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Your Introduction to Google Cloud's Dataflow Model

google-dataflowTo suggest that the cloud computing market was taking off would be nothing short of an understatement. These days, if you're not already migrating into a cloud-based architecture, then there's a good chance that you're at least thinking about hybrid solutions and the ways you can tap into powerful, scalable applications through the cloud.

The cloud delivers several powerful benefits to growing companies and enterprises that want to stay ahead of the game. It provides cost-effective access to some of the latest and greatest tools on the market, in an age of digital transformation where agility is crucial. Of course, the rise of cloud technology and all its surrounding software has prompted a new challenge for companies too, in the exponential rise of seemingly constant streams of data.

As it becomes increasingly easy for brands to keep track of information about their customers, market, and services, keeping on top of all that data simply isn't easy. That's where tools like Google Cloud Dataflow jumps into the fray.


Meet Google Cloud Dataflow

A fully-managed service designed to help enterprises assess, enrich, and analyze their data in real-time, or stream mode, as well as historical or batch mode, Google Cloud dataflow is an incredibly reliable way to discover in-depth information about your company. Google's simple serverless approach to provisioning and handling resources means that organizations can even be completely agile, accessing seemingly endless capacity options for solving their data processing challenges.

Some people look at Google Cloud Dataflow as an ETL tool in the GCP, which means that extracts, transforms, and loads information. While there are many of these tools running in the on-premise world, tapping into the infrastructure that legacy companies use for their IT solution, there's a limit to how much any on-premise option can offer, because the more information you process, the more memory you need.

Because it works in the Cloud, Google Dataflow is a next-generation ETL tool that allows businesses to extract data from databases in their system and transform it into useful data without limitations. You can build a range of important pipeline jobs for information migration between cloud pub/sub, datastore, BigQuery, and BigTable to build your very own information warehouse in the GCP.


There are use cases for Dataflow across countless industries, including:

  • Point-of-Sale analysis and segmentation in the retail world

  • Fraud detection in the financial industry

  • Personalized experiences in the gaming sector

  • IoT information in the healthcare and manufacturing industries


How Does Google Cloud Dataflow Work?

The Google Cloud Dataflow model works by using abstraction information that decouples implementation processes from application code in storage databases and runtime environments. In simpler terms, it works to break down the walls so that analyzing big sets of data and Realtime information becomes easier.

Dataflow runs on the same serverless, fully-managed model as many of the features on the GCP, and the idea behind this is that it means that developers in an organization have more freedom to keep their focus on developing innovative code, while the management and provisioning of computing needs can be left in the hands of the Dataflow service. The high level of abstraction that data scientists can tap into means that they can work at a more productive and efficient level.

Additionally, the Cloud Dataflow model also appears in the Google open network, with a collection of SDKs and APIs that permit developers to design and implement stream-based or batch-focused pipelines for processing data. The service generates an execution graph that makes executing parallel pipelines simpler than ever. Some of the features of the GCP Dataflow service include:


  • Automated Resource Management: Minimize latency and boost performance with the automated management and provisioning of extra processing resources within the cloud structure.

  • Auto-Scaling (Horizontal): Google Cloud Dataflow allows companies to horizontally scale their worker resources for very best performance throughout the enterprise.

  • Work Rebalancing Features: Optimized and automated systems for partitioning work and reorganizing it dynamically helps to reduce lag and ensure efficiency.

  • Unified Programming Model: The Google Cloud Dataflow system uses the Apache Beam SDK for engaging MapReduce operations, data windowing, and accuracy control for bath and streaming data.

  • Exactly-once Processing: In a world where accuracy and reliability are key, Dataflow offers inbuilt support for execution that is correct and consistent regardless of cluster size, data size, processing patterns, and more for both streaming and batch data.

  • Community-driven: Because it's available on the open network, you can contribute to the Apache Beam SDK.

The Benefits of Google Cloud Dataflow

Like many of the features on the Google Cloud Platform, Dataflow has been designed to making running your enterprise easier in the digital transformation age. The system can even partner with third-party developers and partners to make it easier to process data tasks fast. For instance, it integrates with Salesforce, Cloudera, and ClearStory. Some of the benefits of the Google Cloud Dataflow system include:

  • The ability to simplify organization operations: The serverless approach championed by the GCP minimizes the operational overhead of cloud performance, delivering security, availability, scalability, and compliance on a massive scale. Through integration with Stackdriver, you can also troubleshoot and monitor pipelines as they run, responding to possible issues fast.

  • Friendly pricing system: The Cloud Dataflow model bills you for jobs per minute, according to how much you use the resources available. This means that you don't pay for anything that you're not actively accessing.

  • Accelerated development: Through the Apache Beam SDK, Cloud Dataflow offers simplified, quick, and effective pipeline development strategies, which delivers a rich set of session and windowing analytics, alongside an ecosystem of sink and source connection solutions.

  • A start point for machine learning: You can use your Cloud Dataflow strategy as an integration point for your AI solutions, with real-time personalization cases using the TensorFlow Cloud Machine learning APIs.


With Google Cloud Dataflow, you can simplify and streamline the process of managing big data in all of its different forms, integrating with different solutions within the GCP, such as Cloud Pub/Sub, data warehousing with BigQuery, and machine learning too. The SDK also means that you can build and create your own custom extensions to suit your specific needs. Discover the possibilities of the cloud today with the GCP and Dataflow and reach out to Coolhead Tech for a little help getting started!