Making Sense of Performance in Data Analytics Frameworks

There has been much research devoted to improving the performance of data analytics frameworks, but comparatively little effort has been spent systematically identifying the performance bottlenecks of these systems. In this paper, we develop blocked time analysis, a methodology for quantifying performance bottlenecks in distributed computation frameworks, and use it to analyze the Spark framework’s performance on two SQL benchmarks and a production workload. Contrary to our expectations, we find that (i) CPU (and not I/O) is often the bottleneck, (ii) improving network performance can improve job completion time by a median of at most 2%, and (iii) the causes of most stragglers can be identified.

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