Pivotal GemFire® v9.3

Apache Lucene® Integration

Apache Lucene® is a widely used Java full-text search engine. This section describes how Pivotal GemFire integrates with Apache Lucene. We assume that the reader is familiar with Apache Lucene’s indexing and search functionalities.

The Apache Lucene integration:

  • Enables users to create Lucene indexes on data stored in GemFire
  • Provides high availability of indexes using GemFire’s HA capabilities to store the indexes in memory
  • Colocates indexes with data
  • For persistent regions, persists Lucene indexes to disk
  • Updates the indexes asynchronously to minimize impacting write latency
  • Provides scalability by partitioning index data

For more details, see Javadocs for the classes and interfaces that implement Apache Lucene indexes and searches, including LuceneService, LuceneSerializer, LuceneIndexFactory, LuceneQuery, LuceneQueryFactory, LuceneQueryProvider, and LuceneResultStruct.

Using the Apache Lucene Integration

You can interact with Apache Lucene indexes through a Java API, through the gfsh command-line utility, or by means of the cache.xml configuration file.

Key Points

  • Apache Lucene indexes are supported only on partitioned regions. Replicated region types are not supported.
  • Lucene indexes reside on servers. You cannot create a Lucene index on a client.
  • A Lucene index applies to only one region. Multiple indexes can be defined for a single region.
  • Heterogeneous objects in a single region are supported.

Creating a Lucene Index

Note: Create the Lucene index before creating the region.

When you create a Lucene index, you must provide three pieces of information:

  1. The name of the index you wish to create
  2. The name of the region to be indexed and searched
  3. The names of the fields you wish to index

You must specify at least one field to be indexed.

If the object value for the entries in the region comprises a primitive type value without a field name, then use __REGION_VALUE_FIELD to specify the field to be indexed. __REGION_VALUE_FIELD serves as the field name for entry values of all primitive types, including String, Long, Integer, Float, and Double.

Each field has a corresponding analyzer to extract terms from text. When no analyzer is specified, the org.apache.lucene.analysis.standard.StandardAnalyzer is used.

The index has an associated serializer that renders the indexed object as a Lucene document comprised of searchable fields. The default serializer is a simple one that handles top-level fields, but does not render collections or nested objects.

GemFire supplies a built-in serializer, FlatFormatSerializer(), that handles collections and nested objects. See Using FlatFormatSerializer to Index Fields within Nested Objects for more information regarding Lucene indexes for nested objects.

As a third alternative, you can create your own serializer, which must implement the LuceneSerializer interface.

Creating a Lucene Index: Java API Example

The following example uses the Java API to create a Lucene index with two fields. No analyzers are specified, so the default analyzer handles both fields. No serializer is specified, so the default serializer is used.

// Get LuceneService
LuceneService luceneService = LuceneServiceProvider.get(cache);

// Create the index on fields with default analyzer
//  prior to creating the region
  .create(indexName, regionName);

Region region = cache.createRegionFactory(RegionShortcut.PARTITION)

Creating a Lucene Index: Gfsh Example

In gfsh, use the create lucene index command to create Lucene indexes.

The following example creates an index with two fields. The default analyzer handles both fields, and the default serializer is used.

gfsh>create lucene index --name=indexName --region=/orders --field=customer,tags

The next example creates an index, specifying a custom analyzer for the second field. “DEFAULT” in the first analyzer position specifies that the default analyzer will be used for the first field.

gfsh>create lucene index --name=indexName --region=/orders
  --field=customer,tags --analyzer=DEFAULT,

Creating a Lucene Index: XML Example

This XML configuration file specifies a Lucene index with three fields and three analyzers:


    <region name="region" refid="PARTITION">
        <lucene:index name="myIndex">
          <lucene:field name="a" 
          <lucene:field name="b" 
          <lucene:field name="c" 
          <lucene:field name="d" />

Using FlatFormatSerializer to Index Fields within Nested Objects

GemFire supplies a built-in serializer, org.apache.geode.cache.lucene.FlatFormatSerializer that renders collections and nested objects as searchable fields, which you can access using the syntax fieldnameAtLevel1.fieldnameAtLevel2 for both indexing and querying.

For example, in the following data model, the Customer object contains both a Person object and a collection of Page objects. The Person object also contains a Page object.

public class Customer implements Serializable {
  private String name;
  private Collection<String> phoneNumbers;
  private Collection<Person> contacts;
  private Page[] myHomePages;
public class Person implements Serializable {
  private String name;
  private String email;
  private int revenue;
  private String address;
  private String[] phoneNumbers;
  private Page homepage;
public class Page implements Serializable {
  private int id; // search integer in int format
  private String title;
  private String content;

The FlatFormatSerializer creates one document for each parent object, adding an indexed field for each data field in a nested object, identified by its qualified name. Similarly, collections are flattened and treated as tokens in a single field. For example, the FlatFormatSerializer could convert a Customer object, with the structure described above, into a document containing fields such as name,, and contacts.homepage.title based on the indexed fields specified at index creation. Each segment is a field name, not a field type, because a class (such as Customer) could have more than one field of the same type (such as Person).

The serializer creates and indexes the fields you specify when you request index creation. The example below demonstrates how to index the name field and the nested fields,, contacts.address, contacts.homepage.title.

// Get LuceneService
LuceneService luceneService = LuceneServiceProvider.get(cache);

// Create Index on fields, some are fields in nested objects:
luceneService.createIndexFactory().setLuceneSerializer(new FlatFormatSerializer())
      .create("customerIndex", "Customer");

// Create region
Region CustomerRegion = ((Cache)cache).createRegionFactory(shortcut).create("Customer");

The gfsh equivalent of the above Java code uses the create lucene index command, with options specifying the index name, region name, field names, and the FlatFormatSerializer, specified using its fully qualified name,org.apache.geode.cache.lucene.FlatFormatSerializer:

gfsh>create lucene index --name=customerIndex --region=Customer

The syntax for querying a nested field is the same as for a top level field, but with the additional qualifying parent field name, such as*. This distinguishes which “name” field is intended when there can be more than one “name” field at different hierarchical levels in the object.

Java query:

LuceneQuery query = luceneService.createLuceneQueryFactory()
    .create("customerIndex", "Customer", "*", "name");

PageableLuceneQueryResults<K,Object> results = query.findPages();

gfsh query:

gfsh>search lucene --name=customerIndex --region=Customer


Querying a Lucene Index: Gfsh Example

For details, see the gfsh search lucene command reference page.

gfsh>search lucene --name=indexName --region=/orders --queryString="Jones*"

Querying a Lucene Index: Java API Example

LuceneQuery<String, Person> query = luceneService.createLuceneQueryFactory()
  .create(indexName, regionName, "name:John AND zipcode:97006", defaultField);

Collection<Person> results = query.findValues();

Destroying an Index

Since a region-destroy operation does not cause the destruction of any Lucene indexes, destroy any Lucene indexes prior to destroying the associated region.

Destroying a Lucene Index: Java API Example

luceneService.destroyIndex(indexName, regionName);

An attempt to destroy a region with a Lucene index will result in an IllegalStateException, issuing an error message similar to:

java.lang.IllegalStateException: The parent region [/orders] in colocation chain
 cannot be destroyed, unless all its children [[/indexName#_orders.files]] are

Destroying a Lucene Index: Gfsh Example

For details, see the gfsh destroy lucene index command reference page.

The error message that results from an attempt to destroy a region prior to destroying its associated Lucene index will be similar to:

Region /orders cannot be destroyed because it defines Lucene index(es)
  [/ordersIndex]. Destroy all Lucene indexes before destroying the region.

Changing an Index

Changing an index requires rebuilding it. Implement these steps to change an index:

  1. Export all region data.
  2. Destroy the Lucene index.
  3. Destroy the region.
  4. Create a new index.
  5. Create a new region without the user-defined business logic callbacks.
  6. Import the region data with the option to turn on callbacks. The callbacks will be to invoke a Lucene async event listener to index the data. The gfsh import data command will be of the form:

    gfsh>import data --region=myReg --member=M3 --file=myReg.gfd --invoke-callbacks=true

    If the API is used to import data, the code to set the option to invoke callbacks will be similar to this code fragment:

    Region region = ...;
    File snapshotFile = ...;
    RegionSnapshotService service = region.getSnapshotService();
    SnapshotOptions options = service.createOptions();
    service.load(snapshotFile, SnapshotFormat.GEMFIRE, options);
  7. Alter the region to add the user-defined business logic callbacks.

Additional Gfsh Commands

See the gfsh describe lucene index command reference page for the command that prints details about a specific index.

See the gfsh list lucene index command reference page for the command that prints details about the Lucene indexes created for all members.

Requirements and Caveats

  • Join queries between regions are not supported.
  • Lucene indexes are stored in on-heap memory only.
  • Lucene queries from within transactions are not supported. On an attempt to query from within a transaction, a LuceneQueryException is thrown, issuing an error message on the client (accessor) similar to:
Exception in thread "main" org.apache.geode.cache.lucene.LuceneQueryException:
 Lucene Query cannot be executed within a transaction
  • Lucene indexes must be created prior to creating the region. If an attempt is made to create a Lucene index after creating the region, the error message is similar to:
       Member                | Status
---------------------------- | ------------------------------------------------------<v2>:1026 | Failed: The lucene index must be created before region<v3>:1027 | Failed: The lucene index must be created before region<v1>:1025 | Failed: The lucene index must be created before region
  • The order of server creation with respect to index and region creation is important. The cluster configuration service cannot work if servers are created after index creation, but before region creation, as Lucene indexes are propagated to the cluster configuration after region creation. To start servers at multiple points within the start-up process, use this ordering:
    1. start server(s)
    2. create Lucene index
    3. create region
    4. start additional server(s)
  • An invalidate operation on a region entry does not invalidate a corresponding Lucene index entry. A query on a Lucene index that contains values that have been invalidated can return results that no longer exist. Therefore, do not combine entry invalidation with queries on Lucene indexes.
  • Lucene indexes are not supported for regions that have eviction configured with a local destroy. Eviction can be configured with overflow to disk, but only the region data is overflowed to disk, not the Lucene index. On an attempt to create a region with eviction configured to do local destroy (with a Lucene index), an UnsupportedOperationException is thrown, issuing an error message similar to:
[error 2017/05/02 16:12:32.461 PDT <main> tid=0x1] 
Exception in thread "main" java.lang.UnsupportedOperationException:
 Lucene indexes on regions with eviction and action local destroy are not supported
  • Be aware that using the same field name in different objects where the field has different data types may have unexpected consequences. For example, if an index on the field SSN has the following entries

    • Object_1 object_1 has String SSN = “1111”
    • Object_2 object_2 has Integer SSN = 1111
    • Object_3 object_3 has Float SSN = 1111.0

    Integers and floats will not be converted into strings. They remain as IntPoint and FloatPoint within Lucene. The standard analyzer will not try to tokenize these values. The standard analyzer will only try to break up string values. So, a string search for “SSN: 1111” will return object_1. An IntRangeQuery for upper limit : 1112 and lower limit : 1110 will return object_2, and a FloatRangeQuery with upper limit : 1111.5 and lower limit : 1111.0 will return object_3.

  • Backups should only be made for regions with Lucene indexes when there are no puts, updates, or deletes in progress. A backup might cause an inconsistency between region data and a Lucene index. Both the region operation and the associated index operation cause disk operations, yet those disk operations are not done atomically. Therefore, if a backup were taken between the persisted write to a region and the resulting persisted write to the Lucene index, then the backup represents inconsistent data in the region and Lucene index.