Exercise - Integrate a Notebook within Azure Synapse Pipelines


In this unit, you create an Azure Synapse Spark notebook to analyze and transform data loaded by a mapping data flow, and store the data in a data lake. You create a parameter cell that accepts a string parameter that defines the folder name for the data the notebook writes to the data lake.

You then add this notebook to a Synapse pipeline, and pass the unique pipeline run ID to the notebook parameter so that you can later correlate the pipeline run with the data saved by the notebook activity.

Finally, you use the Monitor hub in Synapse Studio to monitor the pipeline run, obtain the run ID, and then locate the corresponding files stored in the data lake.

About Apache Spark and notebooks

Apache Spark is a parallel processing framework that supports in-memory processing to boost the performance of big-data analytic applications. Apache Spark in Azure Synapse Analytics is one of Microsoft's implementations of Apache Spark in the cloud.

An Apache Spark notebook in Synapse Studio is a web interface for you to create files that contain live code, visualizations, and narrative text. Notebooks are a good place to validate ideas and use quick experiments to get insights from your data. Notebooks are also widely used in data preparation, data visualization, machine learning, and other Big Data scenarios.

Create a Synapse Spark notebook

Suppose you created a mapping data flow in Synapse Analytics to process, join, and import user profile data. Now, you want to find the top five products for each user, based on which ones are both preferred and top choice, and have the most purchases in the past 12 months. Then, you want to calculate the top five products overall.

In this exercise, you create a Synapse Spark notebook to make these calculations.

  1. Open Synapse Analytics Studio (https://web.azuresynapse.net/), and go to the Data hub.

    The Data menu item is highlighted.

  2. Select the Linked tab (1), and expand the primary data lake storage account (2) underneath the Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2. Select the wwi-02 container (3), and open the top-products folder (4). Right-click on any Parquet file (5), select the New notebook menu item (6), and then select Load to DataFrame (7). If you don't see the folder, select Refresh.

    The Parquet file and new notebook option are highlighted.

  3. Make sure the notebook is attached to your Spark pool.

    The attach to Spark pool menu item is highlighted.

  4. Replace the Parquet file name with *.parquet (1) to select all Parquet files in the top-products folder. For example, the path should be similar to: abfss://wwi-02@YOUR_DATALAKE_NAME.dfs.core.windows.net/top-products/*.parquet.

    The filename is highlighted.

  5. Select Run all on the notebook toolbar to execute the notebook.

    The cell results are displayed.


    The first time you run a notebook in a Spark pool, Synapse creates a new session. This can take approximately 3 - 5 minutes.


    To run just the cell, either hover over the cell and select the Run cell icon to the left of the cell, or select the cell, then enter Ctrl+Enter.

  6. Create a new cell underneath by selecting the + button, and selecting the Code cell item. The + button is located beneath the notebook cell on the left. Alternatively, you can also expand the + Cell menu in the Notebook toolbar, and select the Code cell item.

    The Add Code menu option is highlighted.

  7. Run the following command in the new cell to populate a new dataframe called topPurchases, create a new temporary view named top_purchases, and show the first 100 rows:

    topPurchases = df.select(
        "UserId", "ProductId",
        "ItemsPurchasedLast12Months", "IsTopProduct",
    # Populate a temporary view so we can query from SQL

    The output should look similar to the following:

    |   148|     2717|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   148|     4002|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   148|     1716|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   148|     4520|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   148|      951|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   148|     1817|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   463|     2634|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   463|     2795|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   471|     1946|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   471|     4431|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   471|      566|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   471|     2179|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   471|     3758|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   471|     2434|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   471|     1793|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   471|     1620|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   471|     1572|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   833|      957|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   833|     3140|                      null|       false|              true|
    |   833|     1087|                      null|       false|              true|
  8. Run the following command in a new cell to create a new temporary view by using SQL:

        select UserId, ProductId, ItemsPurchasedLast12Months
        from (select *,
                    row_number() over (partition by UserId order by ItemsPurchasedLast12Months desc) as seqnum
            from top_purchases
            ) a
        where seqnum <= 5 and IsTopProduct == true and IsPreferredProduct = true
        order by a.UserId


    There is no output for this query.

    The query uses the top_purchases temporary view as a source and applies a row_number() over method to apply a row number for the records for each user where ItemsPurchasedLast12Months is greatest. The where clause filters the results so we only retrieve up to five products where both IsTopProduct and IsPreferredProduct are set to true. This gives us the top five most purchased products for each user where those products are also identified as their favorite products, according to their user profile stored in Azure Cosmos DB.

  9. Run the following command in a new cell to create and display a new DataFrame that stores the results of the top_5_products temporary view you created in the previous cell:

    top5Products = sqlContext.table("top_5_products")

    You should see an output similar to the following, which displays the top five preferred products per user:

    The top five preferred products are displayed per user.

  10. Calculate the top five products overall, based on those that are both preferred by customers and purchased the most. To do this, run the following command in a new cell:

    top5ProductsOverall = (top5Products.select("ProductId","ItemsPurchasedLast12Months")
        .agg( sum("ItemsPurchasedLast12Months").alias("Total") )
        .orderBy( col("Total").desc() )

    In this cell, we grouped the top five preferred products by product ID, summed up the total items purchased in the last 12 months, sorted that value in descending order, and returned the top five results. Your output should be similar to the following:

    |     2107| 4538|
    |     4833| 4533|
    |      347| 4523|
    |     3459| 4233|
    |     4246| 4155|

Create a parameter cell

Azure Synapse pipelines look for the parameters cell, and treat this cell as defaults for the parameters passed in at execution time. The execution engine will add a new cell beneath the parameters cell with input parameters to overwrite the default values. When a parameters cell isn't designated, the injected cell will be inserted at the top of the notebook.

  1. We are going to execute this notebook from a pipeline. We want to pass in a parameter that sets a runId variable value that will be used to name the Parquet file. Run the following command in a new cell:

    import uuid
    # Generate random GUID
    runId = uuid.uuid4()

    We are using the uuid library that comes with Spark to generate a random GUID. We want to override the runId variable with a parameter passed in by the pipeline. To do this, we need to toggle this as a parameter cell.

  2. Select the actions ellipses (...) on the top-right corner of the cell (1), and then select Toggle parameter cell (2).

    The menu item is highlighted.

    After toggling this option, you will see the Parameters tag on the cell.

    The cell is configured to accept parameters.

  3. Paste the following code in a new cell to use the runId variable as the Parquet filename in the /top5-products/ path in the primary data lake account. Replace YOUR_DATALAKE_NAME in the path with the name of your primary data lake account. To find this, scroll up to Cell 1 at the top of the page (1). Copy the data lake storage account from the path (2). Paste this value as a replacement for YOUR_DATALAKE_NAME in the path (3) inside the new cell, then run the command in the cell.

    top5ProductsOverall.write.parquet('abfss://wwi-02@YOUR_DATALAKE_NAME.dfs.core.windows.net/top5-products/' + str(runId) + '.parquet')

    The path is updated with the name of the primary data lake account.

  4. Verify that the file was written to the data lake. Go to the Data hub, and select the Linked tab (1). Expand the primary data lake storage account, and then select the wwi-02 container (2). Go to the top5-products folder (3). You should see a folder for the Parquet file in the directory with a GUID as the filename (4).

    The parquet file is highlighted.

    The Parquet write method on the dataframe in the Notebook cell created this directory because it did not previously exist.

Add the Notebook to a Synapse pipeline

Referring back to the Mapping Data Flow we described at the beginning of the exercise, suppose you want to execute this notebook after the Data Flow runs as part of your orchestration process. To do this, you add this notebook to a pipeline as a new Notebook activity.

  1. Return to the notebook. Select Properties (1) at the top-right corner of the notebook, and then enter Calculate Top 5 Products for the Name (2).

    The properties blade is displayed.

  2. Select Add to pipeline (1) at the top-right corner of the notebook, and then select Existing pipeline (2).

    The add to pipeline button is highlighted.

  3. Select the Write User Profile Data to ASA pipeline (1), and then select Add *(2).

    The pipeline is selected.

  4. Synapse Studio adds the Notebook activity to the pipeline. Rearrange the Notebook activity so it sits to the right of the Data flow activity. Select the Data flow activity, and drag a Success activity pipeline connection green box to the Notebook activity.

    The green arrow is highlighted.

    The Success activity arrow instructs the pipeline to run the Notebook activity after the Data flow activity successfully runs.

  5. Select the Notebook activity (1), then select the Settings tab (2), expand Base parameters (3), and then select + New (4). Enter runId in the Name field (5). Select String for the Type (6). For the Value, select Add dynamic content (7).

    The settings are displayed.

  6. Select Pipeline run ID under System variables (1). This adds @pipeline().RunId to the dynamic content box (2). Select Finish (3) to close the dialog box.

    The dynamic content form is displayed.

    The Pipeline run ID value is a unique GUID assigned to each pipeline run. We will use this value for the name of the Parquet file by passing this value in as the runId Notebook parameter. We can then look through the pipeline run history and find the specific Parquet file created for each pipeline run.

  7. Select Publish all then Publish to save your changes.

    Publish all is highlighted.

  8. After publishing is complete, select Add trigger (1), then Trigger now (2) to run the updated pipeline.

    The trigger menu item is highlighted.

  9. Select OK to run the trigger.

    The OK button is highlighted.

Monitor the pipeline run

The Monitor hub lets you monitor current and historical activities for SQL, Apache Spark, and Pipelines.

  1. Go to the Monitor hub.

    The Monitor hub menu item is selected.

  2. Select Pipeline runs (1), and wait for the pipeline run to successfully complete (2). You may need to refresh (3) the view.

    The pipeline run succeeded.

  3. Select the name of the pipeline to view the pipeline's activity runs.

    The pipeline name is selected.

  4. Notice both the Data flow activity and the new Notebook activity (1). Make note of the Pipeline run ID value (2). We will compare this to the Parquet file name generated by the notebook. Select the Calculate Top 5 Products Notebook name to view its details (3).

    The pipeline run details are displayed.

  5. Here, we see the Notebook run details. You can select Playback (1) to watch a playback of the progress through the jobs (2). At the bottom, you can view the Diagnostics and Logs with different filter options (3). To the right, we can view the run details, such as the duration, Livy ID, Spark pool details, and so on. Select the View details link on a job to view its details (5).

    The run details are displayed.

  6. The Spark application UI opens in a new tab where we can see the stage details. Expand the DAG Visualization to view the stage details.

    The Spark stage details are displayed.

  7. Go back to the Data hub.

    Data hub.

  8. Select the Linked tab (1), then select the wwi-02 container (2) on the primary data lake storage account, go to the top5-products folder (3), and verify that a folder exists for the Parquet file whose name matches the Pipeline run ID.

    The file is highlighted.

    As you can see, we have a file whose name matches the Pipeline run ID we previously noted:

    The Pipeline run ID is highlighted.

    These values match because we passed in the Pipeline run ID to the runId parameter on the Notebook activity.