Accessing Cloud Data
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Thread Tuning for S3A Data Upload

Both the array and bytebuffer buffer mechanisms can consume very large amounts of memory, on-heap or off-heap respectively. The disk buffer mechanism does not use much memory up, but it consumes hard disk capacity.

If there are many output streams being written to in a single process, the amount of memory or disk used is the multiple of all stream's active memory and disk use.

You may need to perform careful tuning to reduce the risk of running out memory, especially if the data is buffered in memory. There are a number parameters which can be tuned:

Table 3.4. S3A Upload Tuning Options

ParameterDefault ValueDescription number of blocks a single output stream can have active (uploading, or queued to the central FileSystem instance's pool of queued operations). This stops a single stream overloading the shared thread pool.
fs.s3a.threads.max10The total number of threads available in the filesystem for data uploads or any other queued filesystem operation. number of operations which can be queued for execution
fs.s3a.threads.keepalivetime60The number of seconds a thread can be idle before being terminated.

When the maximum allowed number of active blocks of a single stream is reached, no more blocks can be uploaded from that stream until one or more of those active block uploads completes. That is, a write() call which would trigger an upload of a now full datablock will instead block until there is capacity in the queue.

Consider the following:

  • As the pool of threads set in fs.s3a.threads.max is shared (and intended to be used across all threads), a larger number here can allow for more parallel operations. However, as uploads require network bandwidth, adding more threads does not guarantee speedup.

  • The extra queue of tasks for the thread pool ( covers all ongoing background S3A operations.

  • When using memory buffering, a small value of limits the amount of memory which can be consumed per stream.

  • When using disk buffering, a larger value of does not consume much memory. But it may result in a large number of blocks to compete with other filesystem operations.

We recommend a low value of — enough to start background upload without overloading other parts of the system. Then experiment to see if higher values deliver more throughput — especially from VMs running on EC2.