Ahana Cloud Inc., developer of a managed version of the Presto open-source distributed query engine, today said it’s making significant commitments to supporting further development of the Velox open-source database acceleration library initially developed by Meta Platforms Inc.

The company joins Intel Corp. and ByteDance Ltd. as primary contributors to the project, which was announced today.

Released to open source last year and kept mostly under wraps until now, Velox is a C++-based database acceleration library that’s described as the first reusable execution engine released under an open-source license. “It is going to make a huge impact,” said Steven Mih, Ahana’s co-founder and chief executive. “It can be used for many different systems beyond Presto, Spark and PyTorch.”

The project is intended to address a problem that has grown with the profusion of specialized databases and analytics engines that have sprouted up over the years independently of each other. Each has its own execution engine that must be maintained separately while also adapting to evolutions in the underlying hardware.

”Ultimately this fragmentation results in systems with different feature sets and inconsistent semantics — reducing the productivity of data users that need to interact with multiple engines to finish tasks,” wrote Meta’s Pedro Pedreira, Masha Basmanova and Orri Erling.

One engine for all

Velox is intended to unify common data-intensive components of various complication engines while still being extensible enough to adapt to unique use cases. It uses native libraries rather than virtual machines to improve performance and is vectorized, meaning that it enables more of the underlying competition to be done in parallel.

“Think about this as the underlying core component of a database,” Mih said. “It’s an execution library for analytical workloads. It will be the underlying component for a lot of databases.”

The project has particular relevance for Ahana, whose business is based on Presto, which was also developed by Meta. Velox is being integrated into Presto as part of the Prestissimo project, which will replace Presto’s Java workers with a C++ process based on Velox. A Presto worker is a server in a Presto installation that is responsible for executing tasks and processing data.

“The Presto community is very open and has open governance under the Linux Foundation,” Mih said. “There is high interest in using Velox as an acceleration library.” He said benchmark tests have shown that Velox can speed initial queries up to eightfold.

Among the Ahana principal engineers who have contributed significant time to the Velox project are Deepak Majeti, Aditi Pandit and Ying Su. “We were involved in the project from very early on,” Mih said. “We’ve put a few of our top engineers on this.”

Photo: Pixabay

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