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Navigator SDK Java Client

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The Cloudera Navigator SDK is a client library that provides functionality to help users extract metadata from Navigator and to enrich the metadata in Navigator with custom metadata models, entities, and relationships.

Sample Use Cases

Incremental Metadata Extraction

Certain applications need to extract metadata from Navigator for their own purposes or to integrate into an enterprise-wide metadata management system. For almost any production Hadoop cluster, it is not feasible to do a full extraction of all available metadata every time. Instead, the Navigator SDK provides code examples to extract metadata in an incremental fashion.

Custom Metadata Entities and Lineage Augmentation

Many ETL and analytics applications built on top of Hadoop use a custom DSL to work with data. For their enterprise customers, Navigator can serve as the defacto governance solution. The Navigator SDK provides critical functionality that allows partner applications to create custom metadata models in Navigator and link the custom concepts in the external application to the underlying files, directories, and operations in Hadoop.

As an example, let’s suppose there is a company Foo which makes a data preparation application. Foo allows its users to create a data preparation pipeline using a custom DSL. The custom DSL script is then implemented as Pig jobs. The Navigator SDK allows Foo to create custom entities in Navigator to represent the custom DSL operations, executions, and input/output datasets. It also allows Foo to then create relationships linking those custom entities to the underlying Pig jobs and executions. This makes it much easier for the end user to search and analyze provenance in terms of the custom DSL.

See code examples here and here for details.

Custom Dataset Schema Definition

Data profiling applications often infer schema from CSV, JSON, and other files in Hadoop. In order to help provide a data governance layer for those applications, the Navigator SDK can be used to augment the file metadata with the inferred schemas. The schema information can then be used to integrate with Navigator's policy engine to perform tasks such as tagging columns as private information.

Setting Custom Metadata

The Navigator API allows users to set tags and custom key-value pairs on metadata entities. The Navigator SDK provides an easy-to-use interface for users to take advantage of those APIs. The code examples included in the SDK demonstrates setting tags for HDFS and Hive entities.

Navigator Metadata

The metadata managed by Navigator centers around three main concepts - entity, source, and relation. Entities are objects defined by Hadoop components and services like HDFS, Hive, MapReduce, Pig, etc. Examples of entities include HDFS files and directories, Hive databases, tables, columns, queries, MR jobs, job instances, and more. For each Hadoop object, Navigator defines a corresponding entity subtype.

Each entity has a source which is the Hadoop service or component that created the entity. Each source has a source type which is the type of service represented. For example, Navigator may manage multiple HDFS services with names from HDFS-1, HDFS-2, and so on. All of them will have the same source type, which is HDFS.

Entities are also associated with an entity type, which is the logical type of the object being represented by the entity. This could be a file, directory, database, table, column, etc.

The third major concept is that of a relation. A relation defines the connections between different entities. A relation is defined by two endpoints and is adirectional by itself. Each endpoint must have one or more entities that have the same entity type and source. A relation is also associated with a relation type. Navigator defines several relation types and for each one, Navigator defines a relation subtype to make the construction of these relationships easier. The relation types are:

  • DataFlow - the endpoints are sources and targets indicating movement of data (e.g., query input -> query output)

  • ParentChild - the endpoints are parent and child(ren) indicating containment (e.g., directory -> files)

  • LogicalPhysical - the endpoints are logical and physical indicating the connection between an abstract entity and its concrete manifestation (e.g., Hive table -> HDFS directory which has the data)

  • InstanceOf - the endpoints are template and instance indicating the connection between an operation and its execution.

Custom Entities and Relations

In order to create custom entities, the Navigator client library provides enums, annotations, and a plugin to help partner applications define and register custom entities. A sample custom entity might look like the following:

@MClass(model = "stetson_op")
public class StetsonScript extends Entity {

  @MRelation(role = RelationRole.PHYSICAL)
  private EndPointProxy pigOperation;
  private String script;

  public String getScript() {
    return script;

  public EntityType getType() {
    return EntityTypes.OPERATION;

  public Entity getPigOperation() {
    return pigOperation;

The client library provides enums like EntityType, RelationType, and RelationRole used in the above example. The @MClass annotation indicates that the StetsonScript class is a custom metadata model. The @MProperty annotation indicates that script is a model field. The @MRelation annotation in the example indicates that StetsonScript entity should be connected to the given Pig operation entity with a logical-physical relation (where the Pig operation is the physical entity).

Writing to Navigator

Once the custom metadata models have been defined, users can use the NavigatorPlugin class to write custom metadata to Navigator. Creating a NavigatorPlugin requires a set of configurations that includes properties like the Navigator API URL. See the provided sample configuration for details.

An example workflow might look like the following:

// Create the plugin
NavigatorPlugin plugin = NavigatorPlugin.fromConfigFile(

// Create the template
StetsonScript script = new StetsonScript();
PigOperation pigOperation = new PigOperation("logicalPlanHash","JobName");

// Create the instance
StetsonExecution exec = new StetsonExecution();
PigOperationExecution pigExecution = new PigOperationExecution("ScriptId","JobName");

// Write the metadata
  • With this new version of the SDK which supports Cloudera Navigator 2.9 and above, in order to add tags, custom metadata or managed metadata to Hadoop Entities or to link to Hadoop entities, users would have to either provide the ID of the Hadoop Entity(which is generated by Navigator) or the attributes required to generate the ID. See example code examples

Creating Managed Metadata Models

Cloudera Navigator 2.6.0 added the ability to create manage metadata fields. Managed metadata is a more organized way to extend metadata properties collected by Navigator. Managed metadata properties must be declared with a type constraint on the value(s), must belong to a namespace, and can be associated with 0 or more metadata classes.

The SDK client is configured with a namespace that's used for all declared managed metadata properties. It is also the package name for all custom metadata classes. Just as a reminder, a custom metadata class can be created by subclassing Entity with an @MClass annotation.

New metadata properties for custom metadata classes are created using the @MProperty annotation. In this new version of the SDK, we've added new attributes to the annotation to make it easier to register managed metadata properties. In order to create a managed property, set the register attribute to true. You can then set fieldType (default TEXT), pattern for regex matching, maxLength for TEXT fields, or an array of values for ENUM properties. The examples have been updated to demonstrate this new capability.

Usage Notes

  • If you have configuration variables already setup elsewhere, instead of using NavigatorPlugin.fromConfigFile you can use NavigatorPlugin.fromConfigMap and pass in a Map of configurations.

  • By default, Navigator throttles its own internal committing process so that new metadata won't be available immediately. For testing and development, you can add a configuration variable "autocommit=true". However, it is very strongly recommended that you do not use this in production in order to avoid performance degradation and memory usage issues when running at scale.

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