Apache Spark

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Apache Spark
Spark Logo
Developer(s) Apache Software Foundation, UC Berkeley AMPLab, Databricks
Initial release May 30, 2014; 17 months ago (2014-05-30)
Stable release v1.5.2 / November 9, 2015; 21 days ago (2015-11-09)
Development status Active
Written in Scala, Java, Python, R
Operating system Linux, Mac OS, Windows
Type data analytics, machine learning algorithms
License Apache License 2.0
Website spark.apache.org

Apache Spark is an open source cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at University of California, Berkeley but was later donated to the Apache Software Foundation where it remains today. In contrast to Hadoop's two-stage disk-based MapReduce paradigm, Spark's multi-stage in-memory primitives provides performance up to 100 times faster for certain applications.[1] By allowing user programs to load data into a cluster's memory and query it repeatedly, Spark is well-suited to machine learning algorithms.[2]

Spark requires a cluster manager and a distributed storage system. For cluster management, Spark supports standalone (native Spark cluster), Hadoop YARN, or Apache Mesos.[3] For distributed storage, Spark can interface with a wide variety, including Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS),[4] Cassandra,[5] OpenStack Swift, Amazon S3, Kudu, or a custom solution can be implemented. Spark also supports a pseudo-distributed local mode, usually used only for development or testing purposes, where distributed storage is not required and the local file system can be used instead; in such a scenario, Spark is run on a single machine with one executor per CPU core.

Spark had in excess of 465 contributors in 2014,[6] making it not only the most active project in the Apache Software Foundation[citation needed] but one of the most active open source big data projects.[citation needed]


Spark was initially started by Matei Zaharia at UC Berkeley AMPLab in 2009, and open sourced in 2010 under a BSD license.

In 2013, the project was donated to the Apache Software Foundation and switched its license to Apache 2.0. In February 2014, Spark became a Top-Level Apache Project.[7]

In November 2014, the engineering team at Databricks used Spark and set a new world record in large scale sorting.[8]

Version Original release date Latest version Release date Status
Old version, no longer supported: 0.5 2012-06-12 0.5.1 2012-10-07 No longer supported
Old version, no longer supported: 0.6 2012-10-14 0.6.1 2012-11-16 No longer supported
Old version, no longer supported: 0.7 2013-02-27 0.7.3 2013-07-16 No longer supported
Old version, no longer supported: 0.8 2013-09-25 0.8.1 2013-12-19 No longer supported
Old version, no longer supported: 0.9 2014-02-02 0.9.2 2014-07-23 No longer supported
Old version, no longer supported: 1.0 2014-05-30 1.0.2 2014-08-05 No longer supported
Old version, no longer supported: 1.1 2014-09-11 1.1.1 2014-11-26 No longer supported
Old version, no longer supported: 1.2 2014-12-18 1.2.2 2015-04-17 No longer supported
Old version, no longer supported: 1.3 2015-03-13 1.3.1 2015-04-17 No longer supported
Old version, no longer supported: 1.4 2015-06-11 1.4.1 2015-07-15 No longer supported
Current stable version: 1.5 2015-09-09 1.5.2 2015-11-09 Latest
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

Project components[edit]

The Spark project consists of multiple components.

Spark Core and Resilient Distributed Datasets[edit]

Spark Core is the foundation of the overall project. It provides distributed task dispatching, scheduling, and basic I/O functionalities. The fundamental programming abstraction is called Resilient Distributed Datasets (RDDs), a logical collection of data partitioned across machines. RDDs can be created by referencing datasets in external storage systems, or by applying coarse-grained transformations (e.g. map, filter, reduce, join) on existing RDDs.

An RDD is a collection of items distributed across many nodes that can be manipulated in parallel. Spark Core provides many APIs for building and manipulating these collections. An RDD in Spark is simply an immutable distributed collection of objects. Each RDD is split into multiple partitions, which may be computed on different nodes of the cluster. RDDs can contain any type of Python, Java, or Scala objects, including user-defined classes. Users can create RDDs in two ways: by loading an external dataset, or by distributing a collection of objects in their driver program. RDDs offer two types of operations after creation: transformations and actions. Transformations construct a new RDD. Actions, on the other hand, compute a result based on an RDD, and either return it to the driver program or save it to an external storage system.

The RDD abstraction is exposed through a language-integrated API in Java, Python, Scala, and R similar to local, in-process collections. This simplifies programming complexity because the way applications manipulate RDDs is similar to manipulating local collections of data.

A Spark cluster is composed of one Driver JVM and one or many Executor JVMs.

Spark SQL[edit]

Spark SQL is a component on top of Spark Core that introduces a new data abstraction called DataFrames, which provides support for structured and semi-structured data. Spark SQL provides a domain-specific language to manipulate DataFrames in Scala, Java, or Python. It also provides SQL language support, with command-line interfaces and ODBC/JDBC server. Prior to version 1.3 of Spark, DataFrames were referred to as SchemaRDDs.[citation needed]

Spark Streaming[edit]

Spark Streaming leverages Spark Core's fast scheduling capability to perform streaming analytics. It ingests data in mini-batches and performs RDD transformations on those mini-batches of data. This design enables the same set of application code written for batch analytics to be used in streaming analytics, on a single engine.[citation needed]

MLlib Machine Learning Library[edit]

Spark MLlib is a distributed machine learning framework on top of Spark Core that, due in large part of the distributed memory-based Spark architecture, is as much as nine times as fast as the disk-based implementation used by Apache Mahout (according to benchmarks done by the MLlib developers against the Alternating Least Squares (ALS) implementations, and before Mahout itself gained a Spark interface), and scales better than Vowpal Wabbit.[9] Many common machine learning and statistical algorithms have been implemented and are shipped with MLlib which simplifies large scale machine learning pipelines, including:


GraphX is a distributed graph processing framework on top of Spark. It provides an API for expressing graph computation that can model the Pregel abstraction. It also provides an optimized runtime for this abstraction.

Like Spark, GraphX initially started as a research project at UC Berkeley's AMPLab and Databricks, and was later donated to the Apache Software Foundation and the Spark project.[10]



  1. ^ Xin, Reynold; Rosen, Josh; Zaharia, Matei; Franklin, Michael; Shenker, Scott; Stoica, Ion (June 2013). "Shark: SQL and Rich Analytics at Scale" (PDF). 
  2. ^ Matei Zaharia. Spark: In-Memory Cluster Computing for Iterative and Interactive Applications. Invited Talk at NIPS 2011 Big Learning Workshop: Algorithms, Systems, and Tools for Learning at Scale. 
  3. ^ "Cluster Mode Overview - Spark 1.2.0 Documentation - Cluster Manager Types". apache.org. Apache Foundation. 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2015-01-18. 
  4. ^ Figure showing Spark in relation to other open-source Software projects including Hadoop
  5. ^ Doan, DuyHai (2014-09-10). "Re: cassandra + spark / pyspark". Cassandra User (Mailing list). Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  6. ^ Open HUB Spark development activity
  7. ^ "The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache&#8482 Spark&#8482 as a Top-Level Project". apache.org. Apache Software Foundation. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Spark officially sets a new record in large-scale sorting
  9. ^ Sparks, Evan; Talwalkar, Ameet (2013-08-06). "Spark Meetup: MLbase, Distributed Machine Learning with Spark". slideshare.net. Spark User Meetup, San Francisco, California. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Gonzalez, Joseph; Xin, Reynold; Dave, Ankur; Crankshaw, Daniel; Franklin, Michael; Stoica, Ion (Oct 2014). "GraphX: Graph Processing in a Distributed Dataflow Framework" (PDF). 
  11. ^ "Apache Spark FAQ". apache.org. Apache Software Foundation. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 

External links[edit]