What is Kafka?
Who uses Kafka?
Why developers like Kafka?
Here are some stack decisions, common use cases and reviews by companies and developers who chose Kafka in their tech stack.
When I joined NYT there was already broad dissatisfaction with the LAMP (Linux Apache HTTP Server MySQL PHP) Stack and the front end framework, in particular. So, I wasn't passing judgment on it. I mean, LAMP's fine, you can do good work in LAMP. It's a little dated at this point, but it's not ... I didn't want to rip it out for its own sake, but everyone else was like, "We don't like this, it's really inflexible." And I remember from being outside the company when that was called MIT FIVE when it had launched. And been observing it from the outside, and I was like, you guys took so long to do that and you did it so carefully, and yet you're not happy with your decisions. Why is that? That was more the impetus. If we're going to do this again, how are we going to do it in a way that we're gonna get a better result?
So we're moving quickly away from LAMP, I would say. So, right now, the new front end is React based and using Apollo. And we've been in a long, protracted, gradual rollout of the core experiences.
React is now talking to GraphQL as a primary API. There's a Node.js back end, to the front end, which is mainly for server-side rendering, as well.
Behind there, the main repository for the GraphQL server is a big table repository, that we call Bodega because it's a convenience store. And that reads off of a Kafka pipeline.
To provide employees with the critical need of interactive querying, we’ve worked with Presto, an open-source distributed SQL query engine, over the years. Operating Presto at Pinterest’s scale has involved resolving quite a few challenges like, supporting deeply nested and huge thrift schemas, slow/ bad worker detection and remediation, auto-scaling cluster, graceful cluster shutdown and impersonation support for ldap authenticator.
Our infrastructure is built on top of Amazon EC2 and we leverage Amazon S3 for storing our data. This separates compute and storage layers, and allows multiple compute clusters to share the S3 data.
We have hundreds of petabytes of data and tens of thousands of Apache Hive tables. Our Presto clusters are comprised of a fleet of 450 r4.8xl EC2 instances. Presto clusters together have over 100 TBs of memory and 14K vcpu cores. Within Pinterest, we have close to more than 1,000 monthly active users (out of total 1,600+ Pinterest employees) using Presto, who run about 400K queries on these clusters per month.
Each query submitted to Presto cluster is logged to a Kafka topic via Singer. Singer is a logging agent built at Pinterest and we talked about it in a previous post. Each query is logged when it is submitted and when it finishes. When a Presto cluster crashes, we will have query submitted events without corresponding query finished events. These events enable us to capture the effect of cluster crashes over time.
Each Presto cluster at Pinterest has workers on a mix of dedicated AWS EC2 instances and Kubernetes pods. Kubernetes platform provides us with the capability to add and remove workers from a Presto cluster very quickly. The best-case latency on bringing up a new worker on Kubernetes is less than a minute. However, when the Kubernetes cluster itself is out of resources and needs to scale up, it can take up to ten minutes. Some other advantages of deploying on Kubernetes platform is that our Presto deployment becomes agnostic of cloud vendor, instance types, OS, etc.
#BigData #AWS #DataScience #DataEngineering
The algorithms and data infrastructure at Stitch Fix is housed in #AWS. Data acquisition is split between events flowing through Kafka, and periodic snapshots of PostgreSQL DBs. We store data in an Amazon S3 based data warehouse. Apache Spark on Yarn is our tool of choice for data movement and #ETL. Because our storage layer (s3) is decoupled from our processing layer, we are able to scale our compute environment very elastically. We have several semi-permanent, autoscaling Yarn clusters running to serve our data processing needs. While the bulk of our compute infrastructure is dedicated to algorithmic processing, we also implemented Presto for adhoc queries and dashboards.
Beyond data movement and ETL, most #ML centric jobs (e.g. model training and execution) run in a similarly elastic environment as containers running Python and R code on Amazon EC2 Container Service clusters. The execution of batch jobs on top of ECS is managed by Flotilla, a service we built in house and open sourced (see https://github.com/stitchfix/flotilla-os).
At Stitch Fix, algorithmic integrations are pervasive across the business. We have dozens of data products actively integrated systems. That requires serving layer that is robust, agile, flexible, and allows for self-service. Models produced on Flotilla are packaged for deployment in production using Khan, another framework we've developed internally. Khan provides our data scientists the ability to quickly productionize those models they've developed with open source frameworks in Python 3 (e.g. PyTorch, sklearn), by automatically packaging them as Docker containers and deploying to Amazon ECS. This provides our data scientist a one-click method of getting from their algorithms to production. We then integrate those deployments into a service mesh, which allows us to A/B test various implementations in our product.
For more info:
- Our Algorithms Tour: https://algorithms-tour.stitchfix.com/
- Our blog: https://multithreaded.stitchfix.com/blog/
- Careers: https://multithreaded.stitchfix.com/careers/
#DataScience #DataStack #Data
As we've evolved or added additional infrastructure to our stack, we've biased towards managed services. Most new backing stores are Amazon RDS instances now. We do use self-managed PostgreSQL with TimescaleDB for time-series data—this is made HA with the use of Patroni and Consul.
We also use managed Amazon ElastiCache instances instead of spinning up Amazon EC2 instances to run Redis workloads, as well as shifting to Amazon Kinesis instead of Kafka.
At Heap, we searched for an existing tool that would allow us to express the full range of analyses we needed, index the event definitions that made up the analyses, and was a mature, natively distributed system.
After coming up empty on this search, we decided to compromise on the “maturity” requirement and build our own distributed system around Citus and sharded PostgreSQL. It was at this point that we also introduced Kafka as a queueing layer between the Node.js application servers and Postgres.
If we could go back in time, we probably would have started using Kafka on day one. One of the biggest benefits in adopting Kafka has been the peace of mind that it brings. In an analytics infrastructure, it’s often possible to make data ingestion idempotent.
In Heap’s case, that means that, if anything downstream from Kafka goes down, we won’t lose any data – it’s just going to take a bit longer to get to its destination. We also learned that you want the path between data hitting your servers and your initial persistence layer (in this case, Kafka) to be as short and simple as possible, since that is the surface area where a failure means you can lose customer data. We learned that it’s a very good fit for an analytics tool, since you can handle a huge number of incoming writes with relatively low latency. Kafka also gives you the ability to “replay” the data flow: it’s like a commit log for your whole infrastructure.
#MessageQueue #Databases #FrameworksFullStack
The early data ingestion pipeline at Pinterest used Kafka as the central message transporter, with the app servers writing messages directly to Kafka, which then uploaded log files to S3.
For databases, a custom Hadoop streamer pulled database data and wrote it to S3.
Challenges cited for this infrastructure included high operational overhead, as well as potential data loss occurring when Kafka broker outages led to an overflow of in-memory message buffering.
Jobs that mention Kafka as a desired skillset
- Written at LinkedIn in Scala
- Used by LinkedIn to offload processing of all page and other views
- Defaults to using persistence, uses OS disk cache for hot data (has higher throughput then any of the above having persistence enabled)
- Supports both on-line as off-line processing