Accumulo 2.x Documentation  >>  Development  >>  Sampling



Accumulo has the ability to generate and scan a per table set of sample data. This sample data is kept up to date as a table is mutated. What key values are placed in the sample data is configurable per table.

This feature can be used for query estimation and optimization. For an example of estimation assume an Accumulo table is configured to generate a sample containing one millionth of a tables data. If a query is executed against the sample and returns one thousand results, then the same query against all the data would probably return a billion results. A nice property of having Accumulo generate the sample is that its always up to date. So estimations will be accurate even when querying the most recently written data.

An example of a query optimization is an iterator using sample data to get an estimate, and then making decisions based on the estimate.


In order to use sampling, an Accumulo table must be configured with a class that implements Sampler along with options for that class. For guidance on implementing a Sampler, see the Sampler interface javadoc. Accumulo provides a few implementations of Sampler out of the box. For information on how to use the samplers that ship with Accumulo, look in the package org.apache.accumulo.core.client.sample and consult the javadoc of the classes there. See the sampling example for examples of how to configure a Sampler on a table.

Once a table is configured with a Sampler, all writes after that point will generate sample data. For data written before sampling was configured, sample data will not be present. A compaction can be initiated that only compacts the files in the table that do not have sample data. The sampling example shows how to do this.

If the sampling configuration of a table is changed, then Accumulo will start generating new sample data with the new configuration. However old data will still have sample data generated with the previous configuration. A selective compaction can also be issued in this case to regenerate the sample data.

Scanning sample data

In order to scan sample data, use setSamplerConfiguration(...) method of Scanner or BatchScanner. Please consult the javadoc of this method for more information.

Sample data can also be scanned from within an Accumulo SortedKeyValueIterator. To see how to do this, look at the example iterator referenced in the sampling example. Also, consult the javadoc on IteratorEnvironment.cloneWithSamplingEnabled().

MapReduce jobs using the AccumuloInputFormat can also read sample data. See the javadoc for samplerConfiguration() in the configure() method of AccumuloInputFormat.

Scans over sample data will throw a SampleNotPresentException in the following cases :

  1. sample data is not present,
  2. sample data is present but was generated with multiple configurations
  3. sample data is partially present

So a scan over sample data can only succeed if all data written has sample data generated with the same configuration.

Bulk import

When generating rfiles to bulk import into Accumulo, those rfiles can contain sample data. To use this feature, look at the javadoc of sampler() in the configure() method of AccumuloFileOutputFormat.

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