Technical Architect at Self Employed·

We have a Kafka topic having events of type A and type B. We need to perform an inner join on both type of events using some common field (primary-key). The joined events to be inserted in Elasticsearch.

In usual cases, type A and type B events (with same key) observed to be close upto 15 minutes. But in some cases they may be far from each other, lets say 6 hours. Sometimes event of either of the types never come.

In all cases, we should be able to find joined events instantly after they are joined and not-joined events within 15 minutes.

5 upvotes·536.2K views
Replies (2)

The first solution that came to me is to use upsert to update ElasticSearch:

  1. Use the primary-key as ES document id
  2. Upsert the records to ES as soon as you receive them. As you are using upsert, the 2nd record of the same primary-key will not overwrite the 1st one, but will be merged with it.

Cons: The load on ES will be higher, due to upsert.

To use Flink:

  1. Create a KeyedDataStream by the primary-key
  2. In the ProcessFunction, save the first record in a State. At the same time, create a Timer for 15 minutes in the future
  3. When the 2nd record comes, read the 1st record from the State, merge those two, and send out the result, and clear the State and the Timer if it has not fired
  4. When the Timer fires, read the 1st record from the State and send out as the output record.
  5. Have a 2nd Timer of 6 hours (or more) if you are not using Windowing to clean up the State

Pro: if you have already having Flink ingesting this stream. Otherwise, I would just go with the 1st solution.

Averell Huyen Levan – Medium (
5 upvotes·2 comments·443.6K views
Nilesh Akhade
Nilesh Akhade
July 10th 2020 at 4:04PM

In flink approach, we cant query the data while its being processed (in flink memory). Consequently we have to wait for 6 hours for event to be available. Although this can be worked around by maintaining copy of data being processed for 15mins.

Thank you so much for detailed solution.

What are your views on preferring Apache Flink over Kafka Streams and Apache Spark for this use case?

Ashwani Agarwal
Ashwani Agarwal
July 16th 2020 at 9:41AM

What do you think about having MongoDB for 1st case i/o ES? My point of view is that it's easier to get started with MongoDB.

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Akshaya Rawat

Senior Specialist Platform at Publicis Sapient