Apache Sqoop: A Complete Guide

Maximizing the value of large amounts of unstructured data available today requires timely integrations with structured data in relational settings. Setting up manual integrations between RDBMS options like MySQL and contemporary data stores like Hadoop is time-consuming, costly, and inefficient for modern workflows. However, organizations can largely automate this process by relying on Sqoop, which is explicitly designed to transfer structured and unstructured data in Hadoop.

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What is Sqoop?

Apache Sqoop is an instrument expressly designed to import and export structured data into and out of Hadoop and repositories like relational databases, data warehouses, and NoSQL stores. As it’s a comprehensive interface for transferring structured data, the name Sqoop is a combination of SQL (the relational db language) and Hadoop.

Sqoop works well with hybrid and multi-cloud deployments, and is effective for positioning structured data alongside unstructured data for analysis or application use. Here are some specifics about Sqoop:

  • Developed by: The Apache Software Foundation
  • Written in: Java
  • Initially released: June 1, 2009
  • Acknowledged as a stable release: December 6, 2017
  • Licensed by: Apache License 2.0

Once structured data is moved into Hadoop via Sqoop, it becomes available to the entire Hadoop ecosystem consisting of tools like Hive, HBase, Pig, and others. These tools require an effective means of integrating structured data alongside unstructured data. Sqoop provides an efficient means of positioning structured data from these tools into traditional relational settings. 

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How Sqoop works

Sqoop has two main functions: importing and exporting. Importing transfers structured data into HDFS; exporting moves this data from Hadoop to external databases in the cloud or on-premises. Importing involves Sqoop assessing the external database’s metadata before mapping it to Hadoop. Sqoop undergoes a similar process when exporting data; it parses the metadata before moving the actual data to the repository.

Sqoop imports

Sqoop has a specific mechanism for importing data into Hadoop, which moves the individual tables of the structured data. HDFS acts as though each row in a table is a specific record. There are two ways these records are stored: as text files or as binary data. When stored as binary data, these files are either stored as Sequence files or in Avro, a data interchange format for schema on read.

Sqoop exports

Sqoop also has a separate mechanism for exporting data from Hadoop. Since Hadoop stores relational data as files based on records (the rows in the tables), it uses Sqoop to export data as HDFS files. Sqoop is able to read the records, parse them, and understand how they correspond to tables for relational data. Sqoop then relies on a user-specific delimiter to delimit those records and move them into structured data repositories.

Top 5 benefits of Sqoop

There are several benefits for using Sqoop, most of which come from the fact that it is specifically made to swiftly move large amounts of data back and forth from databases to Hadoop.

  • ROI on SQL investments: Sqoop illustrates the enduring relevance of SQL and structured data in general. Although there are vast amounts of semi-structured and unstructured data organizations need to manage, many have made several investments in relational technologies. Sqoop lets organizations leverage these investments in structured data in the big data age.
  • Time to value: One of the main benefits of Sqoop is the speed at which it’s able to move data, especially data moving back and forth to the cloud. By relying on parallel processing for data transfers, Sqoop lets organizations spend less time moving data and more time working with it for actionable insights.
  • Reduced costs: With Sqoop, users can offload activities for extracting, moving, and transforming data with Hadoop’s resources—instead of those of their warehouses or of separate tools. The result is increased efficiency and lower costs for these requisites.
  • Better query performance: By importing data directly to ORCFiles, Sqoop offers indexing and compression capabilities that increase the speed and results of queries.
  • Schema on-read: Sqoop overcomes data modeling challenges by letting users combine structured data with semi-structured and unstructured data in a schema on-read environment. This enables organizations to analyze data faster and more effectively.

How to optimize Sqoop

The key to optimizing Sqoop’s benefits is to leverage them in the context of a comprehensive data integration tool in the cloud. Solutions like Talend Data Fabric incorporate Sqoop into their wider integration framework to make deploying data considerably easier with a low code/no code environment.

Such data integration solutions are self-service environments in which organizations can use graphical means to specify jobs for importing and exporting data with Sqoop. Without these solutions, organizations are left manually coding data integrations. With them, they can perform extremely specific Hadoop ecosystem jobs like:

  • Transforming data in Hive: Hive is Hadoop’s own data warehouse. The minimal coding environment of graphical data integration hubs enables users to reformat data as needed within this repository.
  • Improving analytics: Users can issue Pig based analytics on data in Hadoop without having to learn how to code in Pig Latin.
  • Streamlining exports: Organizations are able to export data from Hadoop into applications or databases at regular intervals via batch jobs or data streaming techniques. 

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Getting started with Sqoop

With separate import and export functions, Sqoop excels at quickly moving structured data into and out of Hadoop to operationalize such data alongside semi-structured and unstructured data. Sqoop lets organizations accomplish this task faster, cheaper, and better by utilizing resources found within the Hadoop ecosystem. When used within the framework of holistic data integration solutions in the cloud, Sqoop enables organizations to work on all of their data at once—whether it came from the cloud, the cloud’s edge, or on-premises.

Talend Data Fabric is a comprehensive suite of apps that provides the ideal environment to begin reaping the many benefits of Sqoop. It not only provides a single means of accessing data, but also comes with all of the necessities for managing that data including measures for ensuring data governance, security, and regulatory compliance.

Get started on the road to reaping the value of Sqoop by trying Talend Data Fabric today.

| Last Updated: September 3rd, 2019