Skyhook: Bringing Computation to Storage with Apache Arrow

On October 22, 2021, three reviewers formally approved the merge of the CROSS project SkyhoodDM into the Apache Arrow mainline. SkyhookDM will be part of the Arrow 7.0.0 release.

January 31, 2022

By Jayjeet Chakraborty 


CPUs, memory, storage, and network bandwidth get better every year, but increasingly, they’re improving in different dimensions. Processors are faster, but their memory bandwidth hasn’t kept up; meanwhile, cloud computing has led to storage being separated from applications across a network link. This divergent evolution means we need to rethink where and when we perform computation to best make use of the resources available to us.

For example, when querying a dataset on a storage system like Ceph or Amazon S3, all the work of filtering data gets done by the client. Data has to be transferred over the network, and then the client has to spend precious CPU cycles decoding it, only to throw it away in the end due to a filter. While formats like Apache Parquet enable some optimizations, fundamentally, the responsibility is all on the client. Meanwhile, even though the storage system has its own compute capabilities, it’s relegated to just serving “dumb bytes”.

Thanks to the CROSS at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Apache Arrow 7.0.0 includes Skyhook, an Arrow Datasets extension that solves this problem by using the storage layer to reduce client resource utilization. A blog posting for the Apache Arrow website examine the developments surrounding Skyhook as well as how Skyhook works.

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