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Analyze object tables by using remote functions

This document describes how to analyze unstructured data in object tables by using remote functions.

Overview

You can analyze the unstructured data represented by an object table by using a remote function. A remote function lets you call a function running on Cloud Functions or Cloud Run, which you can program to access resources such as:

  • Google's pre-trained AI models, including Cloud Vision API and Document AI.
  • Open source libraries such as Apache Tika.
  • Your own custom models.

To analyze object table data by using a remote function, you must generate and pass in signed URLs for the objects in the object table when you call the remote function. These signed URLs are what grant the remote function access to the objects.

Required permissions

  • To create the connection resource used by the remote function, you need the following permissions:

    • bigquery.connections.create
    • bigquery.connections.get
    • bigquery.connections.list
    • bigquery.connections.update
    • bigquery.connections.use
    • bigquery.connections.delete
  • To create a remote function, you need the permissions associated with the Cloud Functions Developer or Cloud Run Developer roles.

  • To invoke a remote function, you need the permissions described in Remote functions.

  • To analyze an object table with a remote function, you need the bigquery.tables.getData permission on the object table.

Before you begin

  1. Sign in to your Google Cloud account. If you're new to Google Cloud, create an account to evaluate how our products perform in real-world scenarios. New customers also get $300 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads.
  2. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  3. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Cloud project. Learn how to check if billing is enabled on a project.

  4. Enable the BigQuery, BigQuery Connection API, Cloud Functions APIs.

    Enable the APIs

  5. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  6. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Cloud project. Learn how to check if billing is enabled on a project.

  7. Enable the BigQuery, BigQuery Connection API, Cloud Functions APIs.

    Enable the APIs

Create a remote function

For general instructions on creating a remote function, see Working with remote functions.

When you create a remote function to analyze object table data, you must pass in signed URLS that have been generated for the objects in the object table. You can do this by using an input parameter with a STRING data type. The signed URLS are made available to the remote function as input data in the calls field of the HTTP POST request. An example of a request is:

{
  // Other fields omitted.
  "calls": [
    ["https://storage.googleapis.com/mybucket/1.pdf?X-Goog-SignedHeaders=abcd"],
    ["https://storage.googleapis.com/mybucket/2.pdf?X-Goog-SignedHeaders=wxyz"]
  ]
}

You can read an object in your remote function by using a method that makes an HTTP GET request to the signed URL. The remote function can access the object because the signed URL contains authentication information in its query string.

When you specify the CREATE FUNCTION statement for the remote function, we recommend that you set the max_batching_rows option to 1 in order to avoid Cloud Functions timeout and increase processing parallelism.

Example

The following Cloud Functions Python code example reads storage objects and returns their content length to BigQuery:

import functions_framework
import json
import urllib.request

@functions_framework.http
def object_length(request):
  calls = request.get_json()['calls']
  replies = []
  for call in calls:
    object_content = urllib.request.urlopen(call[0]).read()
    replies.append(len(object_content))
  return json.dumps({'replies': replies})

Deployed, this function would have an endpoint similar to https://us-central1-myproject.cloudfunctions.net/object_length.

The following example shows how to create a BigQuery remote function based on this Cloud Functions function:

CREATE FUNCTION mydataset.object_length(signed_url STRING) RETURNS INT64
REMOTE WITH CONNECTION `us.myconnection`
OPTIONS(
  endpoint = "https://us-central1-myproject.cloudfunctions.net/object_length",
  max_batching_rows = 1
);

For step-by-step guidance, see Tutorial: Analyze an object table with a remote function.

Call a remote function

To call a remote function on object table data, reference the remote function in the select_list of the query, and then call the EXTERNAL_OBJECT_TRANSFORM function in the FROM clause to generate the signed URLs for the objects.

The following example shows typical statement syntax:

SELECT uri, function_name(signed_url) AS function_output
FROM EXTERNAL_OBJECT_TRANSFORM(TABLE my_dataset.object_table, ["SIGNED_URL"])
LIMIT 10000;

The following example shows how to process only a subset of the object table contents with a remote function:

SELECT uri, function_name(signed_url) AS function_output
FROM EXTERNAL_OBJECT_TRANSFORM(TABLE my_dataset.object_table, ["SIGNED_URL"])
WHERE content_type = "application/pdf";

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