Moving and processing data between systems is a common pain point. Users need up-to-date data across systems for use in business analytics, for event-driven architectures, for creating audit trails, or for archiving data. One way to do that is to set up an external service that regularly polls the database for changes.
If you’re using CockroachDB, you can just use changefeeds. Changefeeds are built in natively, removing the need to set up, manage, and monitor an external change data capture system. They are quick and easy to use. But, as easy as they are, we hear time and again that it could be easier and more cost-efficient to run your data pipelines.
The problem is that today you are forced to stream more data than you necessarily want to (the entire table), in a predetermined format. And you often need to set up external tools or write custom sidecar processes to run operations on that data. These factors increase the cost, complexity, and setup time for your data stream.
We recently introduced CDC Transformations to reduce the cost & complexity of your data pipelines. CDC Transformations let you:
With this capability in hand, total cost of ownership (TCO) and time-to-value for some applications can be significantly reduced with little effort.
Note: CDC Transformations are currently in preview. Check out our documentation for up-to-date limitations and details.
Let’s take, for example, a fintech company that processes payments. When a customer makes a payment, this company first saves that transaction information to their database. They additionally save some of the information about the transaction in a custom-event format in an outbox table. They build a sidecar service to poll the outbox table every five minutes for changes waiting to be streamed. The service picks those changes up and sends the new events to a fraud checking service, an anti-money-laundering service, and other important services.
Although this works, the cost and complexity of their data pipeline could be significantly reduced. Here are three examples:
CREATE CHANGEFEED INTO ‘webhook-https://[endpoint]’ AS SELECT cdc_updated_timestamp()::int AS event_timestamp, ‘users’ AS table, IF(cdc_is_delete(),’delete’,’create’) AS type, jsonb_build_object(‘email’,email, ‘admin’, admin) AS payload FROM users;
In this example, our message will include metadata (the timestamp for the event, the name of the table, and whether this event was a delete or an update) and a payload column with the event data we want in json format.
The simplified pipeline would instead look like this: Customer makes a payment -> transaction information is saved in the database -> necessary event information is sent directly to the services that need it.
Consider this: You want to stream user data to an OLAP data warehouse (in this case into Google Pubsub and then Google BigQuery) for use in running business analytics. However, only a subset of the data is relevant for analysis. In fact, some of the information stored in your user table is sensitive information, that would create complicated compliance concerns if it was replicated off of your core database. Additionally, you want to pre-process some of the data before putting it into BigQuery.
CDC Transformations can be used to transform and filter out unneeded/unwanted data upfront, with a single SQL command. This significantly reduces TCO by:
In the vanilla scenario, we would use changefeeds to stream changes to Google Pubsub, process our data using Dataflow, and finally store that data in BigQuery for use by the business analytics team.
With CDC Transformations, we can first reduce the amount of data we send to Google Pubsub by filtering out columns we don’t need upfront. We can replace the need for Dataflow by adding the pre-processing to our changefeed as well. In the second scenario, we can ingest our messages straight from Google Pubsub to BigQuery.
Our changefeed would look something like this:
CREATE CHANGEFEED INTO ‘gc-pubsub://[endpoint]?region=us-east1&topic_name=bigquery’ WITH schema_change_policy=stop AS SELECT column1, column2, (column3 + column4 - column5) as aggregate, (column6 + column7) as total, FROM table;
Let’s say that with this filtering and pre-processing, we reduce our message size by 30%. Bringing the total data we send to Google Pubsub down from 100 mb/sec -> 70 mb/sec. We also remove the need to use Dataflow to process the messages. If we crunch out the numbers, we can reduce our pipeline costs by 40%.
This example illustrates that CDC Transformations are an excellent tool for simplifying and cutting down data pipeline costs. Although actual savings achieved will depend on the specific workload. Check out 8 ways to use CDC Transformations for more powerful data streaming for more ways to use CDC Transformations in your data pipeline.
If you’d like to learn more about how and when to use CDC Transformations check out this quick demonstration I made:
Also, if you’re interested in learning more about changefeeds and change data capture check out these resources:
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