Hopsworks Research Paper

Size Matters: Improving the Performance of Small Files in Hadoop


Salman Niazi, Seif Haridi, Mikael Ronström, Jim Dowling


The Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) is designed to handle massive amounts of data, preferably stored in very large files. The poor performance of HDFS in managing small files has long been a bane of the Hadoop community. In many production deployments of HDFS, almost 25% of the files are less than 16 KB in size and as much as 42% of all the file system operations are performed on these small files. We have designed an adaptive tiered storage using inmemory and on-disk tables stored in a high-performance distributed database to efficiently store and improve the performance of the small files in HDFS. Our solution is completely transparent, and it does not require any changes in the HDFS clients or the applications using the Hadoop platform. In experiments, we observed up to 61 times higher throughput in writing files, and for real-world workloads from Spotify our solution reduces the latency of reading and writing small files by a factor of 3.15 and 7.39 respectively.

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