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AWS Glue vs Apache Flink: What are the differences?

AWS Glue: Fully managed extract, transform, and load (ETL) service. A fully managed extract, transform, and load (ETL) service that makes it easy for customers to prepare and load their data for analytics; Apache Flink: Fast and reliable large-scale data processing engine. Apache Flink is an open source system for fast and versatile data analytics in clusters. Flink supports batch and streaming analytics, in one system. Analytical programs can be written in concise and elegant APIs in Java and Scala.

AWS Glue and Apache Flink can be primarily classified as "Big Data" tools.

Some of the features offered by AWS Glue are:

  • Easy - AWS Glue automates much of the effort in building, maintaining, and running ETL jobs. AWS Glue crawls your data sources, identifies data formats, and suggests schemas and transformations. AWS Glue automatically generates the code to execute your data transformations and loading processes.
  • Integrated - AWS Glue is integrated across a wide range of AWS services.
  • Serverless - AWS Glue is serverless. There is no infrastructure to provision or manage. AWS Glue handles provisioning, configuration, and scaling of the resources required to run your ETL jobs on a fully managed, scale-out Apache Spark environment. You pay only for the resources used while your jobs are running.

On the other hand, Apache Flink provides the following key features:

  • Hybrid batch/streaming runtime that supports batch processing and data streaming programs.
  • Custom memory management to guarantee efficient, adaptive, and highly robust switching between in-memory and data processing out-of-core algorithms.
  • Flexible and expressive windowing semantics for data stream programs

Apache Flink is an open source tool with 9.35K GitHub stars and 5K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Apache Flink's open source repository on GitHub.

Zalando, sovrn Holdings, and BetterCloud are some of the popular companies that use Apache Flink, whereas AWS Glue is used by Auto Trader, Postmates, and SparkPost. Apache Flink has a broader approval, being mentioned in 20 company stacks & 22 developers stacks; compared to AWS Glue, which is listed in 13 company stacks and 7 developer stacks.

Advice on AWS Glue and Apache Flink

We need to perform ETL from several databases into a data warehouse or data lake. We want to

  • keep raw and transformed data available to users to draft their own queries efficiently
  • give users the ability to give custom permissions and SSO
  • move between open-source on-premises development and cloud-based production environments

We want to use inexpensive Amazon EC2 instances only on medium-sized data set 16GB to 32GB feeding into Tableau Server or PowerBI for reporting and data analysis purposes.

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Replies (3)
John Nguyen

You could also use AWS Lambda and use Cloudwatch event schedule if you know when the function should be triggered. The benefit is that you could use any language and use the respective database client.

But if you orchestrate ETLs then it makes sense to use Apache Airflow. This requires Python knowledge.

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Recommends
AirflowAirflow

Though we have always built something custom, Apache airflow (https://airflow.apache.org/) stood out as a key contender/alternative when it comes to open sources. On the commercial offering, Amazon Redshift combined with Amazon Kinesis (for complex manipulations) is great for BI, though Redshift as such is expensive.

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Recommends

You may want to look into a Data Virtualization product called Conduit. It connects to disparate data sources in AWS, on prem, Azure, GCP, and exposes them as a single unified Spark SQL view to PowerBI (direct query) or Tableau. Allows auto query and caching policies to enhance query speeds and experience. Has a GPU query engine and optimized Spark for fallback. Can be deployed on your AWS VM or on prem, scales up and out. Sounds like the ideal solution to your needs.

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Nilesh Akhade
Technical Architect at Self Employed · | 5 upvotes · 349.5K views

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.

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Replies (2)
Recommends
ElasticsearchElasticsearch

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.

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Akshaya Rawat
Senior Specialist Platform at Publicis Sapient · | 3 upvotes · 223.9K views
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Apache SparkApache Spark

Please refer "Structured Streaming" feature of Spark. Refer "Stream - Stream Join" at https://spark.apache.org/docs/latest/structured-streaming-programming-guide.html#stream-stream-joins . In short you need to specify "Define watermark delays on both inputs" and "Define a constraint on time across the two inputs"

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Vamshi Krishna
Data Engineer at Tata Consultancy Services · | 4 upvotes · 174.2K views

I have to collect different data from multiple sources and store them in a single cloud location. Then perform cleaning and transforming using PySpark, and push the end results to other applications like reporting tools, etc. What would be the best solution? I can only think of Azure Data Factory + Databricks. Are there any alternatives to #AWS services + Databricks?

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Hi all,

Currently, we need to ingest the data from Amazon S3 to DB either Amazon Athena or Amazon Redshift. But the problem with the data is, it is in .PSV (pipe separated values) format and the size is also above 200 GB. The query performance of the timeout in Athena/Redshift is not up to the mark, too slow while compared to Google BigQuery. How would I optimize the performance and query result time? Can anyone please help me out?

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Replies (4)

you can use aws glue service to convert you pipe format data to parquet format , and thus you can achieve data compression . Now you should choose Redshift to copy your data as it is very huge. To manage your data, you should partition your data in S3 bucket and also divide your data across the redshift cluster

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Carlos Acedo
Data Technologies Manager at SDG Group Iberia · | 4 upvotes · 152.5K views
Recommends
Amazon RedshiftAmazon Redshift

First of all you should make your choice upon Redshift or Athena based on your use case since they are two very diferent services - Redshift is an enterprise-grade MPP Data Warehouse while Athena is a SQL layer on top of S3 with limited performance. If performance is a key factor, users are going to execute unpredictable queries and direct and managing costs are not a problem I'd definitely go for Redshift. If performance is not so critical and queries will be predictable somewhat I'd go for Athena.

Once you select the technology you'll need to optimize your data in order to get the queries executed as fast as possible. In both cases you may need to adapt the data model to fit your queries better. In the case you go for Athena you'd also proabably need to change your file format to Parquet or Avro and review your partition strategy depending on your most frequent type of query. If you choose Redshift you'll need to ingest the data from your files into it and maybe carry out some tuning tasks for performance gain.

I'll recommend Redshift for now since it can address a wider range of use cases, but we could give you better advice if you described your use case in depth.

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Alexis Blandin
Recommends
Amazon AthenaAmazon Athena

It depend of the nature of your data (structured or not?) and of course your queries (ad-hoc or predictible?). For example you can look at partitioning and columnar format to maximize MPP capabilities for both Athena and Redshift

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Recommends

you can change your PSV fomat data to parquet file format with AWS GLUE and then your query performance will be improved

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Pros of AWS Glue
Pros of Apache Flink
  • 9
    Managed Hive Metastore
  • 15
    Unified batch and stream processing
  • 8
    Easy to use streaming apis
  • 8
    Out-of-the box connector to kinesis,s3,hdfs
  • 3
    Open Source
  • 2
    Low latency

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What is AWS Glue?

A fully managed extract, transform, and load (ETL) service that makes it easy for customers to prepare and load their data for analytics.

What is Apache Flink?

Apache Flink is an open source system for fast and versatile data analytics in clusters. Flink supports batch and streaming analytics, in one system. Analytical programs can be written in concise and elegant APIs in Java and Scala.

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What are some alternatives to AWS Glue and Apache Flink?
AWS Data Pipeline
AWS Data Pipeline is a web service that provides a simple management system for data-driven workflows. Using AWS Data Pipeline, you define a pipeline composed of the “data sources” that contain your data, the “activities” or business logic such as EMR jobs or SQL queries, and the “schedule” on which your business logic executes. For example, you could define a job that, every hour, runs an Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR)–based analysis on that hour’s Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) log data, loads the results into a relational database for future lookup, and then automatically sends you a daily summary email.
Airflow
Use Airflow to author workflows as directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) of tasks. The Airflow scheduler executes your tasks on an array of workers while following the specified dependencies. Rich command lines utilities makes performing complex surgeries on DAGs a snap. The rich user interface makes it easy to visualize pipelines running in production, monitor progress and troubleshoot issues when needed.
Apache Spark
Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like streaming, interactive queries, and machine learning.
Talend
It is an open source software integration platform helps you in effortlessly turning data into business insights. It uses native code generation that lets you run your data pipelines seamlessly across all cloud providers and get optimized performance on all platforms.
Alooma
Get the power of big data in minutes with Alooma and Amazon Redshift. Simply build your pipelines and map your events using Alooma’s friendly mapping interface. Query, analyze, visualize, and predict now.
See all alternatives