Data Quality

Lineage Validation

Fennel has visibility into the full lineage of dataflow graph. During commit, Fennel conducts various validations across the full lineage graph to make sure that the dataflow graph is valid. Commit succeeds if and only if all these validations pass at the compile time itself. These checks prevent data quality bugs of the following kind:

Missing Dependencies

If any construct depends on something else (e.g. a pipeline takes another dataset as an input), Fennel validates that all such dependencies are available. This means that a construct can not be deleted until everything that depends on it has been deleted first.

When a feature depends on an upstream pipeline (possibly via multiple dependency hops), deletion of that pipeline can lead to values of that dataset becoming nulls. This changes the distribution of feature values leading to incorrect model results. But such scenarios can not occur with Fennel because this missing dependency will be caught at "compile time" itself

Typing Mismatch

Fennel matches data types across dependencies to detect invalid relationships. For instance, if a dataset is supposed to have a field of certain type but the pipeline that produces the dataset doesn't produce that field/type, the error will be caught during commit only without ever going into the runtime phase.

Circular Dependencies

Fennel is also able to detect circular dependencies in dataflow during commit. While these aren't that common in production, but when they do happen, can be very hard to debug.

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