Distributed processing of a data collection includes receiving information for configuring a distributed processing system. A first configuration of components is formed including sources (110) of data elements and workers (240) configured to process data elements, distributed among computing resources (190-194). Each data element includes a partition value that identifies a subset of the workers according to a partition rule. Data elements are accepted from the sources for a first part of the data collection in a first processing epoch and the data elements are routed through the first configuration. After accepting a first part of the data collection, change of configuration is initiated to a second configuration. A succession of two or more transitions between configurations of components is performed to a succession of modified configurations, a last of which corresponds to the second configuration. Further data elements are accepted from sources of the second configuration in a second processing epoch.