need to change dimension values post-ingestion with out re-ingesting. Beneath these circumstances, we need to use a lookup for the dimension.

Additionally, in some circumstances, joins are unavoidable as a result of nature and use of the information. Beneath these situations, we need to break up the information into a number of separate recordsdata throughout ingestion. Then, we will adapt the affected dimension to hyperlink to the “exterior” information whether or not by lookup or be a part of.

The memory-resident lookup is quick by design. All lookup tables should slot in reminiscence, and when this isn’t doable, a be a part of is unavoidable. Sadly, joins come at a efficiency value in Druid. To indicate this value, we’ll carry out a easy be a part of on a knowledge supply. Then we’ll measure the time to run the question with and with out the be a part of.

To make sure this take a look at was measurable, we put in Druid on an previous 4GB PC working Ubuntu Server. We then ran a collection of queries tailored from these Xavier Léauté used when benchmarking Druid in 2014. Though this isn’t the perfect strategy to becoming a member of information, it does present how a easy be a part of impacts efficiency.


Because the chart demonstrates, every be a part of makes the question run a number of seconds slower — as much as twice as gradual as queries with out joins. This delay provides up as your variety of joins will increase.

Nested Knowledge in Druid vs Rockset

Apache Druid is sweet at doing what it was designed to do. Points happen when Druid works outdoors these parameters, akin to when utilizing nested information.

Obtainable options to deal with nested information in Druid are, at greatest, clunky. A change within the enter information requires adapting your ingestion technique. That is true whether or not utilizing Druid’s native flattening or some type of pre-processing.

Distinction this with Rockset, a real-time analytics database that totally helps the ingestion and querying of nested information, making it out there for quick queries. The power to deal with nested information as is saves a number of information engineering effort in flattening information, or in any other case working round this limitation, as we explored earlier within the weblog.

Rockset indexes each particular person discipline with out the consumer having to carry out any handbook specification. There is no such thing as a requirement to flatten nested objects or arrays at ingestion time. An instance of how nested objects and arrays are introduced in Rockset is proven under:


In case your want is for flat information ingestion, then Druid could also be an acceptable alternative. For those who want deeply nested information, nested arrays, or real-time outcomes from normalized information, think about a database like Rockset as a substitute. Be taught extra about how Rockset and Druid evaluate.