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Volatility

Materialize strives to be a correct, deterministic system. But because Materialize does not itself store data, it can only provide correctness and determinism if the sources it connects to provide the same guarantee. In particular, a given source must be capable of producing the same data repeatedly. In other words, if Materialize restarts, it must be able to replay the source from the beginning of time and receive exactly the same data.

We call a source that cannot uphold this guarantee a volatile source. Many common sources of streaming data are volatile. For example, Amazon Kinesis streams are volatile, because (by default) data is only retained for 24 hours. If Materialize restarts after reading a Kinesis stream for 25 hours, it will be unable to recover the first hour of data.

While it is possible to connect to volatile sources in Materialize, the system internally tracks the volatility. Forthcoming features that rely on deterministic replay, like exactly-once sinks, will not support construction atop volatile sources.

Rules

The following sections describe Materialize’s rules for determining the volatility of objects in the system.

WARNING! These rules will evolve in future versions of Materialize.

Sources

At present, the following source types are always considered volatile:

The following source types are always considered to be of unknown volatility:

In the future, Materialize will let you configure whether a given Kafka, S3, or file source is considered volatile or nonvolatile, as their volatility depends on their configuration. Common ways to introduce volatility include configuring a retention policy on a Kafka topic used in a Kafka source, deleting an object from an S3 bucket used in an S3 source, or editing a file used in a file source.

Views, indexes, and sinks

The volatility of a view, index, or sink is determined by applying each of the following rules in turn:

  1. If the object depends on at least one volatile source, it is volatile.
  2. If the object depends on at least one source of unknown volatility, it has unknown volatility.
  3. Otherwise the object is nonvolatile.

An important implication of these rules is that a view that has no dependencies (e.g., CREATE VIEW v AS SELECT 1) is nonvolatile.

Tables

Tables are always volatile because they do not currently retain state between restarts.

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