Interact with Azure Cosmos DB using Apache Spark 2 in Azure Synapse Link

Note

For Synapse Link for Cosmos DB using Spark 3, refer to this article Azure Synapse Link for Azure Cosmos DB on Spark 3

In this article, you'll learn how to interact with Azure Cosmos DB using Synapse Apache Spark 2. With its full support for Scala, Python, SparkSQL, and C#, Synapse Apache Spark is central to analytics, data engineering, data science, and data exploration scenarios in Azure Synapse Link for Azure Cosmos DB.

The following capabilities are supported while interacting with Azure Cosmos DB:

  • Synapse Apache Spark allows you to analyze data in your Azure Cosmos DB containers that are enabled with Azure Synapse Link in near real-time without impacting the performance of your transactional workloads. The following two options are available to query the Azure Cosmos DB analytical store from Spark:
    • Load to Spark DataFrame
    • Create Spark table
  • Synapse Apache Spark also allows you to ingest data into Azure Cosmos DB. It is important to note that data is always ingested into Azure Cosmos DB containers through the transactional store. When Synapse Link is enabled, any new inserts, updates, and deletes are then automatically synced to the analytical store.
  • Synapse Apache Spark also supports Spark structured streaming with Azure Cosmos DB as a source as well as a sink.

The following sections walk you through the syntax of above capabilities. You can also checkout the learn module on how to Query Azure Cosmos DB with Apache Spark for Azure Synapse Analytics. Gestures in Azure Synapse Analytics workspace are designed to provide an easy out-of-the-box experience to get started. Gestures are visible when you right-click on an Azure Cosmos DB container in the Data tab of the Synapse workspace. With gestures, you can quickly generate code and tailor it to your needs. Gestures are also perfect for discovering data with a single click.

Important

You should be aware of some constraints in the analytical schema that could lead to the unexpected behavior in data loading operations. As an example, only first 1000 properties from transactional schema are available in the analytical schema, properties with spaces are not available, etc. If you are experiencing some unexpected results, check the analytical store schema constraints for more details.

Query Azure Cosmos DB analytical store

Before you learn about the two possible options to query Azure Cosmos DB analytical store, loading to Spark DataFrame and creating Spark table, it is worth exploring the differences in experience so you can choose the option that works for your needs.

The difference in experience is around whether underlying data changes in the Azure Cosmos DB container should be automatically reflected in the analysis performed in Spark. When either a Spark DataFrame is registered or a Spark table is created against a container's analytical store, metadata around the current snapshot of data in the analytical store is fetched to Spark for efficient pushdown of subsequent analysis. It is important to note that since Spark follows a lazy evaluation policy, unless an action is invoked on the Spark DataFrame or a SparkSQL query is executed against the Spark table, actual data is not fetched from the underlying container's analytical store.

In the case of loading to Spark DataFrame, the fetched metadata is cached through the lifetime of the Spark session and hence subsequent actions invoked on the DataFrame are evaluated against the snapshot of the analytical store at the time of DataFrame creation.

On the other hand, in the case of creating a Spark table, the metadata of the analytical store state is not cached in Spark and is reloaded on every SparkSQL query execution against the Spark table.

Thus, you can choose between loading to Spark DataFrame and creating a Spark table based on whether you want your Spark analysis to be evaluated against a fixed snapshot of the analytical store or against the latest snapshot of the analytical store respectively.

If your analytical queries have frequently used filters, you have the option to partition based on these fields for better query performance. You can periodically execute partitioning job from an Azure Synapse Spark notebook, to trigger partitioning on analytical store. This partitioned store points to the ADLS Gen2 primary storage account that is linked to your Azure Synapse workspace. To learn more, see the introduction to custom partitioning and how to configure custom partitioning articles.

Note

To query the Azure Cosmos DB API of Mongo DB accounts, learn more about the full fidelity schema representation in the analytical store and the extended property names to be used.

Note

Please note that all options in the commands below are case sensitive. For example, you must use Gateway while gateway will return an error.

Load to Spark DataFrame

In this example, you'll create a Spark DataFrame that points to the Azure Cosmos DB analytical store. You can then perform additional analysis by invoking Spark actions against the DataFrame. This operation doesn't impact the transactional store.

The syntax in Python would be the following:

# To select a preferred list of regions in a multi-region Azure Cosmos DB account, add .option("spark.cosmos.preferredRegions", "<Region1>,<Region2>")

df = spark.read.format("cosmos.olap")\
    .option("spark.synapse.linkedService", "<enter linked service name>")\
    .option("spark.cosmos.container", "<enter container name>")\
    .load()

The equivalent syntax in Scala would be the following:

// To select a preferred list of regions in a multi-region Azure Cosmos DB account, add option("spark.cosmos.preferredRegions", "<Region1>,<Region2>")

val df_olap = spark.read.format("cosmos.olap").
    option("spark.synapse.linkedService", "<enter linked service name>").
    option("spark.cosmos.container", "<enter container name>").
    load()

Create Spark table

In this example, you'll create a Spark table that points the Azure Cosmos DB analytical store. You can then perform additional analysis by invoking SparkSQL queries against the table. This operation neither impacts the transactional store nor does it incur any data movement. If you decide to delete this Spark table, the underlying Azure Cosmos DB container and the corresponding analytical store will not be affected.

This scenario is convenient to reuse Spark tables through third-party tools and provide accessibility to the underlying data for the run-time.

The syntax to create a Spark table is as follows:

%%sql
-- To select a preferred list of regions in a multi-region Azure Cosmos DB account, add spark.cosmos.preferredRegions '<Region1>,<Region2>' in the config options

create table call_center using cosmos.olap options (
    spark.synapse.linkedService '<enter linked service name>',
    spark.cosmos.container '<enter container name>'
)

Note

If you have scenarios where the schema of the underlying Azure Cosmos DB container changes over time; and if you want the updated schema to automatically reflect in the queries against the Spark table, you can achieve this by setting the spark.cosmos.autoSchemaMerge option to true in the Spark table options.

Write Spark DataFrame to Azure Cosmos DB container

In this example, you'll write a Spark DataFrame into an Azure Cosmos DB container. This operation will impact the performance of transactional workloads and consume request units provisioned on the Azure Cosmos DB container or the shared database.

The syntax in Python would be the following:

# Write a Spark DataFrame into an Azure Cosmos DB container
# To select a preferred list of regions in a multi-region Azure Cosmos DB account, add .option("spark.cosmos.preferredRegions", "<Region1>,<Region2>")

YOURDATAFRAME.write.format("cosmos.oltp")\
    .option("spark.synapse.linkedService", "<enter linked service name>")\
    .option("spark.cosmos.container", "<enter container name>")\
    .option("spark.cosmos.write.upsertEnabled", "true")\
    .mode('append')\
    .save()

The equivalent syntax in Scala would be the following:

// To select a preferred list of regions in a multi-region Azure Cosmos DB account, add option("spark.cosmos.preferredRegions", "<Region1>,<Region2>")

import org.apache.spark.sql.SaveMode

df.write.format("cosmos.oltp").
    option("spark.synapse.linkedService", "<enter linked service name>").
    option("spark.cosmos.container", "<enter container name>"). 
    option("spark.cosmos.write.upsertEnabled", "true").
    mode(SaveMode.Overwrite).
    save()

Load streaming DataFrame from container

In this gesture, you'll use Spark Streaming capability to load data from a container into a dataframe. The data will be stored in the primary data lake account (and file system) you connected to the workspace.

Note

If you are looking to reference external libraries in Synapse Apache Spark, learn more here. For instance, if you are looking to ingest a Spark DataFrame to a container of Cosmos DB API for Mongo DB, you can leverage the Mongo DB connector for Spark here.

Load streaming DataFrame from Azure Cosmos DB container

In this example, you'll use Spark's structured streaming capability to load data from an Azure Cosmos DB container into a Spark streaming DataFrame using the change feed functionality in Azure Cosmos DB. The checkpoint data used by Spark will be stored in the primary data lake account (and file system) that you connected to the workspace.

If the folder /localReadCheckpointFolder isn't created (in the example below), it will be automatically created. This operation will impact the performance of transactional workloads and consume Request Units provisioned on the Azure Cosmos DB container or shared database.

The syntax in Python would be the following:

# To select a preferred list of regions in a multi-region Azure Cosmos DB account, add .option("spark.cosmos.preferredRegions", "<Region1>,<Region2>")

dfStream = spark.readStream\
    .format("cosmos.oltp")\
    .option("spark.synapse.linkedService", "<enter linked service name>")\
    .option("spark.cosmos.container", "<enter container name>")\
    .option("spark.cosmos.changeFeed.readEnabled", "true")\
    .option("spark.cosmos.changeFeed.startFromTheBeginning", "true")\
    .option("spark.cosmos.changeFeed.checkpointLocation", "/localReadCheckpointFolder")\
    .option("spark.cosmos.changeFeed.queryName", "streamQuery")\
    .load()

The equivalent syntax in Scala would be the following:

// To select a preferred list of regions in a multi-region Azure Cosmos DB account, add .option("spark.cosmos.preferredRegions", "<Region1>,<Region2>")

val dfStream = spark.readStream.
    format("cosmos.oltp").
    option("spark.synapse.linkedService", "<enter linked service name>").
    option("spark.cosmos.container", "<enter container name>").
    option("spark.cosmos.changeFeed.readEnabled", "true").
    option("spark.cosmos.changeFeed.startFromTheBeginning", "true").
    option("spark.cosmos.changeFeed.checkpointLocation", "/localReadCheckpointFolder").
    option("spark.cosmos.changeFeed.queryName", "streamQuery").
    load()

Write streaming DataFrame to Azure Cosmos DB container

In this example, you'll write a streaming DataFrame into an Azure Cosmos DB container. This operation will impact the performance of transactional workloads and consume Request Units provisioned on the Azure Cosmos DB container or shared database. If the folder /localWriteCheckpointFolder isn't created (in the example below), it will be automatically created.

The syntax in Python would be the following:

# To select a preferred list of regions in a multi-region Azure Cosmos DB account, add .option("spark.cosmos.preferredRegions", "<Region1>,<Region2>")

# If you are using managed private endpoints for Azure Cosmos DB analytical store and using batch writes/reads and/or streaming writes/reads to transactional store you should set connectionMode to Gateway. 

streamQuery = dfStream\
        .writeStream\
        .format("cosmos.oltp")\
        .outputMode("append")\
        .option("checkpointLocation", "/localWriteCheckpointFolder")\
        .option("spark.synapse.linkedService", "<enter linked service name>")\
        .option("spark.cosmos.container", "<enter container name>")\
        .option("spark.cosmos.connection.mode", "Gateway")\
        .start()

streamQuery.awaitTermination()

The equivalent syntax in Scala would be the following:

// To select a preferred list of regions in a multi-region Azure Cosmos DB account, add .option("spark.cosmos.preferredRegions", "<Region1>,<Region2>")

// If you are using managed private endpoints for Azure Cosmos DB analytical store and using batch writes/reads and/or streaming writes/reads to transactional store you should set connectionMode to Gateway. 

val query = dfStream.
            writeStream.
            format("cosmos.oltp").
            outputMode("append").
            option("checkpointLocation", "/localWriteCheckpointFolder").
            option("spark.synapse.linkedService", "<enter linked service name>").
            option("spark.cosmos.container", "<enter container name>").
            option("spark.cosmos.connection.mode", "Gateway").
            start()

query.awaitTermination()

Next steps