Version: 2.0.0-SNAPSHOT

Storm SQL integration

The Storm SQL integration allows users to run SQL queries over streaming data in Storm. Not only the SQL interface allows faster development cycles on streaming analytics, but also opens up the opportunities to unify batch data processing like Apache Hive and real-time streaming data analytics.

At a very high level StormSQL compiles the SQL queries to Trident topologies and executes them in Storm clusters. This document provides information of how to use StormSQL as end users. For people that are interested in more details in the design and the implementation of StormSQL please refer to the this page.

Storm SQL integration is an experimental feature, so the internal of Storm SQL and supported features are subject to change. But small change will not affect the user experience. We will notice/announce the user when breaking UX change is introduced.


Run the storm sql command to compile SQL statements into Trident topology, and submit it to the Storm cluster

$ bin/storm sql <sql-file> <topo-name>

In which sql-file contains a list of SQL statements to be executed, and topo-name is the name of the topology.

StormSQL activates explain mode and shows query plan instead of submitting topology when user specifies topo-name as --explain. Detailed explanation is available from Showing Query Plan (explain mode) section.

Supported Features

The following features are supported in the current repository:

  • Streaming from and to external data sources
  • Filtering tuples
  • Projections
  • Aggregations (Grouping)
  • Join (Inner, Left outer, Right outer, Full outer)
  • User defined function (scalar and aggregate)

Some of features rely on Trident micro-batch behavior: Aggregations and Join. When Storm SQL will support native Streaming SQL, the behaviors and limitations of these features may be also changed too.

Specifying External Data Sources

In StormSQL data is represented by external tables. Users can specify data sources using the CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE statement. The syntax of CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE closely follows the one defined in Hive Data Definition Language:

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE table_name field_list
      INPUTFORMAT input_format_classname
      OUTPUTFORMAT output_format_classname
    LOCATION location
    [ TBLPROPERTIES tbl_properties ]
    [ AS select_stmt ]

You can find detailed explanations of the properties in Hive Data Definition Language. For example, the following statement specifies a Kafka spout and sink:

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE FOO (ID INT PRIMARY KEY) LOCATION 'kafka://localhost:2181/brokers?topic=test' TBLPROPERTIES '{"producer":{"bootstrap.servers":"localhost:9092","acks":"1","key.serializer":"","value.serializer":""}}'

Plugging in External Data Sources

Users plug in external data sources through implementing the ISqlTridentDataSource interface and registers them using the mechanisms of Java's service loader. The external data source will be chosen based on the scheme of the URI of the tables. Please refer to the implementation of storm-sql-kafka for more details.

Specifying User Defined Function (UDF) and User Defined Aggregate Function (UDAF)

Users can define user defined function (scalar or aggregate) using CREATE FUNCTION statement. For example, the following statement defines MYPLUS function which uses org.apache.storm.sql.TestUtils$MyPlus class.

CREATE FUNCTION MYPLUS AS 'org.apache.storm.sql.TestUtils$MyPlus'

Storm SQL determines whether the function as scalar or aggregate by checking which methods are defined. If the class defines evaluate method, Storm SQL treats the function as scalar, and if the class defines add method, Storm SQL treats the function as aggregate.

Example of class for scalar function is here:

  public class MyPlus {
    public static Integer evaluate(Integer x, Integer y) {
      return x + y;

and class for aggregate function is here:

  public class MyConcat {
    public static String init() {
      return "";
    public static String add(String accumulator, String val) {
      return accumulator + val;
    public static String result(String accumulator) {
      return accumulator;

If users don't define result method, result is the last return value of add method. Users need to define result method only when we need to transform accumulated value.

Example: Filtering Kafka Stream

Let's say there is a Kafka stream that represents the transactions of orders. Each message in the stream contains the id of the order, the unit price of the product and the quantity of the orders. The goal is to filter orders where the transactions are significant and to insert these orders into another Kafka stream for further analysis.

The user can specify the following SQL statements in the SQL file:

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE LARGE_ORDERS (ID INT PRIMARY KEY, TOTAL INT) LOCATION 'kafka://localhost:2181/brokers?topic=large_orders' TBLPROPERTIES '{"producer":{"bootstrap.servers":"localhost:9092","acks":"1","key.serializer":"","value.serializer":""}}'

The first statement defines the table ORDER which represents the input stream. The LOCATION clause specifies the ZkHost (localhost:2181), the path of the brokers in ZooKeeper (/brokers) and the topic (orders).

Similarly, the second statement specifies the table LARGE_ORDERS which represents the output stream. The TBLPROPERTIES clause specifies the configuration of KafkaProducer and is required for a Kafka sink table.

The third statement is a SELECT statement which defines the topology: it instructs StormSQL to filter all orders in the external table ORDERS, calculates the total price and inserts matching records into the Kafka stream specified by LARGE_ORDER.

To run this example, users need to include the data sources (storm-sql-kafka in this case) and its dependency in the class path. Dependencies for Storm SQL are automatically handled when users run storm sql. Users can include data sources at the submission step like below:

$ bin/storm sql order_filtering.sql order_filtering --artifacts "org.apache.storm:storm-sql-kafka:2.0.0-SNAPSHOT,org.apache.storm:storm-kafka:2.0.0-SNAPSHOT,org.apache.kafka:kafka_2.10:^org.slf4j:slf4j-log4j12,org.apache.kafka:kafka-clients:"

Above command submits the SQL statements to StormSQL. Users need to modify each artifacts' version if users are using different version of Storm or Kafka.

By now you should be able to see the order_filtering topology in the Storm UI.

Showing Query Plan (explain mode)

Like explain on SQL statement, StormSQL provides explain mode when running Storm SQL Runner. In explain mode, StormSQL analyzes each query statement (only DML) and show plan instead of submitting topology.

In order to run explain mode, you need to provide topology name as --explain and run storm sql as same as submitting.

For example, when you run the example seen above with explain mode:

$ bin/storm sql order_filtering.sql --explain --artifacts "org.apache.storm:storm-sql-kafka:2.0.0-SNAPSHOT,org.apache.storm:storm-kafka:2.0.0-SNAPSHOT,org.apache.kafka:kafka_2.10:\!org.slf4j:slf4j-log4j12,org.apache.kafka:kafka-clients:"

StormSQL prints out like below:

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE ORDERS (ID INT PRIMARY KEY, UNIT_PRICE INT, QUANTITY INT) LOCATION 'kafka://localhost:2181/brokers?topic=orders' TBLPROPERTIES '{"producer":{"bootstrap.servers":"localhost:9092","acks":"1","key.serializer":"org.apache.storm.kafka.IntSerializer","value.serializer":"org.apache.storm.kafka.ByteBufferSerializer"}}'
16:53:43.951 [main] INFO  o.a.s.s.r.DataSourcesRegistry - Registering scheme kafka with org.apache.storm.sql.kafka.KafkaDataSourcesProvider@4d1bf319
No plan presented on DDL
CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE LARGE_ORDERS (ID INT PRIMARY KEY, TOTAL INT) LOCATION 'kafka://localhost:2181/brokers?topic=large_orders' TBLPROPERTIES '{"producer":{"bootstrap.servers":"localhost:9092","acks":"1","key.serializer":"org.apache.storm.kafka.IntSerializer","value.serializer":"org.apache.storm.kafka.ByteBufferSerializer"}}'
No plan presented on DDL
LogicalTableModify(table=[[LARGE_ORDERS]], operation=[INSERT], updateColumnList=[[]], flattened=[true]), id = 8
  LogicalProject(ID=[$0], TOTAL=[*($1, $2)]), id = 7
    LogicalFilter(condition=[>(*($1, $2), 50)]), id = 6
      EnumerableTableScan(table=[[ORDERS]]), id = 5


Current Limitations

  • Windowing is yet to be implemented.
  • Only equi-join (single field equality) is supported for joining table.
  • Joining table only applies within each small batch that comes off of the spout.
    • Not across batches.
    • Limitation came from join feature of Trident.
    • Please refer this doc: Trident API Overview for details.
  • Specifying parallelism hints in the topology is not yet supported.
    • All processors have a parallelism hint of 1.
  • The current implementation of the Kafka connector in StormSQL assumes both the input and the output are in JSON formats.
    • The connector has not yet recognized the INPUTFORMAT and OUTPUTFORMAT clauses yet.