Optimizing long batch processes or ETL by using buff/cache properly III (full workflow)

In the two previous post we have seen how disk IO and network IO affects our ETLs. For both use cases we have seen several techniques that could be used to improve drastically performance and drive to an efficient resource usage:

  • Avoid IO disk at all.
  • Use buff/cache properly if IO disk couldn’t be avoided.
  • Optimize data download by choosing the right file format, use the Keep-Alive properly and parallelize network operations.

In this post we are going to put together network and processing operations to see the improvement in a complete workflow.

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Optimizing long batch processes or ETL by using buff/cache properly II (parallelizing network operations)

In the previous post I have focused in avoiding as much as possible IO on disk and if that was not possible using buff/cache as much as possible by grouping in time IO operations. This approach can make our ETL processes run X times faster. In the two examples the numbers where:

  • Avoiding IO at all was 11,3 times faster
  • Using buff/cache was almost 4 times faster

All the examples used a dataset already in the disk so no real network operation occurred. In this post I am going to focus on network operation using again GNU parallel.

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Spreading GNU Parallel by making a testimonial video

Several months ago I was asked to record a small video to Spread GNU Parallel. GNU Parallel is a fantastic tool, a Swiss army knife for process parallelization. With GNU Parallel you can:

Till that moment I had already written 2 post on my web page:

But making videos was a new world for me… Here you are:

Please do not apply any cat filter to it (vlc video.mp3|cat) 😛 😛 It is not funny! (April’s fool is coming)


Hitachi Vantara Certified Specialist – Pentaho Data Integration Implementation HCE-5920 Exam

This August I got my “Hitachi Vantara Certified Specialist – Pentaho Data Integration Implementation HCE-5920 Exam” certification. The badge can be checked by clicking in the image or in the link

Hitachi Vantara Certified Specialist - Pentaho Data Integration implementation


In 2016 I finished a project for an EU institution to automate the generation of many reports. The data sources were diverse. eg: API’s, Databases, etc.

I used Pentaho Data Integration (Also know as PDI, Spoon or Kettle) to create the ETL’s jobs that consolidated all the data and generated the reports using the Report-Designer (now Pentaho Reporting)

The reports were generated automatically in 15 minutes while the previous way was taking around 3 weeks as the report were being filled manually in an intermittent way: 2 hours today, 3 hours tomorrow, 5 hours next week.

This summer, HitachiVantara that bought Pentaho several years ago offered for free its course Pentaho Data Integration Fundamentals (DI1000W). I took the course to refresh my knowledge and decided to pass the HCE-5920 Exam to get the certification. Finally I got my Badge 🙂


Optimizing long batch processes or ETL by using buff/cache properly

During the COVID-19 I have invested some of the “free time” given by the lock down to refresh some old topics like capacity planning and command line optimizations.

In 2011 I got my LPIC-3 and while studying for the previous LPIC-2 two of the topics were Capacity Planning and Predict Future Resource Needs. To refresh this knowledge I recently took Matthew Pearson’s Linux Capacity Planning course from the LinuxAcademy

My interest in Data Science and Business Intelligence started with a course I took where the main tool used was Pentaho mostly PDI (aka Kettle) for ETL jobs and Report Designer for reports automation. Then I continued with Waikato’s university WEKA courses and this path drove me to read Jeroen JanssensData Science at the Command Line book which I have recently re-read again. In his book, Jeroen uses Ole’s Tange GNU parallel a tool I have already written about in my A Quick and Neat 🙂 Orchestrator using GNU Parallel post

How are Linux Capacity Planning, ETL, command line and parallelization of jobs related you might wonder. Let’s dig into it

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Adding headless capabilities to the Tresorit backup software using Xpra / Winswitch in Linux

Recently I have changed my backup solution from SpiderOak to Tresorit. I have been very happy with SpiderOak since I started with them around 2009, But last year backups and sync started to fail. Eg: backups taking ages or not finishing at all, etc. Also support response time was not good enough and didn’t find a proper fix for my problems, so finally I decided to move my business elsewhere. The chosen one was Tresorit, a Swiss based company that offered two things important for me de-duplication and client side encryption.

Both solutions works in Linux but Tresorit needs a GUI to work (SpiderOak support a headless mode). This was a problem as I wanted to run the Tresorit client in a headless VPS servers. To add a kind of pseudo headless support to the Tresorit client I decided to use the Xpra software a multi-platform (Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac) screen and application forwarding system or as they say in the web page “screen for X11”.
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DevOps job interviews with old fashioned check list questions

During the last few weeks I have been interviewed for several DevOps positions. In two of them I had to reply a skills check-list and in the other one an exercise to be solved and send back by email. I think these check-list interviews are not good for DevOps positions, specially  if the check-lists used are not updated properly. Let’s see why…

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A Quick and Neat :) Orchestrator using GNU Parallel

Sometimes you have to deal with servers that you don’t know anything about:

  • You are a short temp IT consultant with not previous knowledge on the environment.
  • The CMDB is out of order.
  • You are on a DR situation.
  • Or simply the main administrator is not there.

And you need:

  • Run commands in parallel
  • Get info from many servers at a time
  • Troubleshoot DNS problems
  • Check how many servers are up and running

On my systems I use two orchestrators: MCollective and SaltStack (configured automatically using puppet) that fulfill my needs. But let’s see a quick way to have an orchestrator in a rapid manner.

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Bootstrapping a new VPS on a DigitalOcean droplet with puppet client up and running in 4 mins 15 secs.

I have been working with DigitalOcean for several months, on average DigitalOcean deploys your VPS server in 55 seconds. After the server is deployed, all the manual/prone to errors/boring configuration process is needed.

As I am using puppet to configure all my servers I have create provisioningDO rakefile script (based on John Arundel’s book Puppet 3 Cookbook)  to deploy and configure my servers in 4 min 15 sec. It means After 4 min 15 secs, my servers are ready for production.

provisioningDO uses Jack Pearkes’ tugboat CLI tool so, a fully installed and configured tugboat CLI is necessary. It shouldn’t take you more than 5-10 minutes to have a working and ready to go tugboat installation 🙂
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