UDSource class

You can subclass the UDSource class when you need to load data from a source type that COPY does not already support.

You can subclass the UDSource class when you need to load data from a source type that COPY does not already support.

Each instance of your UDSource subclass reads from a single data source. Examples of a single data source are a single file or the results of a single function call to a RESTful web application.

UDSource methods

Your UDSource subclass must override process() or processWithMetadata():

  • process() reads the raw input stream as one large file. If there are any errors or failures, the entire load fails.

  • processWithMetadata() is useful when the data source has metadata about record boundaries available in some structured format that's separate from the data payload. With this interface, the source emits a record length for each record in addition to the data.

    By implementing processWithMetadata() instead of process() in each phase, you can retain this record length metadata throughout the load stack, which enables a more efficient parse that can recover from errors on a per-message basis, rather than a per-file or per-source basis. KafkaSource and the Kafka parsers (KafkaAvroParser, KafkaJSONParser, and KafkaParser) use this mechanism to support per-Kafka-message rejections when individual Kafka messages are cannot be parsed.

Additionally, you can override the other UDSource class methods.

Source execution

The following sections detail the execution sequence each time a user-defined source is called. The following example overrides the process() method.

Setting Up
COPY calls setup() before the first time it calls process(). Use setup() to perform any necessary setup steps to access the data source. This method establishes network connections, opens files, and similar tasks that need to be performed before the UDSource can read data from the data source. Your object might be destroyed and re-created during use, so make sure that your object is restartable.

Processing a Source
COPY calls process() repeatedly during query execution to read data and write it to the DataBuffer passed as a parameter. This buffer is then passed to the first filter.

If the source runs out of input, or fills the output buffer, it must return the value StreamState.OUTPUT_NEEDED. When Vertica gets this return value, it will call the method again. This second call occurs after the output buffer has been processed by the next stage in the data-load process. Returning StreamState.DONE indicates that all of the data from the source has been read.

The user can cancel the load operation, which aborts reading.

Tearing Down
COPY calls destroy() after the last time that process() is called. This method frees any resources reserved by the setup() or process() methods, such as file handles or network connections that the setup() method allocated.


A source can define two accessors, getSize() and getUri().

COPY might call getSize() to estimate the number of bytes of data to be read before calling process(). This value is an estimate only and is used to indicate the file size in the LOAD_STREAMS table. Because Vertica can call this method before calling setup(), getSize() must not rely on any resources allocated by setup().

This method should not leave any resources open. For example, do not save any file handles opened by getSize() for use by the process() method. Doing so can exhaust the available resources, because Vertica calls getSize() on all instances of your UDSource subclass before any data is loaded. If many data sources are being opened, these open file handles could use up the system's supply of file handles. Thus, none would remain available to perform the actual data load.

Vertica calls getUri() during execution to update status information about which resources are currently being loaded. It returns the URI of the data source being read by this UDSource.


The UDSource API provides the following methods for extension by subclasses:

virtual void setup(ServerInterface &srvInterface);

virtual bool useSideChannel();

virtual StreamState process(ServerInterface &srvInterface, DataBuffer &output)=0;

virtual StreamState processWithMetadata(ServerInterface &srvInterface, DataBuffer &output, LengthBuffer &output_lengths)=0;

virtual void cancel(ServerInterface &srvInterface);

virtual void destroy(ServerInterface &srvInterface);

virtual vint getSize();

virtual std::string getUri();

The UDSource API provides the following methods for extension by subclasses:

public void setup(ServerInterface srvInterface) throws UdfException;

public abstract StreamState process(ServerInterface srvInterface, DataBuffer output) throws UdfException;

protected void cancel(ServerInterface srvInterface);

public void destroy(ServerInterface srvInterface) throws UdfException;

public Integer getSize();

public String getUri();