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A What-if Engine for Cost-based MapReduce Optimization

Herodotos Herodotou and Shivnath Babu


The Starfish project at Duke University aims to provide MapReduce users and applications with good performance automatically, without any need on their part to understand and manipulate the numerous tuning knobs in a MapReduce system. This paper describes the What-if Engine, an indispensable component in Starfish, which serves a similar purpose as a costing engine used by the query optimizer in a Database system. We discuss the problem and challenges addressed by the What-if Engine. We also discuss the techniques used by the What-if Engine and the design decisions that led us to these techniques.


Publication typeProceedings
Published inBulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Data Engineering
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