The Top Five Challenges of Data Lakes and how to overcome them with a Data Lakehouse
BimlFlex's next version will support Databricks automation, allowing users to integrate Databricks into their data pipelines seamlessly, extending to all layers from Staging to Data Mart, and our preview has already been well-received by some of our customers. In addition, our upcoming blog post will provide details on how to configure and execute a fully automated Databricks solution.
This Databricks automation support is a significant development for businesses seeking to integrate Databricks into their existing data pipelines. By streamlining the integration process, users can save time and reduce costs. The resulting benefits of increased efficiency and improved data quality can help businesses remain competitive in a constantly evolving marketplace. In addition, BimlFlex with Databricks automation support ensures consistent and accurate data processing, ultimately leading to more robust data insights and decision-making for businesses of all sizes.
In our upcoming blog post, we'll dive into how to set up a fully automated Databricks solution. But first, let's discuss why this is significant.
Data lakes are a valuable source of data. However, their immense size and varied quality can be daunting. Accuracy is paramount when leveraging this vast resource for analytics; otherwise, decision-making may lead to unreliable results due to incomplete or inconsistent sources containing errors. Quality control and proper management must happen early if these powerful tools reach their potential.
Organizations can address data challenges by deploying robust validation and cleansing processes to ensure their data is accurate and consistent, ensuring accuracy, uniformity, and confidence in decision-making. First, ensure data quality by efficiently using Databricks or Azure Synapse Analytics to implement a Lakehouse. Next, transform your data into a uniform format and enhance accuracy with predefined rules for validating all values. Finally, Speed up your analysis process to ensure accuracy - implement BimlFlex automation and avoid the potential risks of formatting discrepancies.
Another challenge with data lakes is ensuring proper data governance. This includes controlling who has access to the data, enforcing data access policies, and tracking how the data is used. Without appropriate governance measures in place, a breach of security could put crucial information and your business objectives at risk.
BimlFlex automation for Databricks and Azure Synapse has advanced data governance features, and organizations can take proactive measures to secure their data and maintain high-quality standards. Implementing comprehensive tools such as access controls, lineage tracking, and discovery will ensure that companies meet the necessary security requirements while staying compliant with government regulations and leading to accurate results backed by reliable information.
Combining data from various sources and in different formats can be arduous. However, with the right preparation strategy, making sense of what would otherwise seem like chaos is possible. Cleaning and preparing the data for analysis can require significant time and effort.
Organizations can leverage Azure Data Factory and Databricks for cleansing & transformation to ensure the collected data is consistent, ready for analysis and optimally utilized. In addition, Databricks and Azure Synapse solutions enable corporations to explore their in-house trove of information with comprehensive data catalogue features that facilitate quick search capabilities allowing seamless content understanding and structure visibility!
Data lakes are a great source of organizational data, but they also present the risk of creating remote repositories that inhibit collaboration and waste resources. In addition, without visibility across departments, redundant effort can occur while crucial information remains in silos and ultimately diminishing the impactful potential of all corporate data. This can lead to duplication of effort and a lack of visibility into the available data across the organization.
Organizations can overcome data silos using BimlFlex to automate Databricks and Azure Synapse solutions creating a centralized data lakehouse. This single source creates an integrated and unified view of their data by providing easy access to different sources and departments. Additionally, it enables organizations to combine disparate datasets into one cohesive unit, allowing for more informed decisions based on actionable insights derived from accurate information. By implementing a data automation solution with BimlFlex, they can leverage valuable intelligence within their systems while achieving greater efficiency throughout operations due to improved collaboration among stakeholders in business-critical activities.
Data lake implementation can be a formidable undertaking for organizations with limited personnel and budget. This can require specialized skills and resources, which can challenge some organizations. Employing automation with BimlFlex can cut costs drastically. Managed services like Databricks and Azure Synapse present a Lakehouse solution that simplifies implementation while minimizing associated overhead and leading to maximum savings without compromising performance!
A Data Lakehouse is a powerful data management platform that can help organizations store, process, and analyze large amounts of data in a scalable, secure, and efficient manner. Combining this with BimlFlex data solution automation, a Lakehouse for processing using Databricks or Azure Synapse can improve efficiency and scalability. If you are interested in automating your Lakehouse solution, we can help. Our expert team has extensive experience with the platform and can offer guidance on how to automate your data management processes best. Contact us today to learn more.
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Automating Change Data Capture on Azure Data Factory: Streamline Your Data Integration with BimlFlex
BimlFlex is a metadata-driven framework that enables customers to automate data integration solutions. One of the key areas where it can provide significant value is automating Microsoft SQL Server Change Data Capture (CDC) on Azure Data Factory (ADF). By using BimlFlex, customers can create and deploy efficient, scalable, and reusable CDC solutions in ADF with significantly less to no manual effort, reducing errors and improving the overall efficiency of the process. In this blog post, we will discuss how BimlFlex can be used to automate CDC on ADF, the benefits of doing so, and provide a step-by-step guide for implementing CDC on ADF using BimlFlex.
Supported Target Platforms
BimlFlex offers robust support for various target platforms. The platform currently supports a range of target platforms that enable customers to automate data integration solutions, including Azure Synapse Analytics, Snowflake, Databricks, Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Managed Instance, and Microsoft SQL Server. BimlFlex generates all the necessary artifacts required for optimal CDC data integration, including data pipelines, data transformations, stored procedure and notebooks.
In addition to providing reliable and efficient CDC automation, BimlFlex integrates seamlessly with popular source control solutions like GitHub and Azure DevOps. This integration makes it easy for customers to manage and track changes to their artifacts, ensuring smooth collaboration and minimizing errors.
By providing support for multiple target platforms, BimlFlex offers customers the flexibility to choose the platform that best fits their needs, and to integrate with other services, like ADF, to create more comprehensive and efficient solutions. Whether you are using Azure Synapse Analytics for large-scale data warehousing or Microsoft SQL Server for on-premise applications, BimlFlex provides a powerful and versatile framework that streamlines CDC automation, making data integration more efficient and reliable.
Requirements to Automate CDC on ADF
When implementing automation with BimlFlex for CDC on ADF, there are several things to consider to ensure the success of your data integration solution.
Full Initial Load
When implementing Change Data Capture (CDC) on Azure Data Factory (ADF), it's important to consider the initial load of data from non-CDC tables. This involves capturing the Log Sequence Number (LSN) as a high watermark for the following delta or change data capture loads. The LSN is a unique identifier that SQL Server uses to track changes made to the database, making it crucial to capture accurately. By ensuring a successful initial load and accurate capture of LSN, you can improve the effectiveness and reliability of your CDC process.
Overcoming Challenges with In-built CDC Functions
One of the most common issues with built-in CDC functions is the potential failure of the
cdc.fn_cdc_get_all_changes_<capture_instance> function when it returns no rows within the given from_lsn and to_lsn range. Instead of simply producing no rows, this can cause the entire pipeline to fail. To avoid this, it's important to check for any changes in the process before proceeding. If there are no changes, the pipeline can be exited, and if there are changes, the main activity can be called to ingest and process the delta. Once this is done, the last LSN should be captured and saved as the high watermark for the next load, ensuring a successful and reliable CDC process.
In certain cases, you may need to restart CDC, such as when you need to compare and reload all data against your current dataset, which may occur when restoring your database or reinitializing change data capture on the source. To facilitate this process, BimlFlex offers the
PsaDeltaUseHashDiff setting, which adds a
RowHashDiff column that enables a full comparison when reinitializing CDC from the source. This feature can greatly simplify the restart process and ensure the accuracy and completeness of your data integration solutions.
How BimlFlex Automate CDC for ADF
To handle the requirements of potential full reloads and the limitations of CDC functions in handling queries for no data returned, we separated the parameters (
GetParameter) from the main activity (
Main Activity). This separation ensures that the correct process - Initial Load, Delta Load or Full Reload - is determined based on the captured parameters, streamlining the process and avoiding potential errors. By doing so, the CDC automation process using BimlFlex becomes more efficient and reliable, resulting in greater productivity and accuracy.
The following graphic illustrates the implementation of the
GetParameter activity that handles all the logic to set the
This activity retrieves the previous load's high watermark value (__from_lsn) from the BimlCatalog or sets a default value '0x00000000000000000001' on
This activity sets the value of the __from_lsn variable to the value retrieved Lkp__from_lsn activity.
The activity sets the value of the
IsFullLoad variable. The expression evaluates if the
IsInitialLoad parameter is set to
true or if the high watermark value ( __from_lsn) variable is equal to '0x00000000000000000001' the default value.
@if(or(pipeline().parameters.IsInitialLoad, equals(variables('__from_lsn'), '0x00000000000000000001')), true, false)
This activity retrieves the minimum LSN value of
<capture_instance> by running the sys.fn_cdc_get_min_lsn function. The default value of __min_lsn is
SELECT ISNULL(CONVERT(NVARCHAR(256), sys.fn_cdc_get_min_lsn ('<capture_instance>'), 1), '0x00000000000000000001') AS [__min_lsn]
This activity sets the value of the __min_lsn variable to the value retrieved in the
Lkp__min_lsn Script activity.
This activity executes and retrieves the maximum value of __max_lsn by running the sys.fn_cdc_get_max_lsn function. The default value of __max_lsn is '0x00000000000000000001'.
SELECT ISNULL(CONVERT(NVARCHAR(256), sys.fn_cdc_get_max_lsn(), 1), '0x00000000000000000001') AS [__max_lsn]
This activity sets the value of the __max_lsn variable to the value retrieved in the
Lkp__max_lsn Script activity.
This activity retrieves the value of __to_lsn by running the sys.fn_cdc_map_time_to_lsn function. The value of __to_lsn is determined by the pipeline parameter BatchStartTime and a default value of '0x00000000000000000001'.
@concat('SELECT ISNULL(CONVERT(NVARCHAR(256), sys.fn_cdc_map_time_to_lsn(''largest less than or equal'', ''', formatDateTime(pipeline().parameters.BatchStartTime, 'yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss.fff'), '''), 1), ''0x00000000000000000001'') AS [__to_lsn]')
This activity sets the value of the
__to_lsn or next load high watermark. There is quite a lot going on, and it depends on the
Lkp__to_lsn activities. This expression first checks whether the
IsFullLoad variable is true and, if so, returns the value of the
__max_lsn variable. If
IsFullLoad is false, the expression evaluates if the
__to_lsn value is '0x00000000000000000001', the expression returns the value of the
__min_lsn variable. Otherwise, it returns the
@if(variables('IsFullLoad'), variables('__max_lsn'), if(equals(activity('Lkp__to_lsn').output.resultSets.rows.__to_lsn, '0x00000000000000000001'), variables('__min_lsn'), activity('Lkp__to_lsn').output.resultSets.rows.__to_lsn))
This activity sets the value of the
__from_lsn variable if the current high watermark value
__from_lsn is smaller than the low endpoint,
__min_lsn of the capture instance variables.
@if(less(activity('Lkp__from_lsn').output.firstRow.VariableValue, variables('__min_lsn')), variables('__min_lsn'), activity('Lkp__from_lsn').output.firstRow.VariableValue)
The blog post discusses the benefits of using BimlFlex for automating CDC on ADF, which can save time, reduce errors and improve the overall efficiency of the process. It also outlines key considerations for implementing automation with BimlFlex for CDC on ADF, including full load or initial load, overcoming challenges with in-built CDC functions, and restarting CDC. The post also gives you a behind the scenes look at the generated output and explains how the GetParameter and Main Activity can be separated to ensure the correct process is being executed.
BimlFlex provides a powerful metadata-driven framework that simplifies the implementation of CDC on ADF, enabling customers to create scalable and reusable solutions. It also provides a step-by-step guide for implementing CDC on ADF using BimlFlex, ensuring a seamless and reliable process.
We encourage customers to try BimlFlex for themselves and take advantage of the benefits it provides. Additional resources are available for further learning, including the BimlFlex documentation, webinars, and tutorials.
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