Shim Development

RAPIDS Accelerator For Apache Spark supports multiple feature version lines of Apache Spark such as 3.1.x, 3.2.x, 3.3.0 and a number of vendor releases that contain a mix of patches from different upstream releases. These artifacts are generally incompatible between each other, at both source code level and even more often at the binary level. The role of the Shim layer is to hide these issues from the common code, maximize reuse, and minimize logic duplication.

This is achieved by using a ServiceProvider pattern. All Shims implement the same API, the suitable Shim implementation is loaded after detecting the current Spark build version attempting to instantiate our plugin. We use the ShimLoader class as a tight entry point for interacting with the host Spark runtime.

In the following we provide recipes for typical scenarios addressed by the Shim layer.

Method signature discrepancies

It’s among the easiest issues to resolve. We define a method in SparkShims trait covering a superset of parameters from all versions and call it

SparkShimImpl.methodWithDiscrepancies(p_1, ..., p_n)

instead of referencing it directly. Shim implementations (SparkShimImpl) are in charge of dispatching it further to correct version-dependent methods. Moreover, unlike in the below sections conflicts between versions are easily avoided by using different package or class names for conflicting Shim implementations.

Base Classes/Traits Changes

Compile-time issues

Upstream base classes we derive from might be incompatible in the sense that one version requires us to implement/override the method M whereas the other prohibits it by marking the base implementation final, E.g. org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.trees.TreeNode changes between Spark 3.1.x and Spark 3.2.x. So instead of deriving from such classes directly we inject an intermediate trait e.g. com.nvidia.spark.rapids.shims.ShimExpression that has a varying source code depending on the Spark version we compile against to overcome this issue as you can see e.g., comparing TreeNode:

  1. ShimExpression For 3.1.x
  2. ShimExpression For 3.2.x

This resolves compile-time problems, however, now we face the problem at run time.

Run-time Issues

Plugin has to be able to deterministically load the right class files for identically named classes depending on the detected Spark runtime version. This is typically solved by using ASM-based relocation in the bytecode, however it does not work easily with Scala packages

So instead we resort to the idea of JDK’s ParallelWorldClassloader in combination with the fact that Spark runtime uses mutable classloaders we can alter after detecting the runtime version. Using JarURLConnection URLs we create a Parallel World of the current version within the jar, e.g.:

Spark 3.0.2’s URLs:


Spark 3.2.0’s URLs :


Late Inheritance in Public Classes

Most classes needed by the plugin can be disambiguated using Parallel World locations without reservations except for documented classes that are exposed to the user that may be loaded before the Plugin is even instantiated by the Spark runtime. The most important example of such a class is a configurable ShuffleManager. ShuffleManager has also changed in a backwards incompatible manner over the span of supported Spark versions.

The first issue with such a class, since it’s loaded by Spark directly outside our control we cannot have a single class name for our implementation that would work across versions. This is resolved, by having the documented facade classes with a shim specifier in their package names.

The second issue that every parent class/trait in the inheritance graph is loaded using the classloader outside Plugin’s control. Therefore, all this bytecode must reside in the conventional jar location, and it must be bitwise-identical across all shims. The only way to keep the source code for shared functionality unduplicated, (i.e., in sql-plugin/src/main/scala as opposed to be duplicated in sql-plugin/src/main/spark3*/scala source code roots) is to delay inheriting ShuffleManager until as late as possible, as close as possible to the facade class where we have to split the source code anyway. Use traits as much as possible for flexibility.

Late Initialization of Public Classes’ Ancestors

The third issue may arise from the fact that the shared logic may transitively reference a class that for one another reason resides in a Parallel World. Untangling this is tedious and may be unnecessary. The following approach robustly prevents from running into issues related to that.

We know that at the time such a class is loaded by Spark it’s not strictly needed if the Plugin has not been loaded yet. More accurately, it may not be strictly needed until later when the first query can be run when the Spark SQL session and its extensions are initialized. It improves the user experience if the first query is not penalized beyond necessary though. By design, Plugin guarantees that the classloader is set up at load time before the DriverPlugin and ExecutorPlugin instances are called the init method on.

By making a visible class merely a wrapper of the real implementation where the real implementation is a lazy val we prevent classes from Parallel Worlds to be loaded before they can be, and are actually required.

For examples see:

  1. class ProxyRapidsShuffleInternalManagerBase
  2. class ExclusiveModeGpuDiscoveryPlugin

Note that we currently have to manually code up the delegation methods to the tune of:

  def method(x: SomeThing) = realImpl.method(x)

This could be automatically generated with a simple tool processing the scalap output or Scala macros at build/compile time. Pull requests are welcome.

How to externalize an internal class as a compile-time dependency

At some point you may find it necessary to expose an existing class/trait/object A currently residing in a “hidden” parallel world as a dependency for Maven modules/projects dependencies depending on the dist module artifact rapids-4-spark_2.12.

This has two pre-requisites:

  1. The .class file with the bytecode is bitwise-identical among the currently supported Spark versions. To verify this you can inspect the dist jar and check if the class file is under spark3xx-common jar entry. If this is not the case then code should be refactored until all discrepancies are shimmed away.
  2. The transitive closure of the classes compile-time-referenced by A should have the property above.

JDK ships the jdeps tool that can help analyze static dependencies of a class. Unfortunately, it does not compute the transitive closure (recursive) at the class granularity. Thus you need additional tools such as the [Graphviz tool]( used here.

To figure out the transitive closure of a class we first need to build the dist module. While iterating on the PR, it should be sufficient to build against the lowest and highest versions of the supported Spark version range. As of the time of this writing:

./build/buildall --parallel=4  --profile=311,330 --module=dist

However, before submitting the PR execute the full build --profile=noSnapshots.

Then switch to the parallel-world build dir.

cd dist/target/parallel-world/

Move the current externalized classes (outside the spark3* parallel worlds) to a dedicated directory, say public.

mv org com ai public/

jdeps can now treat public classes as a separate archive and you will see the dependencies of public classes. By design public classes should have only edges only to other public classes in the dist jar.

Execute jdeps against public, spark3xx-common and an exactly one parallel world such as spark330

${JAVA_HOME}/bin/jdeps -v \
  -dotoutput /tmp/jdeps330 \
  -regex '(com|org)\..*\.rapids\..*' \
  public spark3xx-common spark330

This will produce three DOT files for each “archive” with directed edges for a class in the archive to a class either in this or another archive.

Looking at an output file, e.g. /tmp/jdeps330/, unfortunately you see that jdeps does not label the source class node but labels the target class node of an edge. Thus the graph is incorrect as it breaks paths if a node has both incoming and outgoing edges.

$ grep 'com.nvidia.spark.rapids.GpuFilterExec\$'
   "com.nvidia.spark.rapids.GpuFilterExec$"           -> "com.nvidia.spark.rapids.GpuFilterExec (spark330)";
   "com.nvidia.spark.rapids.GpuOverrides$$anon$204"   -> "com.nvidia.spark.rapids.GpuFilterExec$ (spark3xx-common)";

So first create and cd to some other directory /tmp/jdep330.processed to massage the original jdeps output for further analysis.

Decorate source nodes from <archive>.dot with the (<archive>) label given that the source nodes are guaranteed to be from the <archive>.

sed 's/"\([^(]*\)"\(\s*->.*;\)/"\1 (public)"\2/' \
  /tmp/jdeps330/ >
sed 's/"\([^(]*\)"\(\s*->.*;\)/"\1 (spark3xx-common)"\2/' \
  /tmp/jdeps330/ >
sed 's/"\([^(]*\)"\(\s*->.*;\)/"\1 (spark330)"\2/' \
  /tmp/jdeps330/ >

Next you need to union edges of all three graphs into a single graph to be able to analyze cross-archive paths.

cat | \
  tr '\n' '\r' | \
  sed 's/}\rdigraph "[^"]*" {\r//g' | \
  tr '\r' '\n' >

Now you can finally examine the classes reachable from the class you are trying to externalize. Using the dijkstra tool you can annotate all nodes with the shortest path distance from the input node, the class you are trying to externalize

If you see a reachable node out of the parallel world spark330 then you need to refactor until the dependencies paths to it are eliminated.

Focus on the nodes with lowest distance to eliminate dependency on the shim.


GpuTypeColumnVector needs refactoring prior externalization as of the time of this writing:

$ dijkstra -d -p "com.nvidia.spark.rapids.GpuColumnVector (spark3xx-common)" | \
  grep '\[dist=' | grep '(spark330)'
        "org.apache.spark.sql.rapids.GpuFileSourceScanExec (spark330)"  [dist=5.000,
        "com.nvidia.spark.rapids.GpuExec (spark330)"    [dist=3.000,

RegexReplace could be externalized safely:

$ dijkstra -d -p "org.apache.spark.sql.rapids.RegexReplace (spark3xx-common)" | grep '\[dist='
        "org.apache.spark.sql.rapids.RegexReplace (spark3xx-common)"    [dist=0.000];
        "org.apache.spark.sql.rapids.RegexReplace$ (spark3xx-common)"   [dist=1.000,

because it is self-contained.

Estimating the scope of the task

Dealing with a single class at a time may quickly turn into a tedious task. You can look at the bigger picture by generating clusters of the strongly connected components using sccmap

$ sccmap -d -s
2440 nodes, 11897 edges, 637 strong components

Review the clusters in the output of sccmap -d Find the cluster containing your class and how it is connected to the rest of the clusters in the definition of the digraph scc_map.

This mechanism can also be used as a guidance for refactoring the code in a more self-contained packages.