Adding new NGSI sinks development guide



cygnus-ngsi allows for NGSI context data persistence in certain storages by means of Flume sinks. As long as the current collection of sinks could be limited for your purposes, you can add your own sinks regarding a persistence technology of your choice and become an official cygnus-ngsi contributor!

This document tries to guide you on the development of such alternative sinks, by giving you guidelines about how to write the sink code, but also how the different classes must be called, the backends that can be used, etc.


Base NGSISink class

NGSISink is the base class all the sinks within cygnus-ngsi extend. It is an abstract class which extends from CygnusSink class at cygnus-common (which, by its side, extends Flume's native AbstractSink).

NGSISink provides most of the logic required by any NGSI-like sink:

  • Configuration of parameters common to all the sinks.
  • Starting and stopping the sink.
  • Flume events consumption in a batch-like approach, including opening, committing and closing of Flume transactions.
  • Counters for statistics (in fact, this feature is given by CygnusSink).

You find this class at the following path:



Inherited configuration

All the sinks extending NGSISink inherit the following configuration parameters:

Parameter Mandatory Default value Comments
batch_size no 1 Number of events accumulated before persistence.
batch_timeout no 30 Number of seconds the batch will be building before it is persisted as it is.
batch_ttl no 10 Number of retries when a batch cannot be persisted. Use 0 for no retries, -1 for infinite retries. Please, consider an infinite TTL (even a very large one) may consume all the sink's channel capacity very quickly.
data_model no dm-by-entity Accepted values: dm-by-service, dm-by-service-path, dm-by-entity and .
enable_grouping no false Accepted values: true or false.
enable_lowercase no false Accepted values: true or false.

These parameters are read (and defaulted, when required) in the configure(Context) method.


Inherited starting and stoping



Inherited events consumption

The most important part of NGSISink is where the events are consumed in a batch-like approach. This is done in the process() method inherited from AbstractSink, which is overwritten.

Such events processing is done by opening a Flume transaction and reading events as specified in the batch_size parameter (if no enough events are available, the accumulation ends when the batch_timeout is reached). For each event read, the transaction is committed. Once the accumulations ends the transaction is closed.

Please notice that the process() method handles all the possible errors that may occur during a Flume transaction by catching exceptions. There exists a collection of Cygnus-related exceptions whose usage is mandatory located at cygnus-common:


Once finished, accumulation results in a NGSIBatch object, which internally holds sub-batches per each notified/grouped destination (notified-destinations and grouped-destinations headers in the Flume event objects are inspected to created the sub-batches, depending on the configured enable_grouping value). Information within this NGSIBatch object is the one the specific implementation of the new sink must persist.

Specific persistence logic is implemented by overwriting the only abstract method within NGSISink, i.e. persistBatch(NGSIBatch):

abstract void persistBatch(NGSIBatch) throws Exception;


Inherited counters

Because NGSISink extends CygnusSink the following counters are already available for retrieving statistics of any sink extending NGSISink:

  • Number of processed events, i.e. the number of events taken from the channel and accumulated in a batch for persistence.
  • Number of persisted events, i.e. the number of events within batches finally written/inserted/added in the final storage.


New sink class

Specific configuration

The configure(Context) method of NGSISink can be extended with specific configuration parameters reading (and defaulting, when required).


Kind of information to be persisted

We include a list of fields that are usually persisted in Cygnus sinks:

  • The reception time of the notification in miliseconds.
  • The reception time of the notification in human-readable format.
  • The notified/grouped FIWARE service path.
  • The entity ID.
  • The entity type.
  • The attributes and the attribute’s metadata.

Regarding the attributes and their metadata, you may choose between two options (or both of them, by means of a switching configuration parameter):

  • row format, i.e. a write/insertion/upsert per attribute and metadata.
  • column format, i.e. a single write/insertion/upsert containing all the attributes and their metadata.


Fitting to the specific data structures

It is worth to briefly comment how the specific data structures should be created.

Typically, the notified service (which defines a client/tenant) should map to the storage element in charge of defining namespaces per user. For instance, in MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB and STH, the service maps to a specific database where permissions can be defined at user level. While in CKAN, the service maps to an organization. In other cases, the mapping is not so evident, as in HDFS, where the service maps into a folder under hdfs://user/. Or it is totally impossible to fit, as is the case of DynamoDB or Kafka, where the service can only be added as part of the persistence element name (table and topic, respectively).

Regarding the notified service path, it is usually included as a prefix of the destination name (file, table, resource, collection, topic) where the data is really written. This is the case of all the sinks except HDFS and CKAN. HDFS maps the service path as a subfolder under hdfs://user/service, and CKAN maps the service path as a package.

Of special interest is the root service path (/). In this case, the service path should not be considered when prefixing destination name (because it is used to be a forbidden character).

Finally, in order to differentiate among all the entities, the concatenation of entity ID and type should be used as the default destination name (unless a grouping rule is used to overwrite this default behavior).


Backend convenience classes

Sometimes all the necessary logic to persist the notified context data cannot be coded in the persist abstract method. In this case, you may want to create a backend class or set of classes wrapping the detailed interactions with the final backend. Nevertheless, these classes should not be located at cygnus-ngsi but at cygnus-common.


Naming and placing the new classes

New sink classes must be called NGSI<technology>Sink, being technology the name of the persistence backend. Examples are the already existent sinks NGSIHDFSSink, NGSICKANSink or NGSIMySQLSink.

Regarding the new sink class location, it must be:


As already explained, backends must be located at: