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BigDeedle: Large time series Azure demo

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BigDeedle is an extension of the exploratory data frame and time-series manipulation library called Deedle/. With BigDeedle, you can load data frames and time-series from an external data source without fully evaluating them and without fitting all data from the source into memory. This means that you can create data frames (and time series) that represent gigabytes of data stored somewhere else.

BigDeedle lets you easily explore the data through the normal Deedle API. It lets you perform lookups, slicing, merging, resampling and a few other exploratory operations over the data set without actually accessing all the data. BigDeedle works nicely in F# Interactively - you'll see the first and last few rows from a frame or a series.

BigDeedle in action!

How does it work

To use BigDeedle, you need to implement a couple of interfaces that tell Deedle how to actually access the data. In this example, we use Azure Table storage as an example and we implement the data access using the Azure Storage type provider. To run the demo on your machine, you first need to run setup code that creates the tables and inserts data into them.

As an example we're using free sample data from kibot, which gives us prices for IVE and WDC tickers for 6 years with fairly high frequency (about 100MB and 1GB data sets, respectively). We insert them into data table as follows:

  • Partition key is the date, formatted as YYYY-MM-DD
  • Row key is the UTC ticks value of the data, formatted as string
  • Columns are Price, Bid and Ask with the 3 different prices

The BigDeedle interfaces are implemented so that they only download data in partitions that are actually needed. So for example, in the above screenshot, BigDeedle only downloaded partitions 2009-09-28 and 2015-07-01. The client code also caches partitions (in memory) to avoid re-downloading them. This is a demo, so downloading the whole partition may be slow (they can be big), but this nicely shows you what is happening under the cover!

Running the code

Before you can build and run everything, you need to setup a few things. Note that the Visual Studio build will actually fail until you have the required tables in your Azure storage! That's OK - you can create those in F# Interactive without building everything.

Before running the code, you need to download dependencies. Either run build in Visual Studio (which fails, but still triggers Paket) or just run the command .paket/paket.bootstraper.exe followed by .paket/paket.exe restore.

Running house prices demos

The house price demo uses a simple Suave REST server as a data source. You can find the source code for it in src/HousePrices.Server. You do not need to run it on your own, there is a live version running at

  • Local demos (houses-local.fsx) does not require any additional setup. It shows how to load data from the BigDeedle storage, explore the data using the FsLab formatters in Ionide and how to get a subset of the data and do local processing. As an example, the script draws a chart of most expensive towns in the UK in April 2010 shown above.

Running finance demos

To run the code, you'll need to start an MBrace cluster. Follow instructions at to do this. You'll need to save your azure.publishsettings file into the utils folder, create a storage account and copy the connection string to utils/credentials.fsx (use utils/credentials.template as the template for the file). Then you need to go through the setup-trades.fsx script, which does the following:

  • It first downloads the CSV file with the data and saves it in chunks into local files in Azure storage.
  • It creates WDC and IVE tables (once that's done, you need to reopen the script so that Azure type provider notices the new tables)
  • It writes the data into Azure Table storage (and as it does that, it also makes sure that the keys are unique). Note that this is very slow. There is some diagnostics to help you see how far you are.

Once the setup is done, build the solution. Now, you're ready to play with the two demo files that you find in the repository:

  • Local demos (trades-local.fsx) requires only storage connection, but not a running MBrace cluster. This shows how to use BigDeedle and demonstrates the various functions and exploratory operations that you can perform on a series or a frame without actually accessing all data. The demos load data on demand from the Azure Table via the storage connection string specified in credentaials.fsx.

  • MBrace cluster demos (trades-cloud.fsx) requires a running MBrace cluster (use to get one running). This demonstrates how to use MBrace to run the computation over BigDeedle frames and series in Azure compute cluster. This reduces the latency (data is available in the same data center) and it also lets you scale your computations over large number of machines and CPUs.


BigDeedle demo showing how to use Deedle for working with very large time series and data frames stored in Azure table storage.



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