Read and write protocol buffers

Preview

This feature is in Public Preview in Databricks Runtime 12.1 and above.

Databricks provides native support for serialization and deserialization between Apache Spark structs and protocol buffers (protobuf). Protobuf support is implemented as an Apache Spark DataFrame transformer and can be used with Structured Streaming or for batch operations.

How to deserialize and serialize protocol buffers

In Databricks Runtime 12.1 and above, you can use from_protobuf and to_protobuf functions to serialize and deserialize data. Protobuf serialization is commonly used in streaming workloads.

The basic syntax for protobuf functions is similar for read and write functions. You must import these functions before use.

from_protobuf casts a binary column to a struct, and to_protobuf casts a struct column to binary. You must provide either a schema registry specified with the options argument or a descriptor file identified by the descFilePath argument.

from_protobuf(data: 'ColumnOrName', messageName: Optional[str] = None, descFilePath: Optional[str] = None, options: Optional[Dict[str, str]] = None)

to_protobuf(data: 'ColumnOrName', messageName: Optional[str] = None, descFilePath: Optional[str] = None, options: Optional[Dict[str, str]] = None)
// While using with Schema registry:
from_protobuf(data: Column, options: Map[String, String])

// Or with Protobuf descriptor file:
from_protobuf(data: Column, messageName: String, descFilePath: String, options: Map[String, String])

// While using with Schema registry:
to_protobuf(data: Column, options: Map[String, String])

// Or with Protobuf descriptor file:
to_protobuf(data: Column, messageName: String, descFilePath: String, options: Map[String, String])

The following examples illustrate processing binary protobuf records with from_protobuf() and converting Spark SQL struct to binary protobuf with to_protobuf().

Use protobuf with Confluent Schema Registry

Databricks supports using the [Confluent Schema Registry] https://docs.confluent.io/platform/current/schema-registry/index.html) to define Protobuf.

import org.apache.spark.sql.protobuf.functions._
import scala.collection.JavaConverters._

val schemaRegistryOptions = Map(
    "schema.registry.subject" -> "app-events-value",
    "schema.registry.address" -> "https://schema-registry:8081/"
)

// Convert binary Protobuf to SQL struct with from_protobuf():
val protoEventsDF = inputDF
    .select(
        from_protobuf($"proto_bytes", options = schemaRegistryOptions.asJava)
            .as("proto_event")
    )

// Convert SQL struct to binary Protobuf with to_protobuf():
val protobufBinaryDF = protoEventsDF
    .selectExpr("struct(name, id, context) as event")
    .select(
        to_protobuf($"event", options = schemaRegistryOptions.asJava)
            .as("proto_bytes")
    )
from pyspark.sql.protobuf.functions import to_protobuf, from_protobuf

schema_registry_options = {
  "schema.registry.subject" : "app-events-value",
  "schema.registry.address" : "https://schema-registry:8081/"
}

# Convert binary Protobuf to SQL struct with from_protobuf():
proto_events_df = (
  input_df
    .select(
      from_protobuf("proto_bytes", options = schema_registry_options)
        .alias("proto_event")
    )
)

# Convert SQL struct to binary Protobuf with to_protobuf():
protobuf_binary_df = (
  proto_events_df
    .selectExpr("struct(name, id, context) as event")
    .select(
      to_protobuf("event", options = schema_registry_options)
        .alias("proto_bytes")
    )
)

Authenticate to an external Confluent Schema Registry

To authenticate to an external Confluent Schema Registry, update your schema registry options to include auth credentials and API keys.

val schemaRegistryOptions = Map(
      "schema.registry.subject" -> "app-events-value",
      "schema.registry.address" -> "https://remote-schema-registry-endpoint",
      "confluent.schema.registry.basic.auth.credentials.source" : "USER_INFO",
      "confluent.schema.registry.basic.auth.user.info" : "confluentApiKey:confluentApiSecret"
)
schema_registry_options = {
    "schema.registry.subject" : "app-events-value",
    "schema.registry.address" : "https://remote-schema-registry-endpoint",
    "confluent.schema.registry.basic.auth.credentials.source" : "USER_INFO",
    "confluent.schema.registry.basic.auth.user.info" : "confluentApiKey:confluentApiSecret"
  }

Use Protobuf with a descriptor file

You can also reference a protobuf descriptor file that is available to your compute cluster. Make sure you have proper permissions to read the file, depending on its location.

from pyspark.sql.protobuf.functions import to_protobuf, from_protobuf

descriptor_file = "/path/to/proto_descriptor.desc"

proto_events_df = (
    input_df.select(
      from_protobuf(input_df.value, "BasicMessage", descFilePath=descriptor_file).alias("proto")
    )
)

proto_binary_df = (
  proto_events_df
    .select(
      to_protobuf(proto_events_df.proto, "BasicMessage", descriptor_file).alias("bytes")
    )
)
import org.apache.spark.sql.protobuf.functions._

val descriptorFile = "/path/to/proto_descriptor.desc"

val protoEventsDF = inputDF
  .select(
    from_protobuf($"value", "BasicMessage", descFilePath=descriptorFile).as("proto")
  )

val protoBytesDF = protoEventsDF
  .select(
    to_protobuf($"proto", "BasicMessage", descriptorFile).as("bytes")
  )