Skip to main content
Version: Current

File Sizing

This doc will show you how Apache Hudi overcomes the dreaded small files problem. A key design decision in Hudi was to avoid creating small files in the first place and always write properly sized files. There are 2 ways to manage small files in Hudi and below will describe the advantages and trade-offs of each.

Auto-Size During ingestion

You can automatically manage size of files during ingestion. This solution adds a little latency during ingestion, but it ensures that read queries are always efficient as soon as a write is committed. If you don't manage file sizing as you write and instead try to periodically run a file-sizing clean-up, your queries will be slow until that resize cleanup is periodically performed.

(Note: bulk_insert write operation does not provide auto-sizing during ingestion)

For Copy-On-Write

This is as simple as configuring the maximum size for a base/parquet file and the soft limit below which a file should be considered a small file. For the initial bootstrap of a Hudi table, tuning record size estimate is also important to ensure sufficient records are bin-packed in a parquet file. For subsequent writes, Hudi automatically uses average record size based on previous commit. Hudi will try to add enough records to a small file at write time to get it to the configured maximum limit. For e.g , with compactionSmallFileSize=100MB and limitFileSize=120MB, Hudi will pick all files < 100MB and try to get them upto 120MB.

For Merge-On-Read

MergeOnRead works differently for different INDEX choices so there are few more configs to set:

  • Indexes with canIndexLogFiles = true : Inserts of new data go directly to log files. In this case, you can configure the maximum log size and a factor that denotes reduction in size when data moves from avro to parquet files.
  • Indexes with canIndexLogFiles = false : Inserts of new data go only to parquet files. In this case, the same configurations as above for the COPY_ON_WRITE case applies.

NOTE : In either case, small files will be auto sized only if there is no PENDING compaction or associated log file for that particular file slice. For example, for case 1: If you had a log file and a compaction C1 was scheduled to convert that log file to parquet, no more inserts can go into that log file. For case 2: If you had a parquet file and an update ended up creating an associated delta log file, no more inserts can go into that parquet file. Only after the compaction has been performed and there are NO log files associated with the base parquet file, can new inserts be sent to auto size that parquet file.

Auto-Size With Clustering

Clustering is a feature in Hudi to group small files into larger ones either synchronously or asynchronously. Since first solution of auto-sizing small files has a tradeoff on ingestion speed (since the small files are sized during ingestion), if your use-case is very sensitive to ingestion latency where you don't want to compromise on ingestion speed which may end up creating a lot of small files, clustering comes to the rescue. Clustering can be scheduled through the ingestion job and an asynchronus job can stitch small files together in the background to generate larger files. NOTE that during this, ingestion can continue to run concurrently.

Please note that Hudi always creates immutable files on disk. To be able to do auto-sizing or clustering, Hudi will always create a newer version of the smaller file, resulting in 2 versions of the same file. The cleaner service will later kick in and delete the older version small file and keep the latest one.