Synapse Spark Delta Time Travel
Published Nov 08 2022 08:00 AM 9,034 Views

Liliam Leme is a Microsoft Engineer focused on SQL & Azure Analytics based in the United Kingdom.



While working with a customer, they had a requirement to restore modified files to a specific point in time. They had built their architecture on top of a Data lake.


Looking for options

While working on this scenario, we explored some storage options available without any side customization, for example, Soft delete for blobs - Azure Storage | Microsoft Docs.


Soft delete with blob version enabled at the storage account could provide a version recovery file option, this will only work with a non-hierarchical namespace.


Another potential option was Delta files, which better suited our scenario and have the time travel functionality.


What is Delta?

Delta lake is an open-source storage framework that enables building a Lakehouse Architecture. Delta Lake is simple: Information about which objects are part of a Delta table is maintained in an ACID manner, using a write-ahead log that is itself stored in the cloud object store. The objects themselves are encoded in Parquet. Delta lake is becoming increasingly popular and you can use it inside of your Synapse Workspace.


To learn more, please visit Home | Delta Lake


What is Time travel using Delta?

Time travel enables point-in-time query snapshots or even rolls back erroneous updates.


Using Delta Time travel

The solution is very simple. The plan is to export a point in time to recover a change in a transaction. The steps are to be executed in an environment you already set up the Delta files.


For more information about Delta, please read: Overview of how to use Linux Foundation Delta Lake in Apache and  Spark for Azure Synapse Analytics - Azure Synapse Analytics | Microsoft Docs


For example, here I have a FactCurrencyRate_join folder that contains parquet files using Delta format and it is stored as: /sqlserverlessanalitics/FactCurrencyRate_join:




df =\





FactCurrencyRate_join contains the following columns - Fig. 1 - Metadata:








Fig. 1 - Metadata


Suppose I increased by "mistake" a few times the AverageRate values and now I need to travel back in time to bring back the last valid value before I changed.  Following the code to travel in time based on the checkpoint where the information was in the state before the changes, which in my example is "2022-09-16 08:41:00". If you want to list the last checkpoint and versions, follow the code example. Fig. 2 - shows the results and Fig. 3 - checkpoints illustration: 


from delta.tables import *
deltaTable = DeltaTable.forPath(spark, "/sqlserverlessanalitics/FactCurrencyRate_join/")
latestHistory = deltaTable.history();    



Fig. 2 - shows the results



Fig. 3 - checkpoints illustration


Here  I am using the timestamp, you can also use the version number if you prefer. Anyway, I want to travel back  to "2022-09-16 at 08:41:00":




val df_read ="delta").option("timestampAsOf", "2022-09-16 08:41:00").load("/sqlserverlessanalitics/FactCurrencyRate_join")



Now, I want to send the data to a different new folder to confirm the information:






I am working here with files in a Delta format, you can also do the same with Spark Delta tables if you prefer.


How can I make Delta Lake accessible for BI tools?

You can make Delta lake files accessible to BI tools using a Serverless SQL pool. Serverless SQL Pool supports Delta files and tables in your Spark pool. It enables you to easily query them or create views on top of them. You can even build a logical Data Warehouse or just explore the data. Below is a sample query of our persisted Delta table after time travel was applied, and the query results, Fig. 4 - Results:




    TOP 100 *



        BULK '',

        FORMAT = 'Delta'

    ) AS [result]





Fig. 4 - Results


Creating Delta Tables

<Tables based on Delta format integrated to Serverless SQL Pool are currently in Public Preview>

The Serverless SQL pool has a service that ensures metadata stays synchronized with Spark. This enables external tables created and managed on the Lake Database to be available as external tables with the same name in the corresponding synchronized database on your Serverless SQL pool.


To learn more, please read  Shared metadata tables - Azure Synapse Analytics | Microsoft Learn


For example, I am reading the files from my folder which contains a set parquet with information of FactCurrencyRate - called FactCurrencyRate_Parquet, and then I save them as Delta Table on the Lake Database Default:



df =\




Fig. 5 - Shows the Delta table created accessible from Synapse Studio - > Data:



Fig. 5 - Shows the Delta table


Follow Fig. 6 - Results from Serverless SQL Pool:



Fig. 6 - Results



Delta time travel can be used in Apache Spark for Synapse as an option to do a point-in-time recovery while building a Lakehouse architecture. This is very useful as it enables you to roll back changes, create snapshot scenarios, and manage the file versions and changes on top of your Data lake architecture. As Serverless SQL pools support Delta format and it is integrated with Spark you can use it to explore further as an end-to-end solution.


I hope this example helps you!

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Last update:
‎Nov 07 2022 10:16 AM
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