Use cases for BulkLoad

There are three typical use cases when using BulkLoad can be advantageous.

  • Loading your original dataset into HBase for the first time - Your initial dataset might be quite large, and bypassing the HBase write path can speed up the process considerably.
  • Incremental Load - To load new data periodically, use BulkLoad to import it in batches at your preferred intervals. This alleviates latency problems and helps you to achieve service-level agreements (SLAs). However, one trigger for compaction is the number of HFiles on a RegionServer. Therefore, importing a large number of HFiles at frequent intervals can cause major compactions to happen more often than they otherwise would, negatively impacting performance. You can mitigate this by tuning the compaction settings such that the maximum number of HFiles that can be present without triggering a compaction is very high, and relying on other factors, such as the size of the Memstore, to trigger compactions.
  • Data needs to originate elsewhere - If an existing system is capturing the data you want to have in HBase and needs to remain active for business reasons, you can periodically BulkLoad data from the system into HBase so that you can perform operations on it without impacting the system.