Bigstream Benchmark Report

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Bigstream Benchmark Report

Apache Spark – June 2017


For this month, Bigstream is publishing recent results from running the TPC-DS benchmark against the baseline open source Apache Spark v2.1.1 versus Spark v2.1.1 with Bigstream Hyper-acceleration.  The results show a nearly 300% performance improvement over baseline Apache Spark running on identical hardware.

Here is a summary of this month’s results running Apache Spark with the Bigstream Hyper-acceleration Layer on Amazon EMR versus unaccelerated Apache Spark on the same configuration:


The TPC-DS benchmark is composed of a series of decision support queries and is commonly used by Big Data companies (Databricks, MapR, Cloudera, etc.) to measure performance.

Details of the results are below, but the figures above show a 2.89X and 2.47X speedup for csv and Avro data respectively. Top acceleration factors for individual queries were 3.86X acceleration of TPC-DS Query 9 for csv data, and 3.11X acceleration of Query 27 for Avro data. Future results will reflect Parquet and JSON data types.

Given these results, very rough arithmetic shows a monthly savings of 54% on Amazon EC2/EMR given the 2.89X average acceleration and 46% given the 2.47X speedup.

Detailed Results

This month, the Bigstream team ran the TPC-DS benchmarks using both CSV and Avro data on Amazon EMR cluster of four M4.4XL instances.  Here is a graph of the results.

As you can see by the graph, speedups versus standard Apache Spark range from a little below 2X to nearly 4x.  Here is a quick drill down into some of the better results:

Bigstream TPC-DS Query
Results (csv)

Bigstream TPC-DS
Query Results (Avro)

Average Speedup

2.89X Average Speedup 2.47X
Maximum Speedup 3.86X Q9 Maximum Speedup 3.11X Q27
Top Performing 3.86X Q9 Top Performing 3.11X Q27
3.65X Q82 3.06X Q7
3.57X Q96 2.96X Q55
3.55X Q73 2.96X Q42
3.49X Q34 2.95X Q26
3.46X Q55 2.95X Q6
3.44X Q37 2.93X Q9
3.40X Q31 2.91X Q71
3.37X Q71 2.80X Q52
3.36X Q3 2.80X Q96


Average Cost Savings

Monthly Cost Savings
TPC-DS Results – May 2017

Average Speedup (csv) 2.89X
Average monthly savings* 54%
Top monthly savings (csv) P2.16xlarge






Average Acceleration (Avro)

Average monthly savings 46%
Top monthly savings (Avro) P2.16xlarge






*Based on an Amazon EC2/EMR 10-node cluster, on demand instances. Details below

An average speedup of 2.89X for csv data yields an average TCO savings of 54% for on demand instances, and 48% for reserved instances. The following instance types showed 60% or better TCO savings:

hi1.4xlarge, hs1.8xlarge, i2.xlarge, i2.2xlarge, i2.4xlarge, i2.8xlarge, d2.xlarge, d2.2xlarge, d2.4xlarge, d2.8xlarge, cg1.4xlarge, P2.xlarge, p2.8xlarge, P2.16xlarge, c1.xlarge

See a description of Amazon EC2 instance types here.

As a point of reference, for a 10 node cluster using this range of instances, the average monthly savings would be between $2764 (c1.xlarge) – $65,089 (P2.16xlarge)!

Of course, cost reduction/avoidance is not the only reason people like performance. The key benefits our customer are looking for also include faster time to insight, reducing latencies for interactive or real-time applications, reducing burdensome batch processing windows, and gaining the ability to do more sophisticated computations, data science models and advanced analytics.

CSV versus Avro Data Parsing

The average speed for csv is about 25% faster than for Avro. This is most likely a reflection of how Spark handles csv parsing. Besides working on accelerating Spark SQL/Dataframes, the Bigstream development team has focused a lot on document parsing of csv, Avro, JSON and Parquet data, as well as compression and decompression.

Testing Environment

The current results were achieved on a 4 node Amazon EMR cluster using m4.4XL instances. To refresh your memory, the M4.4XL instances feature 16 vCPUs running on 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon® E5-2686 v4 (Broadwell) processors or 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon® E5-2676 v3 (Haswell) processors), and 64 GB of memory.  The baseline open source Apache Spark v2.1.1 is downloaded and built from the Apache Spark website.

Cost Savings Calculation

Amazon AWS/EMR cost savings are based on current pricing from the Amazon site and a fairly simple TCO model we have developed that looks like this:

SP =  (BX* (EC2 + EMR)) – (EC2 + EMR +BP)   /   (BX * (EC2+EMR))

Monthly savings =  SP * (EC2 + EMR) * 24 hours * 30 days

BX = Bigstream speedup factor, EC2 = hourly per instance pricing, EMR = hourly per node pricing, BP = Bigstream pricing, SP = savings percentage

Disclaimer and Next Steps

Chances are, if you are using Spark SQL/Dataframes, and ingesting and processing JSON, CSV, Parquet or Avro data from S3, HDFS, or Kafka. You are going to see significant performance gains with Bigstream.

Benchmark results are performed for the purposes of assessing how Bigstream hyper-accelerates Apache Spark and to help us test our product.  The results are useful in understanding and assessing how our product is performing on a wide array of decision support tasks. But hyper-acceleration will bring
different benefits to different environments and application architectures.  Luckily, it is fairly easy to test Bigstream in your environment – especially if you are using Amazon AWS.

Cost savings are extrapolated from a 4 node EMR cluster benchmarking run.  These calculations are meant to give you a rough estimate, clearly your mileage may vary.  Also, you may realize cost savings by electing to use accelerated performance to reduce the number of servers in your configuration,
thereby reducing capital or cloud expenses. To get optimal performance, we can work with your team to get more precise performance and savings numbers for your environment.


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