Apache Arrow
Developer(s)Apache Software Foundation
Initial releaseOctober 10, 2016; 7 years ago (2016-10-10)
Stable release
13.0.0[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 23 August 2023; 7 months ago (23 August 2023)
Written inC, C++, C#, Go, Java, JavaScript, MATLAB, Python, R, Ruby, Rust
TypeData format, algorithms
LicenseApache License 2.0

Apache Arrow is a language-agnostic software framework for developing data analytics applications that process columnar data. It contains a standardized column-oriented memory format that is able to represent flat and hierarchical data for efficient analytic operations on modern CPU and GPU hardware.[2][3][4][5][6] This reduces or eliminates factors that limit the feasibility of working with large sets of data, such as the cost, volatility, or physical constraints of dynamic random-access memory.[7]


Arrow can be used with Apache Parquet, Apache Spark, NumPy, PySpark, pandas and other data processing libraries. The project includes native software libraries written in C, C++, C#, Go, Java, JavaScript, Julia, MATLAB, Python, R, Ruby, and Rust. Arrow allows for zero-copy reads and fast data access and interchange without serialization overhead between these languages and systems.[2]


Arrow has been used in diverse domains, including analytics,[8] genomics,[9][7] and cloud computing.[10]

Comparison to Apache Parquet and ORC

Apache Parquet and Apache ORC are popular examples of on-disk columnar data formats. Arrow is designed as a complement to these formats for processing data in-memory.[11] The hardware resource engineering trade-offs for in-memory processing vary from those associated with on-disk storage.[12] The Arrow and Parquet projects include libraries that allow for reading and writing data between the two formats.[13]


Apache Arrow was announced by The Apache Software Foundation on February 17, 2016,[14] with development led by a coalition of developers from other open source data analytics projects.[15][16][6][17][18] The initial codebase and Java library was seeded by code from Apache Drill.[14]


  1. ^ "Apache Arrow 13.0.0 (23 August 2023)". 23 August 2023. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Apache Arrow and Distributed Compute with Kubernetes". 13 Dec 2018.
  3. ^ Baer, Tony (17 February 2016). "Apache Arrow: Lining Up The Ducks In A Row... Or Column". Seeking Alpha.
  4. ^ Baer, Tony (25 February 2019). "Apache Arrow: The little data accelerator that could". ZDNet.
  5. ^ Hall, Susan (23 February 2016). "Apache Arrow's Columnar Layouts of Data Could Accelerate Hadoop, Spark". The New Stack.
  6. ^ a b Yegulalp, Serdar (27 February 2016). "Apache Arrow aims to speed access to big data". InfoWorld.
  7. ^ a b Tanveer Ahmad (2019). "ArrowSAM: In-Memory Genomics Data Processing through Apache Arrow Framework". bioRxiv: 741843. doi:10.1101/741843.
  8. ^ Dinsmore T.W. (2016). "In-Memory Analytics: Satisfying the Need for Speed". Disruptive Analytics. Apress, Berkeley, CA. pp. 97–116. doi:10.1007/978-1-4842-1311-7_5. ISBN 978-1-4842-1312-4.
  9. ^ Versaci F, Pireddu L, Zanetti G (2016). "Scalable genomics: from raw data to aligned reads on Apache YARN" (PDF). IEEE International Conference on Big Data: 1232–1241.
  10. ^ Maas M, Asanović K, Kubiatowicz J (2017). "Return of the runtimes: rethinking the language runtime system for the cloud 3.0 era". Proceedings of the 16th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (ACM): 138–143. doi:10.1145/3102980.3103003.
  11. ^ Le Dem, Julien. "Apache Arrow and Apache Parquet: Why We Needed Different Projects for Columnar Data, On Disk and In-Memory". KDnuggets.
  12. ^ "Apache Arrow vs. Parquet and ORC: Do we really need a third Apache project for columnar data representation?". 2017-10-31.
  13. ^ "PyArrow:Reading and Writing the Apache Parquet Format".
  14. ^ a b "The Apache® Software Foundation Announces Apache Arrow™ as a Top-Level Project". The Apache Software Foundation Blog. 17 February 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-03-13.
  15. ^ Martin, Alexander J. (17 February 2016). "Apache Foundation rushes out Apache Arrow as top-level project". The Register.
  16. ^ "Big data gets a new open-source project, Apache Arrow: It offers performance improvements of more than 100x on analytical workloads, the foundation says". 2016-02-17.
  17. ^ Le Dem, Julien (28 November 2016). "The first release of Apache Arrow". SD Times.
  18. ^ "Julien Le Dem on the Future of Column-Oriented Data Processing with Apache Arrow".