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Comparing Hadoop Oracle loaders

Oracle put a lot of effort into highlighting the upcoming Oracle Hadoop Loader (OHL) at OOW 2011 – it was even highlighted in Andy Mendelsohn's keynote.  It’s great to see Oracle recognizing Hadoop as a top tier technology!

However, there were a few comments made about the “other loaders” that I wanted to clarify.  At Quest, I lead the team that writes the Quest Data Connector for Oracle and Hadoop (let’s call it the “Quest Connector”) which is a plug-in to the Apache Hadoop SQOOP framework and which provides optimized bidirectional data loads between Oracle and Hadoop.  Below I’ve outlined some of the high level features of the Quest Connector in the context of the  Oracle-Hadoop loaders.  Of course, I got my information on the Oracle loader from technical sessions at OOW so I may have misunderstood and/or the facts may change between now and the eventual release of that loader.  But I wanted to go on the record with the following:

  • All parties (Quest, Cloudera, Oracle) agree that native SQOOP (eg, without the Quest plug-in) will be sub-optimal: it will not exploit Oracle direct path reads or writes, will not use partitioning, nologging, etc.   Both Cloudera and Quest recommend that if are doing transfers between Oracle and Hadoop that you use SQOOP with the Quest connector.
  • The Quest connector is a free, open source plug in to SQOOP, which is itself a free, open source software product.  Both are licensed under the Apache 2.0 open source license.  Licensing for the Oracle Loader has not been announced, but Oracle has said it will be a commercial product and therefore presumably not free under all circumstances.   It’s definitely not open source.
  • The Quest loader is available now (version 1.4), the Oracle loader is in beta and will be released commercially in 2012.
  • The Oracle loader moves data from Hadoop to Oracle only.  The Quest loader can also move data from Oracle to Hadoop.   We import data into Hadoop from an Oracle database usually 5+ times faster than SQOOP alone.
  • Both Quest and the Oracle loader use direct path writes when loading from Hadoop to Oracle.  Oracle do say they use OCI calls which may be faster than the direct path SQL calls used by Quest in some circumstances.   But I’d suggest that the main optimization in each case is direct path.
  • Both Quest and the Oracle loader can do parallel direct path writes to a partitioned Oracle table.  In the case of the Quest loader, we create partitions based on the job and mapper ids.  Oracle can use logical keys and write into existing partitioned tables.  My understanding is that they will shuffle and sort the data in the mappers to direct the output to the appropriate partition in bulk.  They also do statistical sampling which may improve the load balancing when you are inserting into an existing table. 
  • The Quest loader can update existing tables, and can do Merge operations that insert or updates rows depending on the existence of a matching key value.  My understanding is that the Oracle loader will do inserts only - at least initially.
  • Both the Quest connector and the Oracle loader have some form of GUI.  The Oracle GUI I believe is in the commercial ODI product.  The Quest GUI is in the free Toad for Cloud Databases Eclipse plug-in.  I’ve put a screenshot of that at the end of the post.
  • The Quest connector uses the SQOOP framework which is a Apache Hadoop sub-project maintained by multiple companies most notably Cloudera.  This means that the Hadoop side of the product was written by people with a lot of experience in Hadoop.   Cloudera and Quest jointly support SQOOP when used with the Quest connector so you get the benefit of having very experienced Hadoop people involved as well as Quest people who know Oracle very well.   Obviously Oracle knows Oracle better than anyone, but people like me have been working with Oracle for decades and have credibility I think when it comes to Oracle performance optimization.

Again,  I’m happy to see Oracle embracing Hadoop;  I just wanted to set the record straight with regard to our technology which exists today as a free tool for optmized bi-directional data transfer between Oracle and Hadoop. 

You can download the Quest Connector at  The documentation is at

15-09-2011 3-01-01 PM import

21-09-2011 9-21-41 AM Hadoop solutions


MongoDB, Oracle and Toad for Cloud Databases

We recently added support for MongoDB in Toad for Cloud Databases, so I took the opportunity of writing my first MongoDB Java program and taking the Toad functionality for a test drive.

MongoDB is a non-relational, document oriented database that is extremely popular with developers (see for instance this Hacker news poll).   Toad for cloud databases allows you to work with non-relational data using SQL by normalizing the data structures and converting SQL to the non-relational calls.

I wanted to get started by creating some MongoDB collections with familiar data.  So I wrote a Java program that takes data out of the Oracle sample schema, and loads it into Mongo as documents.  The program is here.


The key parts of the code are shown here:

   1: while ( { // For each customer
   2:     String custId = custRs.getString("CUST_ID");
   3:     String custFirstName = custRs.getString("CUST_FIRST_NAME");
   4:     String custLastName = custRs.getString("CUST_LAST_NAME");
   6:     //Create the customer document 
   7:     BasicDBObject custDoc = new BasicDBObject();
   8:     custDoc.put("_id", custId);
   9:     custDoc.put("CustomerFirstName", custFirstName);
  10:     custDoc.put("CustomerLastName", custLastName);
  11:     // Create the product sales document 
  12:     BasicDBObject customerProducts = new BasicDBObject();
  13:     custSalesQry.setString(1, custId);
  14:     ResultSet prodRs = custSalesQry.executeQuery();
  15:     Integer prodCount = 0;
  16:     while ( { //For each product sale 
  17:         String  timeId=prodRs.getString("TIME_ID"); 
  18:         Integer prodId = prodRs.getInt("PROD_ID");
  19:         String prodName = prodRs.getString("PROD_NAME");
  20:         Float Amount = prodRs.getFloat("AMOUNT_SOLD");
  21:         Float Quantity = prodRs.getFloat("QUANTITY_SOLD");
  22:         // Create the line item document 
  23:         BasicDBObject productItem = new BasicDBObject();            
  24:         productItem.put("prodId", prodId);
  25:         productItem.put("prodName", prodName);
  26:         productItem.put("Amount", Amount);
  27:         productItem.put("Quantity", Quantity);
  28:         // Put the line item in the salesforcustomer document 
  29:         customerProducts.put(timeId, productItem);
  30:         if (prodCount++ > 4) { // Just 5 for this demo
  31:             prodCount = 0;
  32:             break;
  33:         }
  34:     }
  35:     // put the salesforcustomer document in the customer document 
  36:     custDoc.put("SalesForCustomer", customerProducts);
  38:     System.out.println(custDoc);
  39:     custColl.insert(custDoc);  //insert the customer 
  40:     custCount++;
  42: }

Here’s how it works:

Lines Description
1-4 We loop through each customer,   retrieving the key customer details
7-10 We create a basic MongoDB document that contains the customer details
12 We create another MongoDB document that will contain all the product sales for the customer
16-21 Fetching the data for an individual sale for that customer from Oracle
23-27 We create a document for that single sale
29 Add the sale to the document containing all the sales
36 Add all the sales to the customer
39 Add the customer document to the collection


The MongoDB API is very straight forward; much easier than similar APIs for HBase or Cassandra.

When we run the program, we create JSON documents in Mongo DB that look like this:

   1: { "_id" : "7" , "CustomerFirstName" : "Linette" , "CustomerLastName" : "Ingram" , 
   2:     "SalesForCustomer" : {
   3:         "2001-05-30 00:00:00" : { "prodId" : 28 , "prodName" : "Unix/Windows 1-user pack" , "Amount" : 205.76 , "Quantity" : 1.0} , 
   4:         "1998-04-18 00:00:00" : { "prodId" : 129 , "prodName" : "Model NM500X High Yield Toner Cartridge" , "Amount" : 205.48 , "Quantity" : 1.0}
   5:     }
   6: }
   7: { "_id" : "8" , "CustomerFirstName" : "Vida" , "CustomerLastName" : "Puleo" , 
   8:     "SalesForCustomer" : { 
   9:         "1999-01-27 00:00:00" : { "prodId" : 18 , "prodName" : "Envoy Ambassador" , "Amount" : 1726.83 , "Quantity" : 1.0} , 
  10:         "1999-01-28 00:00:00" : { "prodId" : 18 , "prodName" : "Envoy Ambassador" , "Amount" : 1726.83 , "Quantity" : 1.0} , 
  11:         "1998-04-26 00:00:00" : { "prodId" : 20 , "prodName" : "Home Theatre Package with DVD-Audio/Video Play" , "Amount" : 608.39 , "Quantity" : 1.0} ,
  12:         "1998-01-19 00:00:00" : { "prodId" : 28 , "prodName" : "Unix/Windows 1-user pack" , "Amount" : 216.99 , "Quantity" : 1.0} , 
  13:         "1998-03-19 00:00:00" : { "prodId" : 28 , "prodName" : "Unix/Windows 1-user pack" , "Amount" : 216.99 , "Quantity" : 1.0} 
  14:     }
  15: }


Toad for Cloud “renormalizes” the documents so that they resemble something that we might use in a more conventional database.  So in this case,   Toad creates two tables from the Mongo collection, one for customers, and one which contains the sales for a customer.   You can rename the auto-generated foreign keys and the sub-table name to make this a bit clearer, as in the example below:




We can more clearly see the relationships in the .NET client by using Toad’s visual query builder (or we could have used the database diagram tool):




MongoDB has a pretty rich query language, but it’s fairly mysterious to those of us are used to SQL, and it’s certainly not as rich as the SQL language.  Using Toad for Cloud, you can issue ANSI standard SQL against your MongoDB tables and quickly browse or perform complex queries.  Later this year,   this Mongo support will emerge in some of our commercial data management tools such as Toad for Data Analysts and our soon to be announced BI tools.




Using Toad with Hive in Amazon Elastic Map Reduce

The Toad for Cloud Databases eclipse client has support for Hive queries which makes it really easy for me to run queries against our test hadoop clusters.  It also supports Hive running on top of Amazon Elastic Map Reduce (EMR), but you do need to be aware that in EMR the default ports are different from what we have come to expect.

Firstly, if you have started an EMR cluster with Hive 0.5 support, then the Hive server will be running on port 10001, not port 10000.  The second difference is that the JobTracker is running on port 9100, rather than 50030.  So when attaching to EMR, you would set up your hive connection something like this:

1-02-2011 5-56-03 PM

Once you’ve done that, the Hive connection will show all the Hive tables and you can enter HQL queries in the SQL editor.  You can drag table and column names into the editor as well:

1-02-2011 5-57-29 PM

One of the simple, but really useful things about the hive client is that you can jump to the jobtracker web page while the HQL is running to see how it is going:

1-02-2011 5-59-19 PM

Here’s the resulting JobTracker console.  We can see the job running and – if we scroll to the right or maximize the window – we can see how the Map and reduce phases of the Hive job are progressing:

1-02-2011 8-11-07 PM