Here at Pandforify, we have about a millenia of data collected about our users’ listening patterns. This would take a huge amount of time to load into a Kiji table, when we used a single machine to issue writes to our table, one row at a time. Instead we will show you how to use MapReduce to efficiently import such large amounts of data into Kiji.

Custom Bulk Importers

One of the ways to bulk import your data is to extend KijiBulkImporter and override its produce() method to insert rows in a distributed manner into the Kiji table. In the example below, we use this method to populate the song metadata.

Input files contain JSON data representing song metadata, with one song per line. Below is the whitespace-augmented example of a single row in our input file song-metadata.json.

    "song_id" : "0",
    "song_name" : "song0",
    "artist_name" : "artist1",
    "album_name" : "album1",
    "genre" : "awesome",
    "tempo" : "140",
    "duration" : "180"

The SongMetadataBulkImporter class extends KijiBulkImporter. It expects a text input format where the input keys are the byte offsets of each line in the input file and the input values are the lines of text described above.

In the produce() method of the class, extract the JSON as follows:

// Parse JSON:
final JSONObject json = (JSONObject) parser.parse(line.toString());

// Extract JSON fields:
final String songId = json.get("song_id").toString();

Use an Avro record called SongMetaData described below:

record SongMetadata {
    string song_name;
    string artist_name;
    string album_name;
    string genre;
    long tempo;
    long duration;

Then build an Avro metadata record from the parsed JSON.

final SongMetadata song = SongMetadata.newBuilder()

We create an EntityId object in order to use the song ID as the row key.

final EntityId eid = context.getEntityId(songId);

Finally, write this Avro record to a cell in our Kiji table with the song ID as the row key.

context.put(eid, "info", "metadata", song);

As an aside, take care while using explicit timestamps when writing to Kiji. You can read about common pitfalls of timestamps in HBase on the Kiji blog for more details.

Running the Example

Run the bulk import tool by specifying SongMetadataBulkImporter as the importer, the Kiji table songs as the output, and song-metadata.json as the input with the following command:

kiji bulk-import \ \
    --lib=${LIBS_DIR} \
    --output="format=kiji table=${KIJI}/songs nsplits=1" \
    --input="format=text file=kiji-mr-tutorial/song-metadata.json"

When the MapReduce bulk import job runs, KijiMR will warn you that jars are already added. This is normal and not a cause for alarm. Once the MapReduce job actually starts, you will receive periodic progress updates for the map and reduce phases of the job. When the job completes, MapReduce will print a number of metrics describing the results of the job. You can also examine the output of your job at (the JobTracker Web UI: http://localhost:50030).


Verify that the user table records were added properly by executing:

kiji ls --kiji=${KIJI}/songs --max-rows=3

Here’s what the first three entries should look like (assuming you’re using the pregenerated song data).

entity-id='song-32' [1361561116668] info:metadata
                             {"song_name": "song name-32", "artist_name": "artist-2", "album_name": "album-0", "genre": "genre4.0", "tempo": 130, "duration": 120}

entity-id='song-49' [1361561116737] info:metadata
                             {"song_name": "song name-49", "artist_name": "artist-3", "album_name": "album-1", "genre": "genre7.0", "tempo": 80, "duration": 240}

entity-id='song-36' [1361561116684] info:metadata
                             {"song_name": "song name-36", "artist_name": "artist-2", "album_name": "album-0", "genre": "genre4.0", "tempo": 170, "duration": 120}

Bulk importing using table import descriptors

In the example below, we use an import descriptor to bulk import our history of song plays from the song-plays.json into the user table. This method of bulk import requires a table import descriptor, which is a JSON file containing:

  • The table that is the destination of the import.
  • The table column families.
    • The name of the destination column.
    • The name of the source field to import from.
  • The source for the entity ID.
  • An optional timestamp to use instead of system timestamp.
  • The format version of the import descriptor.

The import descriptor used for the user table is shown below:

  name : "users",
  families : [ {
    name : "info",
    columns : [ {
      name : "track_plays",
      source : "song_id"
    } ]
  } ],
  entityIdSource : "user_id",
  overrideTimestampSource : "play_time",
  version : "import-1.0"

We then use the pre-written JSONBulkImporter which expects a JSON file. Each line in this file represents a separate JSON object to be imported into a row. The JSON object is described by an import descriptor such as the one above. Target columns whose sources are not present in the JSON object are skipped.

This descriptor parametrizes a special MapReduce job, where every row of the input file is parsed, and inserted into the users Kiji table. The value of user_id will be used as the row key in the Kiji table, the timestamp will be retrieved from the play_time field. The value of song_id will be extracted and inserted into the info:track_plays column.

Running the Example

Copy the descriptor file into HDFS.

$ hadoop fs -copyFromLocal \
    $MUSIC_HOME/import/song-plays-import-descriptor.json \

Run the bulk import tool by specifying JSONBulkImporter as the importer, the Kiji table users as the output, and song-plays.json as the input with the following command:

kiji bulk-import \
    -Dkiji.import.text.input.descriptor.path=kiji-mr-tutorial/song-plays-import-descriptor.json \
    --importer=org.kiji.mapreduce.lib.bulkimport.JSONBulkImporter \
    --output="format=kiji table=${KIJI}/users nsplits=1" \
    --input="format=text file=kiji-mr-tutorial/song-plays.json" \


Verify that the user table records were added properly by executing:

kiji ls --kiji=${KIJI}/users --max-rows=3

Here’s what the first three entries should look like:

entity-id='user-41' [1325750820000] info:track_plays

entity-id='user-3' [1325756880000] info:track_plays

entity-id='user-13' [1325752080000] info:track_plays