Data Engineering Podcast

This show goes behind the scenes for the tools, techniques, and difficulties associated with the discipline of data engineering. Databases, workflows, automation, and data manipulation are just some of the topics that you will find here.

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06 October 2021

Adding Support For Distributed Transactions To The Redpanda Streaming Engine - E227

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Transactions are a necessary feature for ensuring that a set of actions are all performed as a single unit of work. In streaming systems this is necessary to ensure that a set of messages or transformations are all executed together across different queues. In this episode Denis Rystsov explains how he added support for transactions to the Redpanda streaming engine. He discusses the use cases for transactions, the different strategies, semantics, and guarantees that they might need to support, and how his implementation ended up improving the performance of bulk write operations. This is an interesting deep dive into the internals of a high performance streaming engine and the details that are involved in building distributed systems.


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  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Denis Rystsov about implementing transactions in the RedPanda streaming engine


  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you quickly recap what RedPanda is and the goals of the project?
  • What are the use cases for transactions in a pub/sub messaging system?
    • What are the elements of streaming systems that make atomic transactions a complex problem?
  • What was the motivation for starting down the path of adding transactions to the RedPanda engine?
    • How did the constraint of supporting the Kafka API influence your implementation strategy for transaction semantics?
  • Can you talk through the details of how you ended up implementing transactions in RedPanda?
    • What are some of the roadblocks and complexities that you encountered while working through the implementation?
  • How did you approach the validation and verification of the transactions?
  • What other features or capabilities are you planning to work on next?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen transactions in RedPanda used?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on transactions for RedPanda?
  • When are transactions the wrong choice?
  • What do you have planned for the future of transaction support in RedPanda?

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Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?


The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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