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Advanced Data Validation Options and Best Practices#

The introduction to data vaildation guide can be found here. The notebook example to get started with Data Validation in Hopsworks can be found here.

Data Validation Configuration Options in Hopsworks#

Validation Ingestion Policy#

Depending on your use case you can setup data validation as a monitoring or gatekeeping tool when trying to insert new data in your Feature Group. Switch behaviour by using the validation_ingestion_policy kwarg:

  • "ALWAYS" is the default option and will attempt to insert the data regardless of the validation result. Hassle free, it is ideal to monitor data ingestion in a development setup.
  • "STRICT" is the best option for production ready projects. This will prevent insertion of DataFrames which do not pass all data quality requirements. Ideal to avoid "garbage-in, garbage-out" scenarios, at the price of a potential loss of data. Check out the best practice section for more on that.

In the UI#

Go to the Feature Group edit page, in the Expectation section you can choose between the options above.

In the python client#

fg.expectation_suite.validation_ingestion_policy = "ALWAYS" # "STRICT"

If your suite is registered with Hopsworks, it will persist the change to the server.

Disable Data Validation#

Should you wish to do so, you can disable data validation on a punctual basis or until further notice.

In the UI#

You can do it in the UI in the Expectation section of the Feature Group edit page. Simply tick or untick the enabled checkbox. This will be used as the default option but can be overriden via the API.

In the python client#

To disable data validation until further notice in the API, you can update the run_validation field of the expectation suite. If your suite is registered with Hopsworks, this will persist the change to the server.

fg.expectation_suite.run_validation = False

If you wish to override the default behaviour of the suite when inserting data in the Feature Group, you can do so via the validate_options kwarg. The example below will enable validation for this insertion only.

fg.insert(df_to_validate, validation_options={"run_validation" : True})

We recommend to avoid using this option in scheduled job as it silently changes the expected behaviour that is displayed in the UI and prevents changes to the default behaviour to change the behaviour of the job.

Edit Expectations#

The one constant in life is change. If you need to add, remove or edit an expectation you can do it both in the UI or via the python client. Note that changing the expectation type or its corresponding feature will throw an error in order to preserve a meaningful validation history.

In Hopworks UI#

Go to the Feature Group edit page, in the expectation section. You can click on the expectation you want to edit and edit the json configuration. Check out Great Expectations documentation if you need more information on a particular expectation.

In Hopsworks Python Client#

There are several way to edit an Expectation in the python client. You can use Great Expectations API or directly go through Hopsworks. In the latter case, if you want to edit or remove an expectation, you will need the Hopsworks expectation ID. It can be found in the UI or in the meta field of an expectation. Note that you must have inserted data in the FG and attached the expectation suite to enable the Expectation API.

Get an expectation with a given id:

my_expectation = fg.expectation_suite.get_expectation(
    expectation_id = my_expectation_id

Add a new expectation:

new_expectation = ge.core.ExpectationConfiguration(
        "mostly": 1


Edit expectation kwargs of an existing expectation :

existing_expectation = fg.expectation_suite.get_expectation(

existing_expectation.kwargs["mostly"] = 0.95


Remove an expectation:


If you want to deal only with the Great Expectation API:

my_suite = fg.get_expectation_suite()



Save Validation Reports#

When running validation using Great Expectations, a validation report is generated containing all validation results for the different expectations. Each result provides information about whether the provided DataFrame conforms to the corresponding expectation. These reports can be stored in Hopsworks to save a validation history for the data written to a particular Feature Group.

The boilerplate of uploading report on insertion is taken care of by hopsworks, however for custom pipelines we provide an alternative method in the python client. The UI does not currently support upload of a validation report.

In Hopsworks Python Client#


Monitor and Fetch Validation Reports#

A summary of uploaded reports will then be available via an API call or in the Hopsworks UI enabling easy monitoring. For in-depth analysis, it is possible to download the complete report from the UI.

In Hopsworks UI#

Open the Feature Group overview page and go to the Expectations section. One tab allows you to check the report history with general information, while the other tab allows you to explore a summary of the result for individual expectations.

In Hopsworks Python Client#

# convenience method for rapid development
ge_latest_report = fg.get_latest_validation_report()
# fetching the latest summary prints a link to the UI
# where you can download full report if summary is insufficient

# or load multiple reports
validation_history = fg.get_validation_reports()

Validate your data manually#

While Hopsworks provides automatic validation on insertion logic, we recognise that some use cases may require a more fine-grained control over the validation process. Therefore, Feature Group objects offers a convenience wrapper around Great Expectations to manually trigger validation using the registered Expectation Suite.

In the UI#

You can validate data already ingested in the Feature Group by going to the Feature Group overview page. In the top right corner is a button to trigger a validation. The button will lauch a job which will read the Feature Group data, run validation and persist the associated report.

In the python client#

ge_report = fg.validate(df, ingestion_result="EXPERIMENT")

# set the save_report parameter to False to skip uploading the report to Hopsworks
# ge_report = fg.validate(df, save_report=False)

If you want to apply validation to the data already in the Feature Group you can call the .validate without providing data. It will read the data in the Feature Group.

report = fg.validate()

As validation objects returned by Hopsworks are native Great Expectation objects you can run validation using the usual Great Expectations syntax:

ge_df = ge.from_pandas(df, expectation_suite=fg.get_expectation_suite())
ge_report = ge_df.validate()

Note that you should always use an expectation suite that has been saved to Hopsworks if you intend to upload the associated validation report.

Best Practices#

Below is a set of recommendations and code snippets to help our users follow best practices when it comes to integrating a data validation step in your feature engineering pipelines. Rather than being prescriptive, we want to showcase how the API and configuration options can help adapt validation to your use-case.


Data validation is generally considered to be a production-only feature and as such is often only setup once a project has reached the end of the development phase. At Hopsworks, we think there is a lot of value in setting up validation during early development. That's why we made it quick to get started and ensured that by default data validation is never an obstacle to inserting data.

Validate Early#

As often with data validation, the best piece of advice is to set it up early in your development process. Use this phase to build a history you can then use when it becomes time to set quality requirements for a project in production. We made a code snippet to help you get started quickly:

# Load sample data. Replace it with your own!
my_data_df = pd.read_csv("")

# Use Great Expectation profiler (ignore deprecation warning)
expectation_suite_profiled, validation_report = ge.from_pandas(my_data_df).profile(profiler=ge.profile.BasicSuiteBuilderProfiler)

# Create a Feature Group on hopsworks with an expectation suite attached. Don't forget to change the primary key!
my_validated_data_fg = fs.get_or_create_feature_group(
    description="My data",

Any data you insert in the Feature Group from now will be validated and a report will be uploaded to Hopsworks.

# Insert and validate your data
insert_job, validation_report = my_validated_data_fg.insert(my_data_df)

Great Expectations profiler can inspect your data to build a standard Expectation Suite. You can attach this Expectation Suite directly when creating your Feature Group to make sure every piece of data finding its way in Hopsworks gets validated. Hopsworks will default to its "ALWAYS" ingestion policy, meaning data are ingested whether validation succeeds or not. This way data validation is not a barrier, just a monitoring tool.

Identify Unreliable Features#

Once you setup data validation, every insertion will upload a validation report to Hopsworks. Identifying Features which often have null values or wild statistical variations can help detecting unreliable Features that need refinements or should be avoided. Here are a few expectations you might find useful:

  • expect_column_values_to_not_be_null
  • expect_column_(min/max/mean/stdev)_to_be_between
  • expect_column_values_to_be_unique

Get the stakeholders involved#

Hopsworks UI helps involve every project stakeholder by enabling both setting and monitoring of data quality requirements. No coding skills needed! You can monitor data quality requirements by checkint out the validation reports and results on the Feature Group page.

If you need to set or edit the existing requirements, you can go on the Feature Group edit page. The Expectation suite section allows you to edit individual expectations and set success parameters that match ever changing business requirements.


Models in production require high-quality data to make accurate predictions for your customers. Hopsworks can use your Expectation Suite as a gatekeeper to make it simple to prevent low-quality data to make its way into production. Below are some simple tips and snippets to make the most of your data validation when your project is ready to enter its production phase.

Be Strict in Production#

Whether you use an existing or create a new (recommended) Feature Group for production, we recommend you set the validation ingestion policy of your Expectation Suite to "STRICT".


In this setup, Hopsworks will abort inserting a DataFrame that does not successfully fullfill all expectations in the attached Expectation Suite. This ensures data quality standards are upheld for every insertion and provide downstream users with strong guarantees.

Avoid Data Loss on materialization jobs#

Aborting insertions of DataFrames which do not satisfy the data quality standards can lead to data loss in your materialization job. To avoid such loss we recommend creating a duplicate Feature Group with the same Expectation Suite in "ALWAYS" mode which will hold the rejected data.

job, report = fg_prod.insert(df)

if report["success"] is False:
    job, report = fg_rejected.insert(df)

Take Advantage of the Validation History#

You can easily retrieve the validation history of a specific expectation to export it to your favourite visualisation tool. You can filter on time and on whether insertion was successful or not

validation_history = fg.get_validation_history(
    filters=["REJECTED", "UNKNOWN"],

timeseries = pd.DataFrame(
        "observed_value": [res.result["observed_value"] for res in validation_histoy]],
        "validation_time": [res.validation_time for res in validation_history]

# export to your preferred Dashboard

Setup Alerts#

While checking your feature engineering pipeline executed properly in the morning can be good enough in the development phase, it won't make the cut for demanding production use-cases. In Hopsworks, you can setup alerts if ingestion fails or succeeds.

First you will need to configure your preferred communication endpoint: slack, email or pagerduty. Check out this page for more information on how to set it up. A typical use-case would be to add an alert on ingestion success to a Feature Group you created to hold data that failed validation. Here is a quick walkthrough:

  1. Go the Feature Group page in the UI
  2. Scroll down and click on the Add an alert button.
  3. Choose the trigger, receiver and severity and click save.


Hopsworks completes Great Expectation by automatically running the validation, persisting the reports along your data and allowing you to monitor data quality in its UI. How you decide to make use of these tools depends on your application and requirements. Whether in development or in production, real-time or batch, we think there is configuration that will work for your team. Check out our quick hands-on tutorial to start applying what you learned so far.