What is Spark SQL? Tutorial Guide for a Big Data Engineer - {coding}Sight (2023)

Understanding Spark SQL is extremely helpful for analyzing big data, especially when you’re working with the Spark platform. But what exactly is Spark SQL? What are spark data frames? How can you learn using it?

Let’s take a look at its functions, capabilities, and, more importantly, the results it can provide for you.

What is Spark SQL? Tutorial Guide for a Big Data Engineer - {coding}Sight (1)

Table of contents

  • What is Spark SQL?
  • Advantages of Spark for Specific Purposes
  • How to use Spark SQL
  • Examples of Using Spark SQL
  • How to Learn and Practice Spark SQL
  • Conclusion

What is Spark SQL?

Apache Spark is a programming framework that simplifies the creation of data-processing applications. It provides libraries in Java and Scala to write programs using either batch or streaming techniques. It also offers libraries in R, Python, and SQL. Therefore, users can write code to apply these tools with their datasets without the need to know any Scala or Java – just use some helpful Apache Spark tutorials.

Spark SQL is the name given to Spark’s in-memory analytics and data warehousing solution (formerly known as Apache Hive).

Spark SQL supports relational, structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data, making it easy to run SQL queries on them. Also, it supports native machine learning and graph processing capabilities that allow you to explore data deeper with traditional tools like Hive or Hadoop MapReduce.

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Being one of Apache’s components, Spark SQL allows users to manipulate structured data with the programming model provided by Scala, Java, or Python APIs. One can write queries using various data sources, including tables in Hive or external databases via JDBC/ODBC connections.

Advantages of Spark for Specific Purposes

Spark SQL is an extension of the Scala programming language that allows for writing SQL queries directly against Spark datasets, including data sets in HDFS or Spark’s native file format. Thus, it is possible to use the scalability and fault-tolerance advantages of Spark with the flexibility and convenience of SQL.

Spark SQL for Speed and Scalability

Spark SQL is a powerful tool for processing structured datasets – a framework allowing the developers to write applications with standard SQL. You can query and interact with data stored in HDFS and HBase as well as columnar stores, such as Apache Parquet, Apache ORC, and Amazon S3.

Spark can run across multiple machines or clusters for increased efficiency. A large number of organizations start to use Spark after implementing it successfully at scale for machine learning-based initiatives. Spark has become so successful in areas like data analytics because speed and scalability are paramount here.

(Video) Spark SQL Tutorial For Beginners | Apache Spark Tutorial For Beginners | Simplilearn

Let’s take such features as external storage support. This brings another level of flexibility to Spark since you can integrate external storage systems like Amazon S3 to access unstructured datasets.

The other side is faster analysis due to complex computations that occur on less complex columnar data, especially if you want to join two datasets with wide tables versus narrow ones. To give you an idea about just how fast these things are, importing 250 GB of CSV files into Spark takes mere minutes! It is 5x faster than Hive running on MapReduce through internal benchmarks.

Frequent Itemsets

For datasets with sequential or transactional features, finding frequent itemsets is important in business-intelligence analyses. Assume that you’re analyzing customer purchasing habits. There is a great chance you’ll find related items that are frequently purchased together, i.e., bread and butter, carrot and celery sticks, etc. Finding these relationships can help you identify high-value products to stock in your store.

After a dataset is ingested into Spark SQL, it can be analyzed using a broad range of built-in and third-party tools, such as graph algorithms and machine learning models. As Spark supports Apache Arrow for data in-memory processing, Spark users do not need to keep all their data in memory. Moreover, Spark allows users to query RDDs from anywhere within an application without materializing them into memory. Thus, even graph algorithms that require large amounts of memory for execution become practical. Only a small fraction of their overall computation is done in memory.

These features come together to enable applications based on finding frequent itemsets. It is something that would have been very difficult or impossible using a traditional relational columnar database model or MapReduce jobs.

Sensitivity Analysis

As you analyze data from multiple sources, you may find that certain factors impact your results more than others. To predict better how your project may be affected by changes in circumstances, conduct a sensitivity analysis.

This analysis entails altering each factor individually and seeing how it impacts your final model. Since it’s quantitative, you can use a specific methodology to determine which factors are more important. For example, if you analyze sales data and want to see how competitor prices, inventory level, age of inventory, and seasonality variables (holidays, weather events, etc.) affect your revenue, you can experiment with those factors as independent variables and revenue as a dependent variable. Thus, you determine which elements have a significant effect on sales.

Sensitivity analysis is critical when you’re working with data. If your goal is to make good decisions, you need to understand what affects them, based on your input. It can be time-consuming, but it is essential to conduct sensitivity analysis at each stage of any project when decision-making comes into play.

Summing up, the Spark SQL sensitivity analysis refers to evaluating how the output from an algorithm will vary as inputs change. In practice, you can use it to determine the sensitivity of the result set to data changes. Also, you can figure out which data points impact your results most of all.

Don’t forget to run sensitivity analysis in Spark SQL using the relabel API and cross-validation metrics. This way, you can correctly interpret your results before pushing them into production.

How to use Spark SQL

Spark SQL is a Spark component that provides structured data processing capabilities. It enables users to query structured and semi-structured data in HDFS, Apache Parquet files, JSON, Hive tables, and more.

(Video) Spark Tutorial | Spark Tutorial for Beginners | Apache Spark Full Course - Learn Apache Spark 2020

Spark SQL also enables distributed joins across datasets residing in different clusters or on different machines. This functionality grants you efficient exploratory analytics with external data sources. You can apply it to machine learning frameworks (such as MLlib) and build predictive models.

What is Spark SQL? Tutorial Guide for a Big Data Engineer - {coding}Sight (3)

If you need a Spark SQL tutorial, watch one to grasp the idea.

For advanced users, using Spark SQL helps load data from various sources, filter it, combine it with other datasets, transform it using user-defined functions, and save to any target supported by Spark, all in a standard Scala or Java interface.

With Spark SQL, you can easily run interactive queries on large datasets distributed across clusters of computers. Spark can run interactively inside a web browser or programmatically via API calls to Scala, Java, Python, or R high-level language code. There are also libraries available for working with big data files stored on a disk.

Structurally, Spark’s SQL layer, commonly called Spark SQL, provides a data abstraction called DataFrames that integrates RDD-based operations and relational database operations on top of Spark Core.

DataFrames will let the users work with structured and semi-structured data as if it were in a traditional RDBMS system, like Oracle or MySQL. They simplify access to distributed datasets through their familiarity as objects, instead of forcing you to deal with low-level APIs, such as those used by map/reduce languages like Cascading and Scalding.

Examples of Using Spark SQL

Spark SQL allows you to run queries across multiple data sources. Imagine you are a university professor and want to award a stipend to students who achieved more than 90% in exam scores. The classical way (right-clicking a file in Windows and viewing Properties) would be time-consuming! You could get stuck in that process for months.

But SQL now allows you to retrieve data from large databases, and Spark SQL makes it even more convenient. You might have a huge table of student data, including their name, age, exam results, email, etc. With SQL, you can quickly and easily extract all names of students whose results were above 90% into a separate table.

The more you learn about SQL, the more opportunities it presents. While surface-level methods may save you tons of time and energy, more in-depth solutions are crucial, especially for large companies. For example, monitoring employees’ KPI and improving sales can have a mastodon impact on revenue.

If you’re are not a company but an enthusiast, chances are you’re not coding for fun and are looking to get a job in the sphere. Spark SQL has been called “a Big Data Engineer’s most important tool” for a reason.

(Video) Spark Tutorial For Beginners | Big Data Spark Tutorial | Apache Spark Tutorial | Simplilearn

It’s easy to start using Spark SQL. Queries are in SQL that is an industry-standard language. It opens up Spark to thousands of expert data scientists familiar with MySQL, PostgreSQL, or other open-source databases that use SQL as their query language.

This is what Spark looks like:

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In this example, we’re selecting entries that satisfy our criteria by commands (in purple). We are telling Spark to SELECT from a storage space CITIES certain COUNTRIES where POPULATION matches our demands:

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The best features of Spark

  • Failsafe
  • Doesn’t excessively consume resources
  • Scalable
  • Flexible
  • Using cluster calculations in memory (Spark RDD) that increase processing speed (up to 10 times faster disk operations)
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Extended analytics: except Map/Reduce, it supports SQL requests, machine learning, Graph algorithms, and more.

Iteration operations using Spark RDD

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Spark SQL Functions: Did you Say Faster?

Spark is remarkably fast due to multiple factors, all of which fall under the umbrella of intelligent organization.

You may consider Spark SQL a more powerful alternative to MapReduce. While MapReduce handles batch processing by reading large chunks of data from disk into memory before doing anything, Spark handles each operation with only enough material that fits into memory at one time, allowing faster processing of larger datasets.

The functionality that allows Spark to read data from multiple sources, cost-based optimizer, code generation, and columnar storage allow Spark to be extra optimized and extra speedy.

(Video) Apache Spark SQL With Apache Hive

What is Spark SQL? Tutorial Guide for a Big Data Engineer - {coding}Sight (7)

Also, here’s another comparison:

What is Spark SQL? Tutorial Guide for a Big Data Engineer - {coding}Sight (8)

How to Learn and Practice Spark SQL

In this example, we’re using data about various countries in our warehouse to arrange countries according to their populations (descending). We’re trying to figure out which parts of these countries’ populations reside in areas other than cities. To accomplish that, we have to manipulate data from different tables.

What is Spark SQL? Tutorial Guide for a Big Data Engineer - {coding}Sight (9)

You may be that you’re new to coding. But even so, you can figure out what the code is telling the program to do by reading it. You can see the stuff you don’t know you can look up and figure out. Before you know it, you’ll be writing your programs. And then there’s no limit to what you can do!

Retrieve the vacancies from the whole world of job boards and pick the best possible job? Done. Or, maybe, create the next Bitcoin? Probably, it will take some work, but also possible. If Satoshi Nakamoto did it, so can you!

Conclusion

Apache Spark runs your applications tremendously fast. It accomplishes the goal by reducing the read and write operations and caching data in memory even when doing numerous parallel operations. It gives you lots of possibilities to manipulate the data and create robust and powerful apps.

Imagine how much you could do with the help of one of the most efficient data retrieval tools on the Web! IF information is money, THEN a tool that helps you get it could make you very powerful. Fortunately,

Tags: framework, sql Last modified: September 22, 2022

FAQs

What is Spark SQL in big data? ›

Spark SQL is Apache Spark's go-to interface for working with structured and semi-structured data that helps integrate relational big data processing with Spark's functional programming API.

What is Spark used for in data engineering? ›

Spark has become the ultimate toolkit for data engineers because it simplifies the work environment by providing both a platform to organize and execute complex data pipelines, and a set of powerful tools for storing, retrieving, and transforming data.

Is Spark SQL a programming language? ›

Spark SQL is an extension of the Scala programming language that allows for writing SQL queries directly against Spark datasets, including data sets in HDFS or Spark's native file format.

Is Spark SQL different from SQL? ›

Spark SQL is not a database but a module that is used for structured data processing. It majorly works on DataFrames which are the programming abstraction and usually act as a distributed SQL query engine.

What type of SQL does Spark use? ›

Hive integration

Run SQL or HiveQL queries on existing warehouses. Spark SQL supports the HiveQL syntax as well as Hive SerDes and UDFs, allowing you to access existing Hive warehouses. Spark SQL can use existing Hive metastores, SerDes, and UDFs.

Is Spark SQL faster than SQL? ›

Extrapolating the average I/O rate across the duration of the tests (Big SQL is 3.2x faster than Spark SQL), then Spark SQL actually reads almost 12x more data than Big SQL, and writes 30x more data.

What is Spark SQL? ›

Spark SQL is a Spark module for structured data processing. It provides a programming abstraction called DataFrames and can also act as a distributed SQL query engine. It enables unmodified Hadoop Hive queries to run up to 100x faster on existing deployments and data.

How can I learn Spark in data engineering? ›

Description
  1. Learn the Spark Architecture.
  2. Learn Spark Execution Concepts.
  3. Learn Spark Transformations and Actions using the Structured API.
  4. Learn Spark Transformations and Actions using the RDD (Resilient Distributed Datasets) API.
  5. Learn how to set up your own local PySpark Environment.

What is difference between Spark and Hadoop? ›

Hadoop is designed to handle batch processing efficiently. Spark is designed to handle real-time data efficiently. Hadoop is a high latency computing framework, which does not have an interactive mode. Spark is a low latency computing and can process data interactively.

What is the advantage of Spark SQL? ›

Another important advantage of Spark SQL is that the loading and querying can be done for data from different sources. Hence, the data access is unified. It offers standard connectivity as Spark SQL can be connected through JDBC or ODBC. It can be used for faster processing of Hive tables.

Is Spark a language or tool? ›

Apache Spark™ is a multi-language engine for executing data engineering, data science, and machine learning on single-node machines or clusters. Simple. Fast.

How do I run a query in Spark SQL? ›

You can execute Spark SQL queries in Scala by starting the Spark shell.
...
Procedure
  1. Start the Spark shell. dse spark.
  2. Use the sql method to pass in the query, storing the result in a variable. val results = spark.sql("SELECT * from my_keyspace_name.my_table")
  3. Use the returned data.
13 Sept 2022

Which is better Spark or SQL? ›

Spark SQL simplifies the workload through its faster computation power. It is a module of Spark used for processing structured and semi-structured datasets. The datasets are processed much faster than other SQL like MySQL. Spark SQL deployment can run up to 100X faster for existing datasets.

Is Spark SQL faster than PySpark? ›

As can be seen in the tables, when reading files, PySpark is slightly faster than Apache Spark. However, for the processing of the file data, Apache Spark is significantly faster, with 8.53 seconds against 11.7, a 27% difference.

Should I learn Spark or PySpark? ›

Conclusion. Spark is an awesome framework and the Scala and Python APIs are both great for most workflows. PySpark is more popular because Python is the most popular language in the data community. PySpark is a well supported, first class Spark API, and is a great choice for most organizations.

What is Spark SQL? ›

Spark SQL is a Spark module for structured data processing. It provides a programming abstraction called DataFrames and can also act as a distributed SQL query engine. It enables unmodified Hadoop Hive queries to run up to 100x faster on existing deployments and data.

What is Spark used for in Hadoop? ›

Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat.

How Spark SQL is different from HQL and SQL? ›

Hive, on one hand, is known for its efficient query processing by making use of SQL-like HQL(Hive Query Language) and is used for data stored in Hadoop Distributed File System whereas Spark SQL makes use of structured query language and makes sure all the read and write online operations are taken care of.

What is Spark vs Hadoop? ›

Hadoop is designed to handle batch processing efficiently. Spark is designed to handle real-time data efficiently. Hadoop is a high latency computing framework, which does not have an interactive mode. Spark is a low latency computing and can process data interactively.

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