Profiling Measure - Configuration Guide


Data processing and its analysis can't truly be complete without data profiling - reviewing source data for content and quality. Data profiling helps to find data quality rules and requirements that will support a more thorough data quality assessment in a later step. Data profiling can help us to,

  • Discover Structure of data

    Validating that data is consistent and formatted correctly, and performing mathematical checks on the data (e.g. sum, minimum or maximum). Structure discovery helps understand how well data is structured—for example, what percentage of phone numbers do not have the correct number of digits.

  • Discover Content of data

    Looking into individual data records to discover errors. Content discovery identifies which specific rows in a table contain problems, and which systemic issues occur in the data (for example, phone numbers with no area code).

The process of Data profiling involves:

  • Collecting descriptive statistics like min, max, count and sum
  • Collecting data types, length and recurring patterns
  • Discovering metadata and assessing its accuracy, etc.

A common problem in data management circles is the confusion around what is meant by Data profiling as opposed to Data Quality Assessment due to the interchangeable use of these 2 terms.

Data Profiling helps us create a huge amount of insight into the quality levels of our data and helps to find data quality rules and requirements that will support a more thorough data quality assessment in a later step. For example, data profiling can help us to discover value frequencies, formats and patterns for each attribute in the data asset. Using data profiling alone we can find some perceived defects and outliers in the data asset, and we end up with a whole range of clues based on which correct Quality assessment measures can be defined like completeness/ distinctness etc.


The Profiling measure can be configured as below,


  "measures": [
      "name": "profiling_measure",
      "type": "profiling",
      "data.source": "crime_report_source",
      "config": {
        "expr": "city,zipcode",
        "approx.distinct.count": true,
        "round.scale": 2,
        "dataset.sample": 1.0
      "out": [
          "type": "metric",
          "name": "prof_metric",
          "flatten": "map"

Key Parameters:
NameTypeDescriptionSupported Values
nameStringUser-defined name of this measure-
typeStringType of Measurecompleteness, duplication, profiling, accuracy, sparksql, schemaConformance
data.sourceStringName of data source on which this measure is applied-
configObjectConfiguration params of the measureDepends on measure type (see below)
outList Define output(s) of measure executionSee below
Example config Object:

config object for Profiling measure contains the following keys,

  • expr: The value for expr is a comma separated string of columns in the data asset on which the profiling measure is to be executed. expr is an optional key for Profiling measure, i.e., if it is not defined, all columns in the data set will be profiled.

  • approx.distinct.count: The value for this key is boolean. If this is true, the distinct counts will be approximated to allow up to 5% error. Approximate counts are usually faster but are less accurate. If this is set to false, then the counts will be 100% accurate.

  • round.scale: Several resultant metrics of profiling measure are floating-point numbers. This key controls to extent to which these floating-point numbers are rounded. For example, if round.scale = 2 then all floating-point metric values will be rounded to 2 decimal places.

  • dataset.sample: The value of this key determines what percentage of data is to be profiled. The decimal value belongs to range [0.0, 1.0], where 0.0 means the whole dataset will be skipped, 1.0 means the whole dataset will be profiled. An intermediate value, say 0.5 will approximately take random 50% of the dataset rows (without replacement) and perform profiling on it. This option can be used when the dataset to be profiled is large, and an approximate profile is needed.


Unlike other measures, Profiling does not produce record outputs. Thus, only metric outputs must be configured.

Metrics Outputs

For each column in the data set, the profile contains the following,

  • avg_col_len: Average length of the column value across all rows
  • max_col_len: Maximum length of the column value across all rows
  • min_col_len: Minimum length of the column value across all rows
  • avg: Average column value across all rows
  • max: Maximum column value across all rows
  • min: Minimum column value across all rows
  • null_count: Count of null values across all rows for this column
  • approx_distinct_count OR distinct_count: Count of (approx) distinct values across all rows for this column
  • variance: Variance measures variability from the average or mean.
  • kurtosis: Kurtosis is a measure of whether the data are heavy-tailed or light-tailed relative to a normal distribution.
  • std_dev: Standard deviation is a measure of the amount of variation or dispersion of a set of values.
  • total: Total values across all rows. This is same for all columns.
  • data_type: Data type of this column.

To write Profiling metrics, configure the measure with output section as below,


  "out": [
      "name": "prof_metric",
      "type": "metric"


This will generate the metrics like below,

  "applicationId": "local-1623451540444",
  "job_name": "Batch-All-Measures-Example",
  "tmst": 1623451547985,
  "measure_name": "profiling_measure",
  "metrics": [
      "city": {
        "avg_col_len": null,
        "max_col_len": "25",
        "variance": null,
        "kurtosis": null,
        "avg": null,
        "min": null,
        "null_count": "0",
        "approx_distinct_count": "6",
        "total": "4617",
        "std_dev": null,
        "data_type": "string",
        "max": null,
        "min_col_len": "2"
      "zipcode": {
        "avg_col_len": "5.0",
        "max_col_len": "5",
        "variance": "4.57",
        "kurtosis": "-1.57",
        "avg": "94303.11",
        "min": "94301",
        "null_count": "158",
        "approx_distinct_count": "4",
        "total": "4617",
        "std_dev": "2.14",
        "data_type": "int",
        "max": "94306",
        "min_col_len": "5"
  "measure_type": "Profiling",
  "data_source": "crime_report_source"

Note: Some mathematical metrics are bound to the type of attribute under consideration, for example standard deviation cannot be calculated for a column name of string type, thus, the value for these metrics are null for such columns.

Note: This output is for ConsoleSink.