Data Loader Script


Data loader script ( was developed primarily to simplify implementation of the data integration test, but eventually this script may evolve into full-featured data loading solution supporting production data loading. The script currently supports data loading into both partitioned and non-partitioned tables. It also updates CSS with the information about created tables or data chunks.

Data loader works with one database table at a time and normally does not provide any support for database-level operations (one exception to that is the creation of per-database information in CSS if that information does not exist yet). Before loading data into MySQL the database in MySQL must exist already and proper permissions should be granted to the account used to load data.

At the very high level data loader operation can be summarized as:

  • reading table configuration parameters
  • uncompressing compressed data files
  • partitioning data if necessary
  • loading partitioned data into databases
  • updating meta-data in the databases
  • updating CSS information for loaded data

Data loader supports different operating modes controlled by command line options:

  • mono-node - data for partitioned tables is partitioned (or pre-partitioned) and loaded into individual chunk and overlap tables, data for non-partitioned tables is loaded into a separate (non-chunked) tables. All data is stored in one database on a single node.
  • multi-node - same as above but data are stored in multiple databases across several worker nodes, there is a copy of data for non-partitioned tables on each worker node.
  • one-table - all data (partitioned or non-partitioned) is stored in one non-chunked table in single database. Partitioned tables may have their data pre-partitioned but all chunks are still merged into one table. This is useful primarily for integration test for comparison of query results between partitioned and non-partitioned data.

Configuration Parameters

Data loader behavior is determined by large number of options which come either from command line or configuration files. The location of the configuration files is determined by the command line options (-f or --config). Script can load multiple configuration files, typically there would be one common configuration files with per-database options and one file per table with table-specific options, and usually only partitioned tables need per-table options.

Configuration file format and a subset of parameters is shared with partitioner, for detailed description of all supported parameters see (TODO)

Temporary Data Location

The script may produce temporary files as the result of uncompressing compressed data or partitioning data for partitioned tables. The size of temporary files can be large (possibly much larger than original data if data is compressed). Chunks files from partitioning operation are stored in a location determined by --chunks-dir command line option which defaults to ./loader_chunks. The directory does not have to exist and will be created if necessary. If directory already exists then it must be empty unless --skip-partition option is given.

If --tmp-dir option is specified then temporary uncompressed files will be stored at that location, otherwise uncompressed files will be stored inside chunks directory (or its sub-directory with random name). At the end of the run directory with uncompressed data will be removed by the script unconditionally, directory with chunk files will be removed unless option --keep-chunks is specified on a command line.

Partitioning Data

For partitioned tables (this is determined by parameters in configuration files) script will run partitioner on input (or uncompressed) data which will write chunk files into a temporary directory. Script will later search that directory for all chunk and overlap files and load those files into separate chunk/overlap tables in database(s).

It is possible to run script on data which is already pre-partitioned (e.g. by previous run of the same script with --keep-chunks option or by duplicator). To use existing data pass --skip-partition option and specify the location of chunk files with --chunks-dir option. It is caller responsibility to make sure that data is partitioning was done consistently with the parameters specified in configuration files.

In one-table mode when data need to be loaded into one table the script needs --one-table option. If both --skip-partition and --one-table are specified then original (uncompressed) data is loaded into a tables, without --skip-partition data is partitioned first but then all resulting chunks are merged into one table.

Non-partitioned tables do not require partitioning.

Mono-node vs Multi-node

In mono-node setup (current standard mode for integration tests) there is a single database shared between czar and worker. Database connection and authorization for this single database instance parameters are determined by command line options.

In multi-node setup there is a single database instance used by czar and one or more worker databases. Connection parameters for czar database are determined from command line options, connection parameters for worker databases are normally defined in CSS (via script CREATE NODE command). The set of worker nodes used for data loading is controlled by --worker options to the script. It is essential that the same set of workers is specified for all tables in a database.

In multi-node mode chunks of the partitioned tables are distributed across all workers. Current implementation only supports round-robin chunk mapping. Chunks with the same ID from different tables must appear on the same node, to achieve this chunk mapping is stored in CSS and reused (and updated) for tables loaded at later time.

Data for non-partitioned tables in multi-node setup are loaded into every worker database.

Generating Meta-data

In addition to loading regular table data (chunked or non-chunked) the scripts adds some additional data needed by Qserv.

Secondary Index

Secondary index is a special index in czar which provides mapping between object ID for director table and its corresponding chunk and sub-chunk IDs. It is currently implemented as a table in a special czar database indexed by object ID. This table is created by data loader when director table data is loaded. The name of the database is determined by --index-db command line option and it can be set to empty string to prevent index generation. Index is never made for non-director tables.

Empty Chunk List

This is the list of chunks that do not have any data, used by qserv for optimization. This is stored as a file in the file system, its location is determined by --empty-chunks option, default is not to produce the list.

Updating CSS Information

Unless --no-css option is specified the script reads and updates CSS information:

  • if database-level partitioning parameters are not yet defined in CSS the script will store per-database parameters that it reads from configuration files, otherwise it will verify parameters read from configuration files against CSS parameters
  • if --css-remove option is specified then any existing per-table CSS information will be removed from CSS, otherwise CSS must not have per-table data defined for this table
  • it will create all necessary per-table parameters in CSS
  • for partitioned tables it will read exiting mapping (if any) of the chunks to worker nodes, update it if there are new chunks, and store per-table chunk list after loading all chunks


With a large number of options and different running modes it’s easy to get overwhelmed or misinterpret loader errors. Here are few standard use cases which are supposed to illustrate use of the command line options.

Mono-node setup, non-partitioned table

Simple use case when we load data for non-partitioned table. In mono-node setup there are no worker databases, add data is loaded into one server, we just need to provide correct connection options. Non-partitioned database typically do not need per-table configuration file so there is just one common.cfg config file. Input data file is compressed so we will need temporary location for uncompressed files, this is why --tmp-dir is specified (select more unique name for it).

wmgr_options="--host= --port=5012 --secret=/path/to/wmgr.secret" $wmgr_options --config=$TESTDATA/common.cfg --tmp-dir=/tmp/data-loader-tmp \
    qservTest_case01_qserv LeapSeconds $TESTDATA/LeapSeconds.schema $TESTDATA/LeapSeconds.tsv.gz

Mono-node setup, partitioned table

For partitioned tables there should be one additional per-table configuration file which specifies table parameters. If non-default directory is used for chunks then specify it with --chunks-dir options. $wmgr_options --config=$TESTDATA/common.cfg --config=$TESTDATA/Object.cfg \
    --tmp-dir=/tmp/data-loader-tmp --chunks-dir=/tmp/data-loader-chunks \
    qservTest_case01_qserv Object $TESTDATA/Object.schema $TESTDATA/Object.tsv.gz

Mono-node setup, pre-partitioned data

In case when pre-partitioned data already exists one needs to provide its location via --chunks-dir option and to tell script not to run partitioning via --skip-partition option. No input file is needed in this case as the data will be taken from chunks directory. $wmgr_options --config=$TESTDATA/common.cfg --config=$TESTDATA/Object.cfg \
    --chunks-dir=/tmp/data-loader-chunks --skip-partition \
    qservTest_case01_qserv Object $TESTDATA/Object.schema

One-table setup

One-table mode is always triggered by --one--table option.

One-table option with non-partitioned table is not different from mono-node option which also loads data into single table, there is no real need to specify --one-table option in this case.

For partitioned tables there are two possible options for loading data - with or without partitioning it. In most cases partitioning is not necessary, but it may be needed in cases when partitioner is configured to do some non-trivial operation on data (e.g. column dropping or re-ordering).

To load data without partitioning use --skip-partition together with --one--table: $wmgr_options --config=$TESTDATA/common.cfg --config=$TESTDATA/Object.cfg \
    --tmp-dir=/tmp/data-loader-tmp --one-table --skip-partition \
    qservTest_case01_mysql Object $TESTDATA/Object.schema $TESTDATA/Object.tsv.gz

To load data after partitioning use only --one--table, --chunks-dir is useful too in this case: $wmgr_options --config=$TESTDATA/common.cfg --config=$TESTDATA/Object.cfg \
    --chunks-dir=/tmp/data-loader-chunks --tmp-dir=/tmp/data-loader-tmp --one-table \
    qservTest_case01_mysql Object $TESTDATA/Object.schema $TESTDATA/Object.tsv.gz

One-table setup, pre-partitioned data

In case there is data already pre-partitioned (e.g. from duplicator run) there are two options for loading these data - either using script logic to find chunks in chunk directory or manually selecting all chunk files (but not overlap files) and passing it as an input to the script.

For first option specify --chunks-dir option but skip input files (and use --one-table and --skip-partition): $wmgr_options --config=$TESTDATA/common.cfg --config=$TESTDATA/Object.cfg \
    --chunks-dir=/tmp/data-loader-chunks --one-table --skip-partition \
    qservTest_case01_mysql Object $TESTDATA/Object.schema

second option is to specify all chunk files on the command line just like when loading regular data into one table. It is important to avoid loading overlap data in this case, choose file matching pattern accordingly. Because chunks are not compressed there is no need to specify --tmp-dir option in this case: $wmgr_options --config=$TESTDATA/common.cfg --config=$TESTDATA/Object.cfg \
    --one-table --skip-partition \
    qservTest_case01_mysql Object $TESTDATA/Object.schema /tmp/data-loader-chunks/chunk_????.txt

Summary of Options

Here is a summary table of all possible option combinations from above use cases and their description, this only applies to partitioned tables:

one-table skip-partition input files description
no no yes Partitions input files and loads into chunked tables
no yes ignored Loads pre-partitioned data from chunks-dir into chunked tables
yes no yes Partitions input files and loads into one table
yes yes yes Loads input files into one table without partitioning
yes yes no Loads pre-partitioned data from chunks-dir into one table