Writing Your Own Wallaroo Python Partitioned Stateful Application

In this section, we will go over how to write a partitioned stateful application with the Wallaroo Python API. If you haven't reviewed the simple stateless application and simple stateful application examples, you can find them here and here.


Partitioning is a key aspect of how work is distributed in Wallaroo. From the application's point of view, what is required are:

  • a partitioning function
  • partition-compatible states - the state should be defined in such a way that each partition can have its own distinct state instance

A list of partition keys is optional. If included, your application will use these keys to set up the initial state partitions in the system. As we encounter new keys derived from messages using the user-defined partition function, we will dynamically create new state partitions. There is a slight performance penalty to dynamically creating state partitions in this way, so if you know all your keys ahead of time, it can be a good idea to provide them here.

A Partitioned Stateful Application - Alphabet (partitioned)

Our partitioned application is going to be very similar to the Alphabet application. The difference is that it is going to use partitioning to distribute the work, and the state classes will need to reflect that.

encode, decode, add_votes, and Votes are exactly the same as before, so we will not include them here.


If we were to use partitioning in the alphabet application from the previous section, and we wanted to partition by key, then one way we could go about it is to create a partition key list, as illustrated here:

letter_partitions = list(string.ascii_lowercase)

And then we define a partitioning function which returns a key from the above list for input data:

def partition(self, data):
    return data.letter[0]

Later when we build the application topology, we will pass both the keys and the function to the builder.

State and StateBuilder

Previously we had a state map called AllVotes that kept a dict of votes by letter:

class AllVotes(object):
    def __init__(self):
        self.votes_by_letter = {}

But since we are going to partition by letter, there is no reason to keep this structure. Instead, we will store the votes for a single letter in each state:

class TotalVotes(object):
    def __init__(self):
        self.letter = 'X'
        self.votes = 0

    def update(self, votes):
        self.letter = votes.letter
        self.votes += votes.votes

    def get_votes(self):
        return Votes(self.letter, self.votes)

Application Setup

Finally, the application setup is a little different now that we use partitioning. A partition is an intrinsic part of a pipeline's definition, as it changes how Wallaroo connects elements behind the scenes, so we have to distinguish partitioned state from non-partitioned state. This is done with to_state_partition (compared with to_stateful in the non-partitioned case, as in the previous section).

As with to_stateful, to_state_partition takes a state computation function, a state class and its name. In addition, it takes a partition function and a list of partition key strings:

ab.to_state_partition(add_votes, TotalVotes, "letter state",
                      partition, letter_partitions)

So the new application_setup is going to look like

def application_setup(args):
    in_host, in_port = wallaroo.tcp_parse_input_addrs(args)[0]
    out_host, out_port = wallaroo.tcp_parse_output_addrs(args)[0]

    letter_partitions = list(string.ascii_lowercase)
    ab = wallaroo.ApplicationBuilder("alphabet")
                    wallaroo.TCPSourceConfig(in_host, in_port, decoder))
    ab.to_state_partition(add_votes, TotalVotes, "letter state",
                          partition, letter_partitions)
    ab.to_sink(wallaroo.TCPSinkConfig(out_host, out_port, encoder))
    return ab.build()


The imports used in this module are

import string
import struct
import wallaroo

Next Steps

The complete alphabet example is available here. To run it, follow the Alphabet_partitioned application instructions

To see how everything we've learned so far comes together, check out our Word Count walk-through

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