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Spark: The Definitive Guide by Matei Zaharia, Bill Chambers

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Chapter 22. Event-Time and Stateful Processing

Chapter 21 covered the core concepts and basic APIs; this chapter dives into event-time and stateful processing. Event-time processing is a hot topic because we analyze information with respect to the time that it was created, not processed. The key idea between this style of processing is that over the lifetime of the job, Spark will maintain relevant state that it can update over the course of the job before outputting it to the sink.

Let’s cover these concepts in greater detail before we begin working with code to show they work.

Event Time

Event time is an important topic to cover discretely because Spark’s DStream API does not support processing information with respect to event-time. At a higher level, in stream-processing systems there are effectively two relevant times for each event: the time at which it actually occurred (event time), and the time that it was processed or reached the stream-processing system (processing time).

Event time

Event time is the time that is embedded in the data itself. It is most often, though not required to be, the time that an event actually occurs. This is important to use because it provides a more robust way of comparing events against one another. The challenge here is that event data can be late or out of order. This means that the stream processing system must be able to handle out-of-order or late data.

Processing time

Processing time is the time at which the stream-processing system ...

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