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This page summarizes common error scenarios when running the pipeline and provide recommanded workarounds. If you are still unable to successfully load or export your VCF files, please post on the google-genomics-discuss group or file a GitHub issue if you believe that there is a bug in the pipeline.

Pipeline is too slow

  • Try increasing --max_num_workers.
  • Try changing --worker_machine_type to a larger machine (e.g. n1-standard-32). See predefined machine types for the full list.
  • Ensure you have enough quota in the region running the pipeline. You need to set a region for running the pipeline by specifying --region <region>. You can check for quota issues by navigating to the Compute Engine quotas page while the pipeline is running, which shows saturated quotas at the top of the page (highlighted in red).
  • Ensure your source GCS bucket is located in the same region as where you are running your Dataflow pipeline. According to data locality guidelines the GCS bucket containing your VCF files as well as the temporary directory of your pipeline should be located in the same region as your Dataflow pipeline.
  • gzip and bzip2 file formats cannot be sharded, which considerably slows down the pipeline. Consider decompressing the files prior to running the pipeline. You may use dsub to write a script to decompress the files in scalable manner. Note that this is only an issue if running the pipeline with a small number of large files (i.e. running with a large number of small files is usually fine as each file can be read by a separate process).

See handling large inputs for more details.

Pipeline crashes due to out of disk error

Try increasing the disk size allocated to each worker by specifying --disk_size_gb <disk_size> and/or increasing the number of workers by specifying --max_num_workers <num_workers>. By default, each worker gets 250GB of disk, and the aggregate disk size available to all workers should be at least as large as the uncompressed size of the VCF files being loaded. However, to accomoddate for intermediate stages of the pipeline and also to account for the additional overhead introduced by the transforms, the aggregate disk size among all workers should be at least 3 to 4 times the total size of raw VCF files.

See handling large inputs for more details.

Error: "JSON parsing error ... No such field: <field_name>"

If you see an error in the form, Error while reading data, error message: JSON parsing error in row starting at position 0: No such field: <field_name>, it means that the <field_name> is missing from the BigQuery schema, which is caused by its definition missing from a VCF header file.

You can fix this by:

  • Changing the VCF file containing the field and adding an entry in the header with proper definition. For instance, if the error is for the field AF, you can add the following to the VCF file:

    ##INFO=<ID=AF,Number=A,Type=Float,Description="Allele Frequency">

    Note that it's important to provide valid Type and Number for the field. If unsure, you can provide Type=String and Number=. (i.e. a generic list of strings), which will match any field. Please also check whether the missing field is for ##INFO or ##FORMAT.

  • If changing the file(s) is not an option, you can also run the pipeline with --representative_header_file <file_path>, where you provide a merged view of all headers in all files. You can add any missing fields to that file. We are working on a tool to make this process easier and provide recommendations for missing fields.

  • Run the pipeline with --infer_headers. This will do two passes on the data and will infer definition for undefined headers and mismatched headers (header field definition does not match the field value). You do not need to make any changes to the VCF files or provide a representative header file. However, running with this option adds ~30% more compute to the pipeline.

Error: "BigQuery schema has no such field"

Same as above.

BigQuery to VCF fails: "A work item was attempted 4 times without success."

The error "Each time the worker eventually lost contact with the service." may relate to insufficient memory.

  • Try changing --worker_machine_type to a larger machine (e.g. n1-standard-64). See predefined machine types for the full list.

  • Try lowering the value of --number_of_bases_per_shard (e.g. 10000)