Fluo Recipes 1.2.0 documentation  >>  Recipes  >>  Export Queue

Export Queue


Fluo is not suited for servicing low latency queries for two reasons. First, the implementation of transactions are designed for throughput. To get throughput, transactions recover lazily from failures and may wait on other transactions. Both of these design decisions can lead to delays of individual transactions, but do not negatively impact throughput. The second reason is that Fluo observers executing transactions will likely cause a large number of random accesses. This could lead to high response time variability for an individual random access. This variability would not impede throughput but would impede the goal of low latency.

One way to make data transformed by Fluo available for low latency queries is to export that data to another system. For example Fluo could run on cluster A, continually transforming a large data set, and exporting data to Accumulo tables on cluster B. The tables on cluster B would service user queries. Fluo Recipes has built in support for exporting to Accumulo, however this recipe can be used to export to systems other than Accumulo, like Redis, Elasticsearch, MySQL, etc.

Exporting data from Fluo is easy to get wrong which is why this recipe exists. To understand what can go wrong consider the following example observer transaction.

public class MyObserver implements StringObserver {

    static final Column UPDATE_COL = new Column("meta", "numUpdates");
    static final Column COUNTER_COL = new Column("meta", "counter1");

    // represents a Query system external to Fluo that is updated by Fluo
    QuerySystem querySystem;

    public void process(TransactionBase tx, String row, Column col) {

       int oldCount = Integer.parseInt(tx.gets(row, COUNTER_COL, "0"));
       int numUpdates = Integer.parseInt(tx.gets(row, UPDATE_COL, "0"));
       int newCount = oldCount + numUpdates;

       tx.set(row, COUNTER_COL, "" + newCount);
       tx.delete(row, UPDATE_COL);

        //Build an inverted index in the query system, based on count from the
        //meta:counter1 column in fluo.  Do this by creating rows for the
        //external query system based on the count.
        String oldCountRow = String.format("%06d", oldCount);
        String newCountRow = String.format("%06d", newCount);

        //add a new entry to the inverted index
        querySystem.insertRow(newCountRow, row);
        //remove the old entry from the inverted index
        querySystem.deleteRow(oldCountRow, row);

The above example would keep the external index up to date beautifully as long as the following conditions are met.

  • Threads executing transactions always complete successfully.
  • Only a single thread ever responds to a notification.

However these conditions are not guaranteed by Fluo. Multiple threads may attempt to process a notification concurrently (only one may succeed). Also at any point in time a transaction may fail (for example the computer executing it may reboot). Both of these problems will occur and will lead to corruption of the external index in the example. The inverted index and Fluo will become inconsistent. The inverted index will end up with multiple entries (that are never cleaned up) for single entity even though the intent is to only have one.

The root of the problem in the example above is that its exporting uncommitted data. There is no guarantee that setting the column <row>:meta:counter1 to newCount will succeed until the transaction is successfully committed. However, newCountRow is derived from newCount and written to the external query system before the transaction is committed (Note : for observers, the transaction is committed by the framework after process(...) is called). So if the transaction fails, the next time it runs it could compute a completely different value for newCountRow (and it would not delete what was written by the failed transaction).


The simple solution to the problem of exporting uncommitted data is to only export committed data. There are multiple ways to accomplish this. This recipe offers a reusable implementation of one method. This recipe has the following elements:

  • An export queue that transactions can add key/values to. Only if the transaction commits successfully will the key/value end up in the queue. A Fluo application can have multiple export queues, each one must have a unique id.
  • When a key/value is added to the export queue, its given a sequence number. This sequence number is based on the transactions start timestamp.
  • Each export queue is configured with an observer that processes key/values that were successfully committed to the queue.
  • When key/values in an export queue are processed, they are deleted so the export queue does not keep any long term data.
  • Key/values in an export queue are placed in buckets. This is done so that all of the updates in a bucket can be processed in a single transaction. This allows an efficient implementation of this recipe in Fluo. It can also lead to efficiency in a system being exported to, if the system can benefit from batching updates. The number of buckets in an export queue is configurable.

There are three requirements for using this recipe :

  • Must configure export queues before initializing a Fluo application.
  • Transactions adding to an export queue must get an instance of the queue using its unique QID.
  • Must create a class or lambda that implements Exporter in order to process exports.

Example Use

This example shows how to incrementally build an inverted index in an external query system using an export queue. The class below is simple POJO used as the value for the export queue.

class CountUpdate {
  public int oldCount;
  public int newCount;

  public CountUpdate(int oc, int nc) {
    this.oldCount = oc;
    this.newCount = nc;

The following code shows how to configure an export queue. This code modifies the FluoConfiguration object with options needed for the export queue. This FluoConfiguration object should be used to initialize the fluo application.

public class FluoApp {

  // export queue id "ici" means inverted count index
  public static final String EQ_ID = "ici";

  static final Column UPDATE_COL = new Column("meta", "numUpdates");
  static final Column COUNTER_COL = new Column("meta", "counter1");

  public static class AppObserverProvider implements ObserverProvider {
    public void provide(Registry obsRegistry, Context ctx) {
      ExportQueue<String, CountUpdate> expQ =
          ExportQueue.getInstance(EQ_ID, ctx.getAppConfiguration());

      // register observer that will queue data to export
      obsRegistry.forColumn(UPDATE_COL, STRONG).useObserver(new MyObserver(expQ));

      // register observer that will export queued data
      expQ.registerObserver(obsRegistry, new CountExporter());

   * Call this method before initializing Fluo.
   * @param fluoConfig the configuration object that will be used to initialize Fluo
  public static void preInit(FluoConfiguration fluoConfig) {

    // Set properties for export queue in Fluo app configuration


Below is updated version of the observer from above that is now using an export queue.

public class MyObserver implements StringObserver {

  private ExportQueue<String, CountUpdate> exportQueue;

  public MyObserver(ExportQueue<String, CountUpdate> exportQueue) {
    this.exportQueue = exportQueue;

  public void process(TransactionBase tx, String row, Column col) {

    int oldCount = Integer.parseInt(tx.gets(row, FluoApp.COUNTER_COL, "0"));
    int numUpdates = Integer.parseInt(tx.gets(row, FluoApp.UPDATE_COL, "0"));
    int newCount = oldCount + numUpdates;

    tx.set(row, FluoApp.COUNTER_COL, "" + newCount);
    tx.delete(row, FluoApp.UPDATE_COL);

    // Because the update to the export queue is part of the transaction,
    // either the update to meta:counter1 is made and an entry is added to
    // the export queue or neither happens.
    exportQueue.add(tx, row, new CountUpdate(oldCount, newCount));

The export queue will call the accept() method on the class below to process entries queued for export. It is possible the call to accept() can fail part way through and/or be called multiple times. In the case of failures the export consumer will be called again with the same data. Its possible for the same export entry to be processed on multiple computers at different times. This can cause exports to arrive out of order. The purpose of the sequence number is to help systems receiving out of order and redundant data.

public class CountExporter implements Exporter<String, CountUpdate> {
  // represents the external query system we want to update from Fluo
  QuerySystem querySystem;

  public void export(Iterator<SequencedExport<String, CountUpdate>> exports) {
    BatchUpdater batchUpdater = querySystem.getBatchUpdater();

    while (exports.hasNext()) {
      SequencedExport<String, CountUpdate> export = exports.next();
      String row = export.getKey();
      CountUpdate uc = export.getValue();
      long seqNum = export.getSequence();

      String oldCountRow = String.format("%06d", uc.oldCount);
      String newCountRow = String.format("%06d", uc.newCount);

      // add a new entry to the inverted index
      batchUpdater.insertRow(newCountRow, row, seqNum);
      // remove the old entry from the inverted index
      batchUpdater.deleteRow(oldCountRow, row, seqNum);

    // flush all of the updates to the external query system


Each export queue stores its data in the Fluo table in a contiguous row range. This row range is defined by using the export queue id as a row prefix for all data in the export queue. So the row range defined by the export queue id should not be used by anything else.

All data stored in an export queue is transient. When an export queue is configured, it will recommend split points using the table optimization process. The number of splits generated by this process can be controlled by setting the number of buckets per tablet when configuring an export queue.


Additions to the export queue will never collide. If two transactions add the same key at around the same time and successfully commit, then two entries with different sequence numbers will always be added to the queue. The sequence number is based on the start timestamp of the transactions.

If the key used to add items to the export queue is deterministically derived from something the transaction is writing to, then that will cause a collision. For example consider the following interleaving of two transactions adding to the same export queue in a manner that will collide. Note, TH1 is shorthand for thread 1, ek() is a function the creates the export key, and ev() is a function that creates the export value.

  1. TH1 : key1 = ek(row1,fam1:qual1)
  2. TH1 : val1 = ev(tx1.get(row1,fam1:qual1), tx1.get(rowA,fam1:qual2))
  3. TH1 : exportQueueA.add(tx1, key1, val1)
  4. TH2 : key2 = ek(row1,fam1:qual1)
  5. TH2 : val2 = ev(tx2.get(row1,fam1:qual1), tx2.get(rowB,fam1:qual2))
  6. TH2 : exportQueueA.add(tx2, key2, val2)
  7. TH1 : tx1.set(row1,fam1:qual1, val1)
  8. TH2 : tx2.set(row1,fam1:qual1, val2)

In the example above only one transaction will succeed because both are setting row1 fam1:qual1. Since adding to the export queue is part of the transaction, only the transaction that succeeds will add something to the queue. If the function ek() in the example is deterministic, then both transactions would have been trying to add the same key to the export queue.

With the above method, we know that transactions adding entries to the queue for the same key must have executed serially. Knowing that transactions which added the same key did not overlap in time makes reasoning about those export entries very simple.

The example below is a slight modification of the example above. In this example both transactions will successfully add entries to the queue using the same key. Both transactions succeed because they are writing to different cells (rowB fam1:qual2 and rowA fam1:qual2). This approach makes it more difficult to reason about export entries with the same key, because the transactions adding those entries could have overlapped in time. This is an example of write skew mentioned in the Percolator paper.

  1. TH1 : key1 = ek(row1,fam1:qual1)
  2. TH1 : val1 = ev(tx1.get(row1,fam1:qual1), tx1.get(rowA,fam1:qual2))
  3. TH1 : exportQueueA.add(tx1, key1, val1)
  4. TH2 : key2 = ek(row1,fam1:qual1)
  5. TH2 : val2 = ev(tx2.get(row1,fam1:qual1), tx2.get(rowB,fam1:qual2))
  6. TH2 : exportQueueA.add(tx2, key2, val2)
  7. TH1 : tx1.set(rowA,fam1:qual2, val1)
  8. TH2 : tx2.set(rowB,fam1:qual2, val2)
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