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File compression brings two major benefits: it reduces the space needed to store files, and it speeds up data transfer across the network or to or from disk. When dealing with large volumes of data, both of these savings can be significant, so it pays to carefully consider how to use compression in Hadoop.
If the input file is compressed, then the bytes read in from HDFS is reduced, which means less time to read data. This time conservation is beneficial to the performance of job execution.
If the input files are compressed, they will be decompressed automatically as they are read by MapReduce, using the filename extension to determine which codec to use. For example, a file ending in .gz can be identified as gzip-compressed file and thus read with GzipCodec.
Often we need to store the output as history files. If the amount of output per day is extensive, and we often need to store history results for future use, then these accumulated results will take extensive amount of HDFS space. However, these history files may not be used very frequently, resulting in a waste of HDFS space. Therefore, it is necessary to compress the output before storing on HDFS.
Even if your MapReduce application reads and writes uncompressed data, it may benefit from compressing the intermediate output of the map phase. Since the map output is written to disk and transferred across the network to the reducer nodes, by using a fast compressor such as LZO or Snappy, you can get performance gains simply because the volume of data to transfer is reduced.
There are many different compression formats, tools, and algorithms, each with different characteristics. All compression algorithms exhibit a pace/time trade-off: faster compression and decompression speeds usually come at the expense of smaller space savings.
How much the size of your data decreases will depend on the chosen compression algorithm. If query performance is your top priority, compression may or may not make sense as the compression overhead can outweigh the benefits of reduced I/O. We recommend that you validate the impact of the various compression algorithms on your data before you decide whether to compress or not.
A codec, which is a shortened form of compressor/decompressor, is technology (software or hardware, or both) for compressing and decompressing data; it’s the implementation of a compression/decompression algorithm. You need to know that some codecs support something called splittable compression and that codecs differ in both the speed with which they can compress and decompress data and the degree to which they can compress it.
Splittable compression is an important concept in a Hadoop context. The way Hadoop works is that files are split if they’re larger than the file’s block size setting, and individual file splits can be processed in parallel by different mappers.
With most codecs, text file splits cannot be decompressed independently of other splits from the same file, so those codecs are said to be non-splittable, so MapReduce processing is limited to a single mapper. Because the file can be decompressed only as a whole, and not as individual parts based on splits, there can be no parallel processing of such a file, and performance might take a huge hit as a job waits for a single mapper to process multiple data blocks that can’t be decompressed independently.
|Codec||File Extension||Splittable?||Degree of Compression||Compression Speed|
|LZO||.lzo||No, unless indexed||Medium||Fast|