Data Engineering Podcast

This show goes behind the scenes for the tools, techniques, and difficulties associated with the discipline of data engineering. Databases, workflows, automation, and data manipulation are just some of the topics that you will find here.

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22 November 2017

Data Serialization Formats with Doug Cutting and Julien Le Dem - Episode 8 - E8

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With the wealth of formats for sending and storing data it can be difficult to determine which one to use. In this episode Doug Cutting, creator of Avro, and Julien Le Dem, creator of Parquet, dig into the different classes of serialization formats, what their strengths are, and how to choose one for your workload. They also discuss the role of Arrow as a mechanism for in-memory data sharing and how hardware evolution will influence the state of the art for data formats.


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  • This is your host Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Julien Le Dem and Doug Cutting about data serialization formats and how to pick the right one for your systems.


  • Introduction
  • How did you first get involved in the area of data management?
  • What are the main serialization formats used for data storage and analysis?
  • What are the tradeoffs that are offered by the different formats?
  • How have the different storage and analysis tools influenced the types of storage formats that are available?
  • You’ve each developed a new on-disk data format, Avro and Parquet respectively. What were your motivations for investing that time and effort?
  • Why is it important for data engineers to carefully consider the format in which they transfer their data between systems?
    • What are the switching costs involved in moving from one format to another after you have started using it in a production system?
  • What are some of the new or upcoming formats that you are each excited about?
  • How do you anticipate the evolving hardware, patterns, and tools for processing data to influence the types of storage formats that maintain or grow their popularity?

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The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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