Tutorial 3: Using a Pump

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Tutorial 3: Using a Pump

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In the last two tutorials, we imported data into s-Server and applied simple analytics to this data. Next, we're going to learn to move this data around--from stream to stream, from table to stream, from stream to table, and so on. Moving data from place to place involves pumps.

Because of the nature of streaming data--it has to be moving in order for you to work with it--pumps are a crucial part of programming with s-Server. They let you perform different analytics on the same data set, "enrich" data using historical data. Above all, they let you query data at multiple stages in your application.

Eventually, you will develop pipelines with pumps, whereby a series of pumps move data from stream to stream. For now, we're going to work on making a simple pump to move data from one stream to another. Then, we'll apply the same skill to moving data from an s-Server stream to an external database.


In technical terms, a pump is a SQLstream schema object that provides a continuously running INSERT INTO stream SELECT ... FROM query functionality.

Basically, you set up a pump so that it selects data from one source (a stream or table) and inserts it into a sink (another stream or table). It does so until you stop the pump. It's a good idea to create pumps stopped (they're created as stopped by default), and then use a statement called ALTER to start the pump. (When you have multiple pumps, you should start them all using the same ALTER statement. When you do so, s-Server automatically ensures that they start in the right order for your application.)

As a source, we're going to use the stream that we set up in the previous tutorial. That stream was called "buses"."buses_stream".

This stream should still exist in s-Server. To get data flowing into the stream, we also need to make sure that the Buses demo data generator is running.

Starting the Buses Demo

Open the SQLstream desktop folder and double-click the Stream CSV Bus Data icon. (You can also use the s-Server SQLstream Blaze cover page, also accessible from this folder.)


Once you click the application's icon, an information window opens.



Once you start this data generator, the stream "buses"."buses_stream" should have data flowing. To test this, open up sqllineClient by double-clicking the sqlLine icon in the SQLstream desktop folder.

In the terminal window that opens, enter the following line:

select stream * from "buses"."buses_stream";


This tells s-Server "get me every column in the stream buses_stream which is in the schema buses".

Note that we have to use the STREAM keyword here because we're selecting data from a stream. Every time you run a SELECT on a stream in s-Server (or a streaming VIEW), you need to use this keyword. The keyword tells s-Server that you are querying a stream whose results go on forever.

You should see data flowing:


After you've confirmed that data is flowing, you can close the terminal window.

Creating a Native Stream to Serve as a Destination

The next thing that we're going to do is create a simple native stream--a stream that handles data within s-Server--that will serve as a sink, or destination, for the pump.

Double-click the sqlline icon again to open a new terminal window.

We can create a native stream pretty simply. We just do a CREATE OR REPLACE STREAM statement, give the stream a name and schema (we can use the same "buses" schema that we used in the previous tutorial), and designate columns for the stream. Here, we'll just add two columns, "bus" and "time_reported".

Enter the following code into sqlline. You can also open a text editor, enter these lines of code, and save the file with a .sql file extension. Then you can use the !run command in sqlline to run the code. This can be easier to debug than entering code directly into sqlline.

CREATE OR REPLACE STREAM "buses"."pump_stream"


"bus" VARCHAR(4096),

"time_reported" TIMESTAMP



To confirm that this stream has been created, enter the statement

SELECT STREAM * FROM "buses"."pump_stream";


If you don't get an error, the stream has been created. (You won't see any data in the stream, because none is there yet.)

Leave this window open with the SELECT statement running. Once we start the pump, we will see data flowing in this terminal.

Matching Data

When you pump data from a source stream/table to a target stream/table, you need to make sure that column data types are compatible.

For example:

Columns of type VARCHAR() or CHAR() are compatible with columns with character types, as well as date and time types.

Columns of type BIGINT, DOUBLE, INTEGER are compatible with columns with numeric types .

Columns of type BOOLEAN are compatible with other BOOLEAN columns only.

If you're creating a new stream, this is often not a problem, as you can simply make sure the target stream's columns match those of the source stream. If you're pumping data to an external database table, you will need to make sure the columns in the target database table also match.

If you try to pump data of the wrong type into a column, data transfer will often fail. For example, if you try to pump data with nonnumeric characters into a column of type DOUBLE, the transfer will fail.


Creating the Pump

You create pumps like any other SQL object, using a CREATE statement. Like streams, pumps need to be created within schemas. The pump below is going to copy data from "buses"."test" to "buses"."pump_stream". We pick the columns into which we want to copy data--in this case, "driver" and "time_reported". Then, we select the columns from which we want to copy--in this case, "id" and "reported_at".

Open a new sqlline window and enter the following code into sqlline.


INSERT INTO "buses"."pump_stream"

   ("driver", "time_reported")




 FROM  "buses"."test";



By default, pumps are created as stopped. That means when you initially create them, they don't move any data.

To start the pump, enter the following line:

ALTER PUMP "buses"."my-Pump" START;



Return to the terminal with the SELECT statement running. You should start to see data flowing in this window.


Now, return to the previous terminal and enter

ALTER PUMP "buses"."my-Pump" STOP;



Observe that data stops flowing in the terminal with the SELECT statement running. That's because we just stopped the pump.

We've just used a pump to copy data from one streaming stream to stream. As long as data continues to flow into the first stream, data will also flow in the second stream. Using pumps is a key part of moving data around in s-Server. They are important because you can only get query results while data is flowing in a stream.

Another common use for pumps is to move data from a stream into an external database, in order to archive data. We will cover how to do so in the next section of this tutorial.