This document provide instructions on how the import of the engine data to Optimize works.

Architecture Overview

In general, the import assumes the following setup:

  • A Camunda engine, where the data is imported from.
  • The Optimize back-end, where the data is transformed to an appropriate format for efficient data analysis.
  • Elasticsearch, which is the database of Optimize, to where the formatted data is persisted.

The following depicts the setup and how the components communicate with each other:

Hereby, the main idea is that Optimize queries the engine data using a dedicated Optimize REST-API within the engine and transforms the data such that it can be quickly and easily queried by Optimize. The reason of having an own REST endpoint for Optimize is performance: the default REST-API adds a lot of complexity to retrieve the data from the database, which results in cases with a large data sets in low performance.

Furthermore, one should be aware of what the general requirement for the data in Optimize are:

  • The data is only a near real-time representation of the engine database. That means, Elasticsearch may not contain the data of the most recent time frame, e.g. the last two minutes, but all the previous data should be synchronized.
  • Optimize imports only the data that it needs for its analysis. The rest is omitted and won’t be available for further investigation. Currently, Optimize imports:
    • the history of the activity instances
    • the history of the process instances
    • the history of variables with the limitation that Optimize only imports primitive types and keeps only the latest version of the variable
    • the history of user tasks belonging to process instances
    • process definitions
    • process definition xmls
    • decision definitions
    • historic decision instances with input and output
    • tenants
    • the historic identity link logs

If you are interested in the performance of the import, have a look at the next section. How the import works in detail, is described in detail in the designated section Import Procedure.

Import performance overview

This section gives an overview of how fast Optimize imports certain data sets to get a feeling of the import speed of Optimize and if it meets certain demands.

It is very likely that this changes on different data sets, e.g. the speed of the import depends on how the data is distributed. Also how all involved components are set up has an impact on the import. For instance, if you deploy the Camunda Platform on a different machine than Optimize and Elasticsearch to provide both applications with more computation resources the process is likely to speed up or if the Camunda Platform and Optimize are physically far away from each other, the network latency might slow down the import.


The following components were used within the import:

Component Version
Camunda Platform 7.10.3
Camunda Platform Database PostgreSQL 11.1
Elasticsearch 6.5.4
Optimize 2.4.0

The Optimize configuration with the default settings was used, as described in detail in the configuration overview.

The following hardware specifications were used for each dedicated host

  • Elasticsearch:
  • Processor: 8 vCPUs*
  • Working Memory: 8 GB
  • Storage: local 120GB SSD
  • Camunda Platform:
  • Processor: 4 vCPUs*
  • Working Memory: 4 GB
  • Camunda Platform Database (PostgreSQL):
  • Processor: 8 vCPUs*
  • Working Memory: 2 GB
  • Storage: local 480GB SSD
  • Optimize:
  • Processor: 4 vCPUs*
  • Working Memory: 8 GB

*one vCPU equals one single hardware hyper-thread on an Intel Xeon E5 v2 CPU (Ivy Bridge) with a base frequency of 2.5 GHz

The time was measured from the start of Optimize until the whole import of the data to Optimize was finished.

Large size data set

This data set contains the following amount of instances:

Number of Process Definitions Number of Activity Instances Number of Process Instances Number of Variable Instances Number of Decision Definitions Number of Decision Instances
21 123 162 903 10 000 000 119 849 175 4 2 500 006

Here you can see how the data is distributed over the different process definitions:


  • Duration of importing the whole data set: ~120 minutes
  • Speed of the import: ~1400 process instances per second during the import process

Medium size data set

This data set contains the following amount of instances:

Number of Process Definitions Number of Activity Instances Number of Process Instances Number of Variable Instances
20 21 932 786 2 000 000 6 913 889

Here you can see how the data is distributed over the different process definitions:


  • Duration of importing the whole data set: ~ 10 minutes
  • Speed of the import: ~1500 process instances per second during the import process

Import procedure

Heads Up!

Understanding the details of the import procedure is not necessary to make Optimize work. In addition, there is no guarantee that the following description is either complete or up-to-date.

The following image illustrates the components involved in the import process as well as basic interactions between them:

During execution, the following steps are performed:

  1. Start an import round
  2. Prepare the import
  • 2.1 Poll a new page
  • 2.2 Map entities and add an import job
  1. Execute the import
  • 3.1 Poll a job
  • 3.2 Persist the new entities to Elasticsearch

Start an import round

The import process is automatically scheduled in rounds by the Import Scheduler after startup of Optimize. In each import round, multiple Import Services are scheduled to run, each fetches data of one specific entity type. As an example one service is responsible for importing the historic activity instances and another one for the process definitions.

For each service, it is checked if new data was available. Once all entities for one import service have been imported, the service starts to backoff. To be more precise, before it can be scheduled again it stays idle for a certain period of time, controlled by the “backoff” interval and a “backoff” counter. After the idle time has passed , the service can perform another try to import new data. Each round in which no new data could be imported, the counter is incremented. Thus, the backoff counter will act as a multiplier for the backoff time and increase the time to be idle between two import rounds. This mechanism is configurable using the following properties:

      # Interval which is used for the backoff time calculation.
      interval: 1000
      # Once all pages are consumed, the import service component will
      # start scheduling fetching tasks in increasing periods of time,
      # controlled by "backoff" counter.
      max: 30

If you would like to rapidly update data imported into Optimize, you have to reduce this value. However, this will cause additional strain on the engine and might influence the performance of the engine if you set the value to low.

Prepare the import

The preparation of the import is executed by the ImportService. Thereby, every ImportService implementation performs several steps:

Poll a new page

The whole polling/preparation workflow of the engine data is done in pages, meaning only a limited amount of entities is fetched on each execution. For example, we could assume that the engine has 1000 historic activity instances (HAI) and the page size is 100. As a consequence, the engine is polled 10 times. This prevents running out of memory and overloading the network.

Polling a new page does not only consist of the ImportService, but the IndexHandler and the EntityFetcher are also involved. The following image depicts how those components are connected with each other:

First, the ImportScheduler retrieves the newest index, which identifies the last imported page. This index is passed to the ImportService to order it to import a new page of data. With the index and the page size, the fetching of the engine data is delegated to the EntityFetcher.

Map entities and add an import job

All fetched entities are mapped to a representation that allows Optimize to query the data very quickly. Subsequently, an import job is created and added to the queue to persist the data in Elasticsearch.

Execute the import

Full aggregation of the data is performed by dedicated ImportJobExecutor per entity type, which waits for ImportJob instances to be added to the execution queue. As soon as a job is in the queue, the executor

  • polls the job with the new Optimize entities
  • persists the new entities to Elasticsearch.

The data from the engine and Optimize do not have a one-to-one relationship, i.e., one entity type in Optimize may consist of data aggregated from different data types of the engine. For example, the historic process instance is first mapped to an Optimize ProcessInstance. However, for the heatmap analysis it is also necessary for ProcessInstance to contain all activities that were executed in the process instance. Therefore, the Optimize ProcessInstance is an aggregation of the engine’s historic process instance and its historic activity instances (and more, but we leave that here aside for the sake of simplicity).

Also note that the import executions per engine entity are actually independent from another. Each follow a producer-consumer-pattern, where the type specific ImportService is the single producer and a dedicated single ImportJobExecutor is the consumer of it’s import jobs, decoupled by a queue. So, both are executed in different threads. To adjust the processing speed of the executor, the queue size and the number of threads that process the import jobs can be configured:

  # Number of threads being used to process the import jobs per data type that are writing data to elasticsearch.
  elasticsearchJobExecutorThreadCount: 1
  # Adjust the queue size of the import jobs per data type that store data to elasticsearch.
  # A too large value might cause memory problems.
  elasticsearchJobExecutorQueueSize: 5

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