NettyBlockTransferService — Netty-Based BlockTransferService

NettyBlockTransferService is a BlockTransferService that uses Netty for uploading or fetching blocks of data.

NettyBlockTransferService is created when SparkEnv is created for the driver and executors (to create the BlockManager).

spark NettyBlockTransferService
Figure 1. Creating NettyBlockTransferService for BlockManager

BlockManager uses NettyBlockTransferService for the following:

  • FIXME (should it be here or in BlockManager?)

  • ShuffleClient (when spark.shuffle.service.enabled configuration property is off) for…​FIXME

NettyBlockTransferService simply requests the TransportServer for the port.

Enable INFO or TRACE logging level for logger to see what happens inside.

Add the following line to conf/

Refer to Logging.

fetchBlocks Method

  host: String,
  port: Int,
  execId: String,
  blockIds: Array[String],
  listener: BlockFetchingListener): Unit
fetchBlocks is part of BlockTransferService Contract to…​FIXME.

When executed, fetchBlocks prints out the following TRACE message in the logs:

TRACE Fetch blocks from [host]:[port] (executor id [execId])

fetchBlocks then creates a RetryingBlockFetcher.BlockFetchStarter where createAndStart method…​FIXME

Depending on the maximum number of acceptable IO exceptions (such as connection timeouts) per request, if the number is greater than 0, fetchBlocks creates a RetryingBlockFetcher and starts it immediately.

RetryingBlockFetcher is created with the RetryingBlockFetcher.BlockFetchStarter created earlier, the input blockIds and listener.

If however the number of retries is not greater than 0 (it could be 0 or less), the RetryingBlockFetcher.BlockFetchStarter created earlier is started (with the input blockIds and listener).

In case of any Exception, you should see the following ERROR message in the logs and the input BlockFetchingListener gets notified (using onBlockFetchFailure for every block id).

ERROR Exception while beginning fetchBlocks

Application Id — appId Property


Closing NettyBlockTransferService — close Method

close(): Unit
close is part of the BlockTransferService Contract.


Initializing NettyBlockTransferService — init Method

init(blockDataManager: BlockDataManager): Unit
init is part of the BlockTransferService Contract.

init starts a server for…​FIXME

Internally, init creates a NettyBlockRpcServer (using the application id, a JavaSerializer and the input blockDataManager).

FIXME Describe security when authEnabled is enabled.

init creates a TransportContext with the NettyBlockRpcServer created earlier.

FIXME Describe transportConf and TransportContext.

init creates the internal clientFactory and a server.

FIXME What’s the "a server"?

In the end, you should see the INFO message in the logs:

INFO NettyBlockTransferService: Server created on [hostName]:[port]
hostname is given when NettyBlockTransferService is created and is controlled by Spark property for the driver and differs per deployment environment for executors (as controlled by --hostname for CoarseGrainedExecutorBackend).

Uploading Block — uploadBlock Method

  hostname: String,
  port: Int,
  execId: String,
  blockId: BlockId,
  blockData: ManagedBuffer,
  level: StorageLevel,
  classTag: ClassTag[_]): Future[Unit]
uploadBlock is part of the BlockTransferService Contract.

Internally, uploadBlock creates a TransportClient client to send a UploadBlock message (to the input hostname and port).

UploadBlock message is processed by NettyBlockRpcServer.

The UploadBlock message holds the application id, the input execId and blockId. It also holds the serialized bytes for block metadata with level and classTag serialized (using the internal JavaSerializer) as well as the serialized bytes for the input blockData itself (this time however the serialization uses ManagedBuffer.nioByteBuffer method).

The entire UploadBlock message is further serialized before sending (using TransportClient.sendRpc).

FIXME Describe TransportClient and clientFactory.createClient.

When blockId block was successfully uploaded, you should see the following TRACE message in the logs:

TRACE NettyBlockTransferService: Successfully uploaded block [blockId]

When an upload failed, you should see the following ERROR message in the logs:

ERROR Error while uploading block [blockId]

UploadBlock Message

UploadBlock is a BlockTransferMessage that describes a block being uploaded, i.e. send over the wire from a NettyBlockTransferService to a NettyBlockRpcServer.

Table 1. UploadBlock Attributes
Attribute Description


The application id (the block belongs to)


The executor id


The block id



The block data as an array of bytes

As an Encodable, UploadBlock can calculate the encoded size and do encoding and decoding itself to or from a ByteBuf, respectively.

createServer Internal Method

createServer(bootstraps: List[TransportServerBootstrap]): TransportServer


createServer is used exclusively when NettyBlockTransferService is requested to init.

Creating NettyBlockTransferService Instance

NettyBlockTransferService takes the following when created:

  • SparkConf

  • SecurityManager

  • Bind address to bind to

  • Host name to bind to

  • Port number

  • Number of CPU cores

NettyBlockTransferService initializes the internal registries and counters.