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From Andrew Pilloud <>
Subject Re: Graal instead of docker?
Date Sat, 05 May 2018 17:03:31 GMT
Thanks for the examples earlier, I think Hazelcast is a great example of
something portability might make more difficult. I'm not working on
portability, but my understanding is that the data sent to the runner is a
blob of code and the name of the container to run it in. A runner with a
native language (java on Hazelcast for example) could run the code directly
without the container if it is in a language it supports. So when Hazelcast
sees a known java container specified, it just loads the java blob and runs
it. When it sees another container it rejects the pipeline. You could use
Graal in the Hazelcast runner to do this for a number of languages. I would
expect that this could also be done in the direct runner, which similarly
provides a native java environment, so portable Java pipelines can be
tested without docker?

For another way to frame this: if Beam was originally written in Go, we
would be having a different discussion. A pipeline written entirely in java
wouldn't be possible, so instead to enable Hazelcast, we would have to be
able to run the java from portability without running the container.


On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 1:48 AM Romain Manni-Bucau <>

> 2018-05-05 9:27 GMT+02:00 Ismaël Mejía <>:
>> Graal would not be a viable solution for the reasons Henning and Andrew
>> mentioned, or put in other words, when users choose a programming language
>> they don’t choose only a ‘friendly’ syntax or programming model, they
>> choose also the ecosystem that comes with it, and the libraries that make
>> their life easier. However isolating these user libraries/dependencies is
>> a
>> hard problem and so far the standard solution to this problem is to use
>> operating systems containers via docker.
> Graal solves that Ismael. Same kind of experience than running npm libs on
> nashorn but with a more unified API to run any language soft.
>> The Beam vision from day zero is to run pipelines written in multiple
>> languages in runners in multiple systems, and so far we are not doing this
>> in particular in the Apache runners. The portability work is the cleanest
>> way to achieve this vision given the constraints.
> Hmm, did I read it wrong and we don't have specific integration of the
> portable API in runners? This is what is messing up the runners and
> limiting beam adoption on existing runners.
> Portable API is a feature buildable on top of runner, not in runners.
> Same as a runner implementing the 5-6 primitives can run anything, the
> portable API should just rely on that and not require more integration.
> It doesn't prevent more deep integrations as for some higher level
> primitives existing in runners but it is not the case today for runners so
> shouldn't exist IMHO.
>> I agree however that for the Java SDK to Java runner case this can
>> represent additional pain, docker ideally should not be a requirement for
>> Java users with the Direct runner and debugging a pipeline should be as
>> easy as it is today. I think the Univerrsal Local Runner exists to cover
>> the Portable case, but after looking at this JIRA I am not sure if
>> unification is coming (and by consequence if docker would be mandatory).
>> I suppose for the distributed runners that they must implement the full
>> Portability APIs to be considered Beam multi language compliant but they
>> can prefer for performance reasons to translate without the portability
>> APIs the Java to Java case.
> This is my issue, language portability must NOT impact runners at all, it
> is just a way to forward primitives to a runner.
> See it as a layer rewriting the pipeline and submitting it. No need to
> modify any runner.
>> On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 9:11 AM Reuven Lax <> wrote:
>> > A beam cluster with the spark runner would include a spark cluster, plus
>> what's needed for portability, plus the beam sdk.
>> > On Fri, May 4, 2018, 11:55 PM Romain Manni-Bucau <
>> >
>> wrote:
>> >> Le 5 mai 2018 08:43, "Reuven Lax" <> a écrit :
>> >> I don't believe we enforce docker anywhere. In fact if someone wanted
>> to
>> run an all-windows beam cluster, they would probably not use docker for
>> their runner (docker runs on Windows, but not efficiently).
>> >> Or doesnt run sometimes - a colleague hit that yesterday :(.
>> >> What is a "beam cluster" - opposed to a spark or foink cluster? How
>> would it work on windows servers?
>> >> On Fri, May 4, 2018, 11:19 PM Romain Manni-Bucau <
>> wrote:
>> >>> 2018-05-05 2:33 GMT+02:00 Andrew Pilloud <>:
>> >>>> What docker really buys is a package format and runtime environment
>> that is language and operating system agnostic. The docker packaging and
>> runtime format is the de facto standard for portable applications such as
>> this, and there is a group trying to turn it into an actual standard.
>> >>>> I would agree with you that dockerd has become bloated but there
>> projects that solve that. There is no longer lock-in to dockerd, there are
>> package format compatible docker replacements that eliminate the
>> performance issues and overhead associated with docker. CRI-O (
>> is a really cool RedHat
>> project which is a minimalist replacement for docker. I was recently
>> working at a startup where I migrated our "data mover" appliance from
>> Docker to CRI-O. Our application was able to get direct access to the
>> ethernet driver and block devices which enabled a huge performance boost
>> but we were also able to run containers produced by docker without
>> modification.
>> >>>> You mention that docker is "detail of one runner+vendor corrupting
>> all
>> the project and adding complexity and work to everyone". It sounds like
>> you
>> have a specific example you'd like to share? Is there a runner that is
>> unable to move to portability because of docker?
>> >>> IBM one for instance, some custom ones like an hazelcast based one,
>> etc... More generally any runner developped outside beam itself - even if
>> we take a snapshot today, most of beam's ones have the same pitall.
>> >>> Note: i never said docker was a bad techno or so. Let me try to
>> clarify.
>> >>> Main issue is that you enforce docker usage which is still trendy. It
>> is like scla which was promishing to kill java, check what it does
>> today...
>> >>> It starts to be tooled but it is also very impacting on the deployment
>> side and for a good number of beam users who deploy it outside the cloud
>> it
>> is an issue.
>> >>> Keep in mind beam is embeddable by design, it is not a runner
>> environment and with the docker choice it imposes some environment which
>> is
>> inconsistent with beam design itself and this is where this choice blocks.
>> >>>> Andrew
>> >>>> On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 4:32 PM Henning Rohde <>
>> wrote:
>> >>>>> Romain,
>> >>>>> Docker, unlike selinux, solves a great number of tangible problems
>> for us with IMO a relatively small tax. It does not have to be the only
>> way. Some of the concerns you bring up along with possibilities were also
>> discussed here: I
>> encourage you to take a look.
>> >>>>> Thanks,
>> >>>>>   Henning
>> >>>>> On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 3:18 PM Romain Manni-Bucau <
>>> wrote:
>> >>>>>> Le 4 mai 2018 21:31, "Henning Rohde" <>
a écrit
>> :
>> >>>>>> I disagree with the characterization of docker and the implications
>> made towards portability. Graal looks like a neat project (and I never
>> thought I would live to see the phrase "Practical Partial Evaluation" ..),
>> but it doesn't address the needs of portability. In addition to Luke's
>> examples, Go and most other languages don't work on it either. Docker
>> containers also address packaging, OS dependencies, conflicting versions
>> and distribution aspects in addition to truly universal language support.
>> >>>>>> This is wrong, docker also has its conflicts, is not universal
>> (fails on windows and mac easily - as host or not, cloud vendors put
>> layers
>> limiting or corrupting it, and it is an infra constraint imposed and a
>> vendor locking not welcomed in beam IMHO).
>> >>>>>> This is my main concern. All the work done looks like an
>> implemzntation detail of one runner+vendor corrupting all the project and
>> adding complexity and work to everyone instead of keeping it localised
>> (technically it is possible).
>> >>>>>> Would you accept i enforce you to use selinux? Using docker
is the
>> same kind of constraint.
>> >>>>>> That said, it's entirely fine for some runners to use Jython,
>> Graal,
>> etc to provide a specialized offering similar to the direct runners, but
>> it
>> would be disjoint from portability IMO.
>> >>>>>> On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 10:14 AM Romain Manni-Bucau <
>>> wrote:
>> >>>>>>> Le 4 mai 2018 17:55, "Lukasz Cwik" <>
a écrit :
>> >>>>>>> I did take a look at Graal a while back when thinking
about how
>> execution environments could be defined, my concerns were related to it
>> not
>> supporting all of the features of a language.
>> >>>>>>> For example, its typical for Python to load and call
>> libraries and Graal can only execute C/C++ code that has been compiled to
>> LLVM.
>> >>>>>>> Also, a good amount of people interested in using ML
>> will
>> want access to GPUs to improve performance which I believe that Graal
>> can't
>> support.
>> >>>>>>> It can be a very useful way to run simple lamda functions
>> in some language directly without needing to use a docker environment but
>> you could probably use something even lighter weight then Graal that is
>> language specific like Jython.
>> >>>>>>> Right, the jsr223 impl works very well but you can also
have a
>> perf
>> boost using native (like v8 java binding for js for instance). It is way
>> more efficient than docker most of the time and not code intrusive at all
>> in runners so likely more adoption-able and maintainable. That said all is
>> doable behind the jsr223 so maybe not a big deal in terms of api. We just
>> need to ensure portability work stay clean and actually portable and
>> doesnt
>> impact runners as poc done until today did.
>> >>>>>>> Works for me.
>> >>>>>>> On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 10:05 PM Romain Manni-Bucau <
>>> wrote:
>> >>>>>>>> Hi guys
>> >>>>>>>> Since some time there are efforts to have a language
>> support in beam but I cant really find a case it "works" being based on
>> docker except for some vendor specific infra.
>> >>>>>>>> Current solution:
>> >>>>>>>> 1. Is runner intrusive (which is bad for beam and
>> adoption of big data vendors)
>> >>>>>>>> 2. Based on docker (which assumed a runtime environment
and is
>> very ops/infra intrusive and likely too $$ quite often for what it brings)
>> >>>>>>>> Did anyone had a look to graal which seems a way
to make the
>> feature doable in a lighter manner and optimized compared to default
>> jsr223
>> impls?

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