Bucketing is a partitioning technique that can improve performance in certain data transformations by avoiding data shuffling and sorting. The general idea of bucketing is to partition, and optionally sort, the data based on a subset of columns while it is written out (a one-time cost), while making successive reads of the data more performant for downstream jobs if the SQL operators can make use of this property. Bucketing can enable faster joins (i.e. single stage sort merge join), the ability to short circuit in FILTER operation if the file is pre-sorted over the column in a filter predicate, and it supports quick data sampling.
In this session, you’ll learn how bucketing is implemented in both Hive and Spark. In particular, Patil will describe the changes in the Catalyst optimizer that enable these optimizations in Spark for various bucketing scenarios. Facebook’s performance tests have shown bucketing to improve Spark performance from 3-5x faster when the optimization is enabled. Many tables at Facebook are sorted and bucketed, and migrating these workloads to Spark have resulted in a 2-3x savings when compared to Hive. You’ll also hear about real-world applications of bucketing, like loading of cumulative tables with daily delta, and the characteristics that can help identify suitable candidate jobs that can benefit from bucketing.