Explain the terms 'Partitions' and 'Partitioners'.

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    • #4966
      DataFlair TeamDataFlair Team


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      • Partitions also known as ‘Split’ in HDFS, is a logical chunk of data set which may be in the range of Petabyte, Terabytes and distributed across the cluster.
      • By Default, Spark creates one Partition for each block of the file (For HDFS)
      • Default block size for HDFS block is 64 MB (Hadoop Version 1) / 128 MB (Hadoop Version 2) so as the split size.
      • However, one can explicitly specify the number of partitions to be created.
      • Partitions are basically used to speed up the data processing.


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      • An object that defines how the elements in a key-value pair RDD are partitioned by key. Maps each key to a partition ID, from 0 to (number of partitions – 1)
      • Partitioner captures the data distribution at the output. A scheduler can optimize future operation based on the type of partitioner. (i.e. if we perform any operation say transformation or action which require shuffling across nodes in that we may need the partitioner. Please refer reduceByKey() transformation in the forum)
      • Basically there are three types of partitioners in Spark:

      (1) Hash-Partitioner (2) Range-Partitioner (3) One can make its Custom Partitioner

      Property Name : spark.default.parallelism
      Default Value: For distributed shuffle operations like reduceByKey and join, the largest number of partitions in a parent RDD. For operations like parallelize with no parent RDDs, it depends on the cluster manager:
      •Local mode: number of cores on the local machine
      •Mesos fine-grained mode: 8
      •Others: total number of cores on all executor nodes or 2, whichever is larger
      Meaning : Default number of partitions in RDDs returned by transformations like join.

    • #4967
      DataFlair TeamDataFlair Team

      Ans. Partition in Spark is similar to split in HDFS. A partition in Spark is a logical division of data stored on a node in the cluster. They are the basic units of parallelism in Apache Spark. RDDs are a collection of partitions.When some actions are executed, a task is launched per partition.

      By default, partitions are automatically created by the framework. However, the number of partitions in Spark are configurable to suit the needs.
      For the number of partitions, if spark.default.parallelism is set, then we should use the value from SparkContext defaultParallelism, othewrwise we suould use the max number of upstream partitions. Unless spark.default.parallelism is set, the number of partitions will be the same as that of the largest upstream RDD, as this would least likely cause an out-of-memory errors.

      A partitioner is an object that defines how the elements in a key-value pair RDD are partitioned by key, maps each key to a partition ID from 0 to numPartitions – 1. It captures the data distribution at the output. With the help of partitioner, the scheduler can optimize the future operations. The contract of partitioner ensures that records for a given key have to reside on a single partition.
      We should choose a partitioner to use for a cogroup-like operations. If any of the RDDs already has a partitioner, we should choose that one. Otherwise, we use a default HashPartitioner.

      There are three types of partitioners in Spark :
      a) Hash Partitioner b) Range Partitioner c) Custom Partitioner
      Hash – Partitioner : Hash- partitioning attempts to spread the data evenly across various partitions based on the key.
      Range – Partitioner : In Range- Partitioning method , tuples having keys with same range will appear on the same machine.

      RDDs can be created with specific partitioning in two ways :
      i) Providing explicit partitioner by calling partitionBy method on an RDD
      ii) Applying transformations that return RDDs with specific partitioners .

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