Delayed data are documents that are indexed late. That is to say, it is data related to a time that the datafeed has already processed.
When you create a datafeed, you can specify a
query_delay setting. This setting enables the
datafeed to wait for some time past real-time, which means any "late" data in
this period is fully indexed before the datafeed tries to gather it. However, if
the setting is set too low, the datafeed may query for data before it has been
indexed and consequently miss that document. Conversely, if it is set too high,
analysis drifts farther away from real-time. The balance that is struck depends
upon each use case and the environmental factors of the cluster.
This is a particularly prescient question. If data are delayed randomly (and
consequently are missing from analysis), the results of certain types of
functions are not really affected. In these situations, it all comes out okay in
the end as the delayed data is distributed randomly. An example would be a
metric for a field in a large collection of data. In this case, checking for
delayed data may not provide much benefit. If data are consistently delayed,
however, jobs with a
low_count function may provide false positives. In this
situation, it would be useful to see if data comes in after an anomaly is
recorded so that you can determine a next course of action.
In addition to the
query_delay field, there is a
delayed data check config,
which enables you to configure the datafeed to look in the past for delayed data.
Every 15 minutes or every
check_window, whichever is smaller, the datafeed
triggers a document search over the configured indices. This search looks over a
time span with a length of
check_window ending with the latest finalized bucket.
That time span is partitioned into buckets, whose length equals the bucket span
of the associated job. The
doc_count of those buckets are then compared with
the job’s finalized analysis buckets to see whether any data has arrived since
the analysis. If there is indeed missing data due to their ingest delay, the end
user is notified. For example, you can see annotations in Kibana for the periods
where these delays occur.
The most common course of action is to simply to do nothing. For many functions
and situations, ignoring the data is acceptable. However, if the amount of
delayed data is too great or the situation calls for it, the next course of
action to consider is to increase the
query_delay of the datafeed. This
increased delay allows more time for data to be indexed. If you have real-time
constraints, however, an increased delay might not be desirable. In which case,
you would have to tune for better indexing speed.