Query Federation Comes to Looker 5 with New Data Merge Feature

Mark Rittman

While we’re on the topic of new software releases that I’ve been using both a t work and on my home projects, Looker’s new 5.2 release comes with a number of new features including a new landing page for users that highlights recent and popular content within their space, and the first iteration of a new “Data Merge” feature that gives users the ability to combine results from two or more explores into a single report.

Data Merging is an experimental “labs” feature right now that has to be enabled by an instance administrator and is limited to just merging on-the-fly the results of sets of queries, but even at this point it’s a pretty cool feature.

Merging the post-aggregation results coming out of your reports neatly avoids the problem of how to sort-merge billions of rows coming from the big data-scale data sources you typically use with Looker, and gives LookML developers the option to create multiple explores for their end users rather than trying to model one big explore containing all the views a user might want.

Longer-term though and most probably when we see the feature coming out of beta I’d expect data merging to be something LookML developers can do directly within a model, giving Looker the beginnings of a federated query capability that you can use with new-world analytic databases like BigQuery.