Ballista: A Distributed Scheduler for Apache Arrow
12 Apr 2021
By Andy Grove (agrove)
We are excited to announce that Ballista has been donated to the Apache Arrow project.
Ballista is a distributed compute platform primarily implemented in Rust, and powered by Apache Arrow. It is built on an architecture that allows other programming languages (such as Python, C++, and Java) to be supported as first-class citizens without paying a penalty for serialization costs.
The foundational technologies in Ballista are:
- Apache Arrow memory model and compute kernels for efficient processing of data.
- Apache Arrow DataFusion query planning and execution framework, extended by Ballista to provide distributed planning and execution.
- Apache Arrow Flight Protocol for efficient data transfer between processes.
- Google Protocol Buffers for serializing query plans.
- Docker for packaging up executors along with user-defined code.
Ballista can be deployed as a standalone cluster and also supports Kubernetes. In either case, the scheduler can be configured to use etcd as a backing store to (eventually) provide redundancy in the case of a scheduler failing.
The Ballista project is at an early stage of development. However, it is capable of running complex analytics queries in a distributed cluster with reasonable performance (comparable to more established distributed query frameworks).
One of the benefits of Ballista being part of the Arrow codebase is that there is now an opportunity to push parts of the scheduler down to DataFusion so that is possible to seamlessly scale across cores in DataFusion, and across nodes in Ballista, using the same unified query scheduler.
If you are excited about being able to use Rust for distributed compute and ETL and would like to contribute to this work then there are many ways to get involved. The simplest way to get started is to try out Ballista against your own datasets and file bug reports for any issues that you find. You could also check out the current list of issues and have a go at fixing one.
The Arrow Rust Community section of the Rust README provides information on other ways to interact with the Ballista contributors and maintainers.