Apache Avro

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What Does Apache Avro Mean?

Apache Avro is a data serialization and remote procedure call framework which is developed within the Apache Hadoop project where it provides both a serialization format to get persistent data and a wire format for providing communication between Hadoop nodes, as well as connecting client programs to the Hadoop services.


Avro uses the JSON format for defining protocols and data types, as well as serializes data into a compact binary format.

Techopedia Explains Apache Avro

Apache Avro is a big data serialization framework which produces data in a compact binary format which does not require code generation or proxy objects.

It is used as a data serialization component for Apache Hadoop. Avro works on the concept of schemas. When Avro data are being read, the schema which was used during the writing of that specific data is always present.

This allows each data set without per-value overheads, which makes the serialization both fast and relatively small in size. And since data and their schema are fully self-describing, this makes it easy to use with dynamic scripting languages.

When the Avro data are stored in a specific file, the schema is also stored with them to be later processed by another program. So if a program reading the data is expecting another schema, then this can easily be resolved since both schemas are present.

Avro provides:

  • A compact and fast binary data format

  • Rich data structures

  • A container file for storing persistent data

  • Remote procedure call (RPC)

  • Integration with dynamic languages

Generation of code is not a requirement for reading or writing data files or to use or implement RPC protocols.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.