What is a Batch Operation? | A Comprehensive Guide 101

on Batch Jobs, Batch Processing, Data Processing • May 26th, 2022 • Write for Hevo

Batch Operation Featured Image | Hevo Data

Many companies across all verticals of industries rely on data analytics to track and improve operational performance. Essentially, they are gathering and collecting data in large batches from diverse systems and evaluating it in batches using periodic on-demand queries.

The Batch Operation or Batch Processing is preferred for data streaming activities that do not require much end-user interaction and can be scheduled to run as resources permit. 

This article talks about Batch Operation and its advantages and disadvantages. In addition to that, it also explains Batch Processing Tools and the difference between Batch and Stream Processing.

Table Of Contents

Prerequisites

Understanding Big Data

What is Batch Processing?

Herman Hollerith, an American inventor who invented the first tabulating machine, used the Batch Processing method for the first time in the 19th century. This device, which was capable of counting and sorting data organized on punched cards, became the forerunner of the modern computer. The cards, as well as the information on them, could then be collected and processed in batches. Large amounts of data could be processed more quickly and accurately with this innovation than with manual entry methods.

Batch Processing is a technique for consistently processing large amounts of data. The batch method allows users to process data with little or no user interaction when computing resources are available.

Batch Processing has become popular due to its numerous benefits for enterprise data management. It has several advantages for businesses:

  • Efficiency: When computing or other resources are readily available, Batch Processing allows a company to process jobs. Companies can schedule batch processes for jobs that aren’t as urgent and prioritize time-sensitive jobs. Batch systems can also run in the background to reduce processor stress.
  • Simplicity: Batch Processing, in comparison to Stream Processing, is a less complex system that does not require special hardware or system support. For data input, it requires less maintenance.
  • Improved Data Quality: Batch Processing reduces the chances of errors by automating most or all components of a processing job and minimizing user interaction. To achieve a higher level of data quality, precision and accuracy are improved.
  • Faster Business Intelligence: Batch Processing allows companies to process large volumes of data quickly, resulting in faster Business Intelligence. Batch Processing reduces processing time and ensures that data is delivered on time because many records can be processed at once. And, because multiple jobs can be handled at the same time, business intelligence is available faster than ever before.
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Understanding Batch Operation

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The Batch Operation is a technique for processing large amounts of data consistently at regular intervals. Before batch results are generated, data is gathered, recorded, and processed here. The primary function of a Batch Processing system is to run jobs in batches. This technique allows users to process data with little or no human intervention when computational resources are available.

Batch Processing is used to deal with massive volumes of data that aren’t continuous. It can process data fast, reduce or eliminate the requirement for user engagement, and boost task processing efficiency. It’s ideal for updating databases, conducting transactions, and converting files between formats. Batch operation requires users to collect and store data before processing it during a batch window. Batch windows are times when the total CPU utilization is low (typically overnight).

There are two reasons for this:

  • It boosts productivity by prioritizing processing and finishing data activities per the convenience of the users. Batch operations can use a lot of CPU time, taking up resources that could be used for other business activities. 
  • Batch Processing is commonly used to process transactions and provide reports, such as collecting all sales data made during the business day. Hence, scheduling Batch windows at night can better deal with big data.

Batch Processing is now accomplished via job schedulers, Batch Processing systems, workload automation solutions, and native operating system programs. The Batch Processing tool accepts data, caters to system requirements, and organizes high-volume processing scheduling.

A batch operation is a procedure or method for processing or treating a large quantity of material, usually with a single charge of reactant in a single vessel and often with vigorous stirring. It is the operational method of manufacturing products or treating materials in a single charge of raw materials in the chemical industry.
When producing small quantities of products, a batch operation is preferred. Because this operation provides better traceability and flexibility, it is very common in pharmaceutical and specialty chemical manufacturing.

Batching is another word for a batch operation.

All of the reactants (i.e., raw materials) are charged (fed) singly into a reactor vessel or furnace in chemical batch operations. Following batch charging, the vessel undergoes a chemical reaction, with the final product(s) and byproducts being collected from the reactor. Separate batches of products are produced in time-sequenced steps. To produce large amounts of products, batch operations can be repeated.

A batch treatment is a process of separating an emulsion of crude oil and water into its constituents in petroleum engineering.

In chemical processes, there are two types of operations:

  • Batch Operation: This method is used for small-scale productions such as specialty and fine chemicals.
  • Continuous Operation: For large-scale productions like commodity chemicals and petrochemicals, continuous operation is used.

The batch process can be carried out in a single reactor or multiple reactors. If more than one reactor is used, each one is for a different process step. By using appropriate separation stages between the various steps, the final product’s quality can be controlled. Unreacted materials in the reactor vessels are removed from the reaction mixture and returned to be mixed with new charges for further reaction mixing.

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Key Advantages of Batch Operation

  • More Control: Batch Processing systems operate in the background, so even after the working/peak hours, they can continue to process in the background. Managers have complete control over when procedures begin. They can configure the software to execute specific batches overnight, which is a practical solution for firms that don’t want jobs like automated downloads to disturb their daily daytime operations.
  • Cost-Effective: Batch Processing is less expensive than real-time or Stream Processing since it does not require continual system support for pulling data from specified sources, as the process can be automated. A batch system requires less maintenance after being deployed and established, giving it a low-barrier-to-entry alternative.
  • Simplicity of Maintenance: The Batch Processing operation is a less sophisticated system compared to other available Data Processing since it does not require active system support. A Batch Processing system requires less maintenance after being set up than other data processing systems.
  • Enhanced Data Quality: Batch Processing reduces the chances of mistakes by automating most or all components of a processing operation and minimizing user contact, thereby enhancing accuracy and precision, resulting in increased data quality.
  • Hands-Free Management: Team leaders already have enough on their plates without having to check on their batches every hour. Modern Batch Processing software’s exception-based alerting mechanism allows users to focus on their jobs rather than worrying whether their program is working properly or if batches are being processed. If there is a problem, alerts are sent to the relevant parties. This enables team leaders to relax and trust their Batch Processing operation software to get the job done.
  • Faster Enhanced Business intelligence Analysis: Batch Processing operation allows firms to handle large volumes of data quickly, resulting in enhanced business intelligence. Because several records can be properly processed at once, Batch Processing decreases overall processing time and guarantees that data is supplied quickly. You can get considerably faster business insights than ever before because of the efficient Parallel Processing of several activities at the same time.

Difference Between Batch and Stream Processing

  • When a large amount of data is processed in a single batch over a set period, it is referred to as Batch Processing. This includes credit card transactions, generating invoices, operating system input and output processing, and so on. In comparison, the processing of a continuous stream of data as it is created is known as Stream Processing. This includes data from IoT sensors, radar systems, customer service systems, and ATMs.
  • Batch Processing takes a long time and is designed for massive amounts of data that aren’t time-sensitive, whereas Stream Processing is quick and designed for information that has to be accessed right away.
  • Stream Processing is action or event-based, whereas Batch Processing is measurement-oriented.
  • The Batch Processing operation does not require a specific completion time. However, in real-time Stream Processing, the time to finish the operation is crucial.
  • Batch Processing operations demand the utilization of the majority of storage and processing resources to handle huge batches of data. Stream Processing operations, on the other hand, take less storage to handle the current or recent collection of data packets. The computational demands are minimized.
  • Batch Processing can be done with standard computer hardware. Real-time Stream Processing necessitates an advanced computer architecture and hardware.
  • Data Latency is the amount of time it takes for your data to arrive in your database or data warehouse after an event happens. The time it takes for a batch of data to be processed can vary from minutes to hours to days. Stream Processing, on the other hand, requires low latency of seconds or milliseconds.
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To know more about the differences between Batch and Stream Processing click here.

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Popular Batch Process Tools and Frameworks

  • Batch Apex is used in Salesforce for processing and executing big operations that may surpass normal processing constraints. Batch Apex, as the name suggests, is used to asynchronously process jobs in batches, resulting in real-time Batch Processing. If you have a colossal amount of data to process, such as data cleansing or archiving, Batch Apex is the ideal option.
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  • MapReduce, a Batch Processing framework developed by Apache Hadoop, is the most widely used Batch Processing framework for the parallel processing of large datasets. It takes data from the HDFS and breaks it down into smaller segments. Each segment is then scheduled and distributed for processing across the Hadoop cluster’s nodes. Every node conducts the necessary computations on the data block, and the intermediate results are sent back to the HDFS. These intermediate results can then be combined, divided, and redistributed for further processing before being written back to HDFS.
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Limitations of Batch Operation

  • Troubleshooting: Team Managers must also know how to correct errors when they arise. Understandably, debugging Batch Processing systems is difficult. You’ll almost certainly require an in-house specialist for these systems; otherwise, expect to pay more if you hire an outside expert to help.
  • Scope: Batch Processing technologies are frequently limited in scope and capacity. When integrating the batch system with new sources of data, custom scripts are frequently necessary, which might raise security problems when sensitive data is involved. Batch systems might also struggle to handle activities that demand real-time data, such as stream processing or transaction processing.
  • Data Inconsistency: Before the system can conduct a batch operation for analytics, all of the input data must be ready; this means it must be thoroughly checked for quality. When there are data issues, errors, or software failures in a Batch Processing operation, the entire process comes to a halt. Therefore, the inputs must be thoroughly examined before the job can be restarted. Even slight data mistakes, such as date typos, might cause a batch process to fail. This can be an inconvenience if done manually.

Conclusion

Batch Operation is suitable for dealing with huge amounts of data or transactions. It also saves time by not having to process each one separately. When real-time analytics are required, stream processing is advantageous; however, Batch Processing is a viable option when data freshness is not a priority. You can also use it if you’re dealing with massive data and need to execute a complex algorithm that requires access to comprehensive data.

Today conventional Batch Processing technologies have been replaced by high-performance automation and orchestration systems that provide the flexibility required to manage change. They make it possible for IT companies to function in hybrid and multi-cloud settings while also reducing human interaction requirements. Machine-learning methods are also being used to effectively distribute VMs to batch workloads to decrease slack time and idle resources while dealing with high-volume workload runs.

If you are using CRMs, Sales, HR, and Marketing applications and looking to process massive amounts of data with a no-fuss Batch Processing, then Hevo can effortlessly automate this for you.

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