016 - Avoiding Event Reordering Effects
Avoid non-intuitive event reordering in Jet pipelines.
Jet processes events in parallel, therefore a total order of events doesn't exist. However, in some use cases, users expect the order of events with the same key to be preserved, to be able to apply stateful processing logic on them.
So far, Jet's default has been to use a round-robin strategy to balance the traffic across parallel processors. Typically, the pipeline starts out with a source that has low parallelism, and the round-robin edge spreads out the data to downstream transforms with full parallelism.
It is also possible to spread out the data using a partitioning scheme so that all events with the same key go to the same downstream processor. This is less flexible and may suffer from data bias, where a handful of keys dominate the traffic volume. On the other hand, its advantage over round-robin is preserving the order among the same-keyed events.
Jet already uses partitioning by key, but only on edges towards stages
that explicitly use a grouping key, such as
aggregate. The aggregating
processor must observe all the events with a given key, but it is not
Jet also has the
mapStateful transform, which is more general than
aggregate and can contain arbitrary stateful logic. This logic is
often order-sensitive, so it breaks down under event reordering.
In this document, we describe ways to avoid the usage of round-robin edges and still preserve the performance potential of the previous implementation.
There are two basic ways to remove event reordering:
- Prevent it from happening in the first place
- Restore it before encountering an order-sensitive transform (stage)
These approaches have different effects on the performance: the first one constrains our freedom to balance the traffic, while the second one introduces a sorting overhead.
The second approach is not feasible most of the time because we don't have a good enough sorting key. The obvious choice, event timestamp, is not good enough because nothing is stopping two events from occurring within the same millisecond.
Therefore we're focusing on the first approach: keep maintaining the original event order at every stage. Let us analyze the situation at each stage, starting from the source. There are two kinds of data sources:
- single-point source (no parallelism)
- partitioned source (parallelized by a grouping key)
If we start out from a single-point source and there's no grouping key we can extract and parallelize on, we have no choice but to process all the data without parallelism. There is no technical challenge to solve here, so we'll focus on the cases where we do have a grouping/partitioning key.
Keep the Order of a Partitioned Source
A partitioned source is both parallel and order-preserving, it preserves the order of the keyed substreams. The current situation in Jet is such that it loses this order in stateless transform stages, through round-robin edges. Also, Jet doesn't automatically capture the partitioning key and propagate it through the pipeline.
Keep it Without the Key
We can even without the partitioning key, simply by keeping the partitions isolated throughout the pipeline. This seems to allow us a level of parallelism equal to the number of partitions in the source. However, it is pretty inflexible:
- Jet's symmetrical execution model means that the source parallelism must be a multiple of the size of the cluster
- Jet cluster may change in size, affecting the parallelism of the source
- Number of partitions in the source is not intended to drive Jet's parallelism
Keep it Using the Key
In streaming pipelines we already wrap every event object into a
JetEvent that holds the metadata. We can add the partitioning key (or
just the partition ID, an integer) there and then apply a partitioned
edge whenever we used to apply the round-robin one. We can apply an
optimization as well, by using the cheaper
isolated edge when
connecting transforms with the same local parallelism.
This approach is more intrusive because it affects the pipelines without
windowed aggregation, which currently don't need the wrapping
Decision: Keep the Order Without the Key
This discussion was more relevant before we decided on this
preserveOrder as property to globally activate/deactivate on the
pipeline. For now, since the user activates this property in the
pipeline, the decision to protect or not protect the order in pipelines
that do not contain these keys is set there.
Implementation of the Preserve Order Approach
We added a setter/getter methods to
Pipeline to activate/deactivate
this approach on the pipeline. The default value for this property is
false that means that do not preserve the order of events. User can
set this property as follows:
and get the value of this property by:
boolean value = pipeline.isPreserveOrder();
Enabling this property hints the Jet to keep the event order the same.
It affects the code in the
Planner. If the incoming edge we would
attach to the transform is a round-robin one (
unicast), then Jet:
Ensure that the local parallelism (LP) of the input vertex of the transform is equal to the PlannerVertex of the upstream transform.
Connect these transform vertices with isolated edges.
Otherwise, if it's a partitioned edge, do nothing.
We applied the policy to enforce equal local parallelism during the
pipeline-to-DAG conversion stage,
Pipeline.toDag(). We also inspected
and adjusted the code in each of the
implementations, switching to the
isolated edge where needed. Here is
the summary of changes that shows how transforms behave when this global
preserve order property is activated:
|Transform or Operator||The summary of changes|
|Map/Filter/FlatMap||Enforce parallelism equal to the upstream, apply the |
|Custom (Core API) Transform||Enforce parallelism equal to the upstream, apply the |
|Partitioned Custom Transform||No changes, it already uses a partitioned edge.|
|Aggregation||Enforce parallelism equal to the upstream, apply the |
|Distinct||No changes. We don't guarantee to emit the very first distinct item.|
|Sorting||To allow stable sorting, enforce parallelism equal to the upstream, apply the |
|HashJoinTransform||Edge-0 (carrying the stream to be enriched): Enforce parallelism equal to the upstream, apply the |
|Stateful Mapping||No changes, stateful mapping already preserves the order of the upstream stage.|
|MergeTransform||Enforce parallelism equal to the minimum of its upstreams, apply the updated version of isolated edge.|
|TimestampTransform||No changes, this transform already uses the |
Not Implementing Now: Smart Job Planning (Abandoned)
Since it requires marking pipeline stages as order sensitive or not, we have abandoned using it in this first implementation. In other words, this approach requires the user to know which stages of the pipeline are order-sensitive or not. I leave this section in the TDD as this approach can be used for fine-grained optimizations. You can also find the implementation we deleted here.
We classified the transforms as order-sensitive and order-insensitive. This allows us to analyze the graph of the pipeline and identify which parts of it need the ordering restrictions. We must protect the order only on a path going from an order-creating stage to a stateful mapping stage. We also classified the transforms into order-propagating and order-creating. Sources create the order, as well as sorting and aggregating stages. For example, if a pipeline contains stateful mapping downstream of an aggregating stage, only that part must preserve the order.
The algorithm to find these order-sensitive subgraphs requires us to
Transform DAG in reverse topological order. This way, at
each stage, we know whether somewhere in its downstream there's an
order-sensitive stage. Here's the algorithm we use:
- Traverse to DAG in the reverse topological order.
- When visiting an order-sensitive transform, activate the ordering prevention logic for this and future transforms until visiting an order-creator transform.
- After visiting an order-creator transform, deactivate the ordering prevention logic for the future transforms until visiting an order-sensitive node.
- Follow this procedure to visit all nodes.
Not Implementing Now: Sorting Events Between Consecutive Watermarks
Jet already offers support for watermarking. If we have a sorting key for events, we can sort the events between the two consecutive watermark according to the sorting key so we can put the events in their initial order. Users will not explicitly define the window. The user will only add stateful mapping (or any order-sensitive stage) to his pipeline and we will add such an intermediate sorting stage during planning.
As the cost of this work, sorting events requires an extra computation, and we have to wait for the closing watermark to arrive. This increases the latency with watermarkPeriod/2 on average. The issue of sparse events can also occur in this approach.
To use this solution, we need a sorting key such as more precise timestamp or mark like a SequenceId for events- Our timestamp precision is low, resulting in overlapping events with the same timestamp, and it is not easy to add this SequenceId (sorting key) to events in a reliable way especially when the total parallelism of the source is greater than one. I just put this approach to be seen.