SQL Query Releases Serverless Transformation and Partitioning of Data in Open Formats
5 min read
IBM Cloud SQL Query opens up serverless data transformation in Cloud Object Storage
We’re excited to announce that IBM Cloud SQL Query now allows you to specify the format and layout in which a result for a SQL query is written. By adding these abilities, we’re opening up serverless data transformation in IBM Cloud Object Storage.
SQL Query is a serverless, interactive querying service used for analyzing data stored in Cloud Object Storage. Users can query data directly where it is stored with no ETL, databases, or infrastructure to manage and seamlessly create an active workspace for a range of big data analytics use cases. With these latest enhancements, users can now layout data for better efficiency, cost, and speed with the power of ANSI SQL.
You can now add an
INTO clause like this to your SQL statement:
INTO clause, you can now control the format of your result. Replace
STORED AS PARQUET with
STORED AS ORC,
STORED AS JSON,
STORED AS CSV, or
STORED AS AVRO as necessary for your use case.
This means that you can now transform your data from a format that doesn’t give optimal query performance, like CSV or JSON, to a very query friendly format like Apache Parquet with a single statement.
Data partitioning layout transformation
To optimize layout of your data, you may already be following the best practices in this blog article. SQL Query now helps you to re-layout your data for better efficiency, cost, and speed by simply running a single SQL statement. In addition to the format, you can also specify a custom data partitioning in the new
SQL Query can produce three types of partitioning layouts (see blog article):
1. Generate hive-style partitioning for one or more columns of your result data:
When querying the result with subsequent queries, SQL Query or any runtime that is aware of hive-style partitioning can exploit information encoded into the object names to avoid unnecessary access to object storage.
2. Segmenting results into a fixed number of objects:
This is very useful if you want to optimize layout for processing with an IBM Analytics Engine using an Apache Spark cluster. By aligning the number of objects with the amount of nodes and executors, huge gains in efficiency and speed are possible.
3. Creating paginated result objects:
Using this clause is very useful if you’re building an application and want to paginate results. By writing one object per page, your application can easily page through the result by fetching one object that represents a single page.
If you don’t specify an
INTO clause, we’ll keep writing the result as a single CSV.
This means that conversion from one format to another also becomes a lot easier. This blog post that describes the previous process of how to convert CSV to Apache Parquet can now be radically simplified into a single statement.
The table below compares query cost and run times between different data formats and layouts. All data sets hold 2.47 GB data, once stored as CSV, once as Parquet, and once as partitioned Parquet.
Both Parquet data sets used in this example have been generated using the following statements. Adapt them to your data to optimize dataset layout and see similar benefits.
Converting CSV to Parquet:
Converting CSV to Parquet with Hive-Style partitioning on
Just by converting to Parquet—a columnar, compressed format—the query executes roughly seven times (6.8x) faster, while the cost for the query is reduced from $0.12 to $0.003 (38x less cost). When data is partitioned in a query efficient way, the cost drops even further. Query price is only the minimum charge per query (10 Mb or $0.0047) for this example.
When using the IBM Cloud REST API directly, you can now omit the
result_target parameter if you specify an
INTO clause. We’ve also updated the sql query python SDK to include support for these new features.
You can also use this self-service Starter Notebook to interactively experiment with the new data partitioning capabilities.
For more information, consult the IBM Cloud SQL Query documentation.