March 27, 2023
  • Meta is introducing Velox, an open supply unified execution engine geared toward accelerating knowledge administration techniques and streamlining their improvement.
  • Velox is below energetic improvement. Experimental outcomes from our paper revealed on the Worldwide Convention on Very Giant Knowledge Bases (VLDB) 2022 present how Velox improves effectivity and consistency in knowledge administration techniques.
  • Velox helps consolidate and unify knowledge administration techniques in a fashion we consider will likely be of profit to the trade. We’re hoping the bigger open supply group will be a part of us in contributing to the challenge.

Meta’s infrastructure performs an vital position in supporting our services. Our knowledge infrastructure ecosystem consists of dozens of specialised knowledge computation engines, all centered on completely different workloads for a wide range of use circumstances starting from SQL analytics (batch and interactive) to transactional workloads, stream processing, knowledge ingestion, and extra. Just lately, the speedy progress of synthetic intelligence (AI) and machine studying (ML) use circumstances inside Meta’s infrastructure has led to extra engines and libraries focused at function engineering, knowledge preprocessing, and different workloads for ML coaching and serving pipelines. 

Nonetheless, regardless of the similarities, these engines have largely developed independently. This fragmentation has made sustaining and enhancing them troublesome, particularly contemplating that as workloads evolve, the {hardware} that executes these workloads additionally modifications. In the end, this fragmentation leads to techniques with completely different function units and inconsistent semantics — decreasing the productiveness of information customers that must work together with a number of engines to complete duties.

To be able to deal with these challenges and to create a stronger, extra environment friendly knowledge infrastructure for our personal merchandise and the world, Meta has created and open sourced Velox. It’s a novel, state-of-the-art unified execution engine that goals to hurry up knowledge administration techniques in addition to streamline their improvement. Velox unifies the frequent data-intensive elements of information computation engines whereas nonetheless being extensible and adaptable to completely different computation engines. It democratizes optimizations that have been beforehand carried out solely in particular person engines, offering a framework through which constant semantics will be carried out. This reduces work duplication, promotes reusability, and improves general effectivity and consistency.  

Velox is below energetic improvement, however it’s already in varied levels of integration with greater than a dozen knowledge techniques at Meta, together with Presto, Spark, and PyTorch (the latter by means of an information preprocessing library known as TorchArrow), in addition to different inside stream processing platforms, transactional engines, knowledge ingestion techniques and infrastructure, ML techniques for function engineering, and others. 

Because it was first uploaded to GitHub, the Velox open supply challenge has attracted greater than 150 code contributors, together with key collaborators equivalent to Ahana, Intel, and Voltron Knowledge, in addition to varied educational establishments. By open-sourcing and fostering a group for Velox, we consider we are able to speed up the tempo of innovation within the knowledge administration system’s improvement trade. We hope extra people and firms will be a part of us on this effort. 

An summary of Velox

Whereas knowledge computation engines could appear distinct at first, they’re all composed of an analogous set of logical elements: a language entrance finish, an intermediate illustration (IR), an optimizer, an execution runtime, and an execution engine. Velox gives the constructing blocks required to implement execution engines, consisting of all data-intensive operations executed inside a single host, equivalent to expression analysis, aggregation, sorting, becoming a member of, and extra — additionally generally known as the info aircraft. Due to this fact, Velox expects an optimized plan as enter and effectively executes it utilizing the sources accessible within the native host.

Knowledge administration techniques like Presto and Spark sometimes have their very own execution engines and different elements. Velox can operate as a typical execution engine throughout completely different knowledge administration techniques. (Diagram by Philip Bell.)

Velox leverages quite a few runtime optimizations, equivalent to filter and conjunct reordering, key normalization for array and hash-based aggregations and joins, dynamic filter pushdown, and adaptive column prefetching. These optimizations present optimum native effectivity given the accessible data and statistics extracted from incoming batches of information. Velox can also be designed from the bottom as much as effectively assist advanced knowledge varieties resulting from their ubiquity in trendy workloads, and therefore extensively depends on dictionary encoding for cardinality-increasing and cardinality-reducing operations equivalent to joins and filtering, whereas nonetheless offering quick paths for primitive knowledge varieties.

The principle elements supplied by Velox are:

  • Kind: a generic sort system that permits builders to signify scalar, advanced, and nested knowledge varieties, together with structs, maps, arrays, capabilities (lambdas), decimals, tensors, and extra.
  • Vector: an Apache Arrow–appropriate columnar reminiscence format module supporting a number of encodings, equivalent to flat, dictionary, fixed, sequence/RLE, and body of reference, along with a lazy materialization sample and assist for out-of-order outcome buffer inhabitants.
  • Expression Eval: a state-of-the-art vectorized expression analysis engine constructed based mostly on vector-encoded knowledge, leveraging methods equivalent to frequent subexpression elimination, fixed folding, environment friendly null propagation, encoding-aware analysis, dictionary peeling, and memoization.
  • Features: APIs that can be utilized by builders to construct customized capabilities, offering a easy (row by row) and vectorized (batch by batch) interface for scalar capabilities and an API for mixture capabilities. 
    • A operate package deal appropriate with the favored PrestoSQL dialect can also be supplied as a part of the library.
  • Operators: implementation of frequent SQL operators equivalent to TableScan, Mission, Filter, Aggregation, Alternate/Merge, OrderBy, TopN, HashJoin, MergeJoin, Unnest, and extra.
  • I/O: a set of APIs that permits Velox to be built-in within the context of different engines and runtimes, equivalent to:
    • Connectors: permits builders to specialize knowledge sources and sinks for TableScan and TableWrite operators.
    • DWIO: an extensible interface offering assist for encoding/decoding standard file codecs equivalent to Parquet, ORC, and DWRF.
    • Storage adapters: a byte-based extensible interface that permits Velox to connect with storage techniques equivalent to Tectonic, S3, HDFS, and extra. 
    • Serializers: a serialization interface focusing on community communication the place completely different wire protocols will be carried out, supporting PrestoPage and Spark’s UnsafeRow codecs.
  • Useful resource administration: a group of primitives for dealing with computational sources, equivalent to CPU and reminiscence administration, spilling, and reminiscence and SSD caching.

Velox’s most important integrations and experimental outcomes

Past effectivity positive aspects, Velox gives worth by unifying the execution engines throughout completely different knowledge computation engines. The three hottest integrations are Presto, Spark, and TorchArrow/PyTorch.

Presto — Prestissimo 

Velox is being built-in into Presto as a part of the Prestissimo challenge, the place Presto Java employees are changed by a C++ course of based mostly on Velox. The challenge was initially created by Meta in 2020 and is below continued improvement in collaboration with Ahana, together with different open supply contributors.

Prestissimo gives a C++ implementation of Presto’s HTTP REST interface, together with worker-to-worker change serialization protocol, coordinator-to-worker orchestration, and standing reporting endpoints, thereby offering a drop-in C++ alternative for Presto employees. The principle question workflow consists of receiving a Presto plan fragment from a Java coordinator, translating it right into a Velox question plan, and handing it off to Velox for execution.

We performed two completely different experiments to discover the speedup supplied by Velox in Presto. Our first experiment used the TPC-H benchmark and measured near an order of magnitude speedup in some CPU-bound queries. We noticed a extra modest speedup (averaging 3-6x) for shuffle-bound queries.

Though the TPC-H dataset is a normal benchmark, it’s not consultant of actual workloads. To discover how Velox may carry out in these eventualities, we created an experiment the place we executed manufacturing site visitors generated by a wide range of interactive analytical instruments discovered at Meta. On this experiment, we noticed a median of 6-7x speedups in knowledge querying, with some outcomes rising speedups by over an order of magnitude. You’ll be able to study extra in regards to the particulars of the experiments and their leads to our research paper.

Prestissimo outcomes on actual analytic workloads. The histogram above exhibits relative speedup of Prestissimo over Presto Java. The y-axis signifies the variety of queries (in 1000’s [K]). Zero on the x-axis means Presto Java is quicker; 10 signifies that Prestissimo is at the least 10 instances quicker than Presto Java.

Prestissimo’s codebase is accessible on GitHub.  

Spark — Gluten

Velox can also be being built-in into Spark as a part of the Gluten project created by Intel. Gluten permits C++ execution engines (equivalent to Velox) for use throughout the Spark atmosphere whereas executing Spark SQL queries. Gluten decouples the Spark JVM and execution engine by making a JNI API based mostly on the Apache Arrow knowledge format and Substrait question plans, thus permitting Velox for use inside Spark by merely integrating with Gluten’s JNI API.

Gluten’s codebase is accessible on GitHub.  


TorchArrow is a dataframe Python library for knowledge preprocessing in deep studying, and a part of the PyTorch challenge. TorchArrow internally interprets the dataframe illustration right into a Velox plan and delegates it to Velox for execution. Along with converging the in any other case fragmented house of ML knowledge preprocessing libraries, this integration permits Meta to consolidate execution-engine code between analytic engines and ML infrastructure. It gives a extra constant expertise for ML finish customers, who’re generally required to work together with completely different computation engines to finish a selected job, by exposing the identical set of capabilities/UDFs and making certain constant conduct throughout engines.

TorchArrow was lately launched in beta mode on GitHub.

The way forward for database system improvement

Velox demonstrates that it’s doable to make knowledge computation techniques extra adaptable by consolidating their execution engines right into a single unified library. As we proceed to combine Velox into our personal techniques, we’re dedicated to constructing a sustainable open supply group to assist the challenge in addition to to hurry up library improvement and trade adoption. We’re additionally keen on persevering with to blur the boundaries between ML infrastructure and conventional knowledge administration techniques by unifying operate packages and semantics between these silos.

Wanting on the future, we consider Velox’s unified and modular nature has the potential to be helpful to industries that make the most of, and particularly people who develop, knowledge administration techniques. It would permit us to companion with {hardware} distributors and proactively adapt our unified software program stack as {hardware} advances. Reusing unified and extremely environment friendly elements may also permit us to innovate quicker as knowledge workloads evolve. We consider that modularity and reusability are the way forward for database system improvement, and we hope that knowledge corporations, academia, and particular person database practitioners alike will be a part of us on this effort. 

In-depth documentation about Velox and these elements will be discovered on our website and in our analysis paper “Velox: Meta’s unified execution engine.”


We wish to thank all contributors to the Velox challenge. A particular thank-you to Sridhar Anumandla, Philip Bell, Biswapesh Chattopadhyay, Naveen Cherukuri, Wei He, Jiju John, Jimmy Lu, Xiaoxuang Meng, Krishna Pai, Laith Sakka, Bikramjeet Vigand, Kevin Wilfong from the Meta workforce, and to numerous group contributors, together with Frank Hu, Deepak Majeti, Aditi Pandit, and Ying Su.