What Is a Parquet Data Type?


Larry Thompson

A parquet data type is a columnar storage file format that is used to store structured data in a highly efficient manner. It is designed to optimize performance and space utilization, making it ideal for big data processing and analytics.

Advantages of Parquet Data Type

Parquet offers several advantages over other file formats:

  • Columnar Storage: Parquet organizes data into columns, allowing for efficient compression and encoding. This columnar storage format improves query performance by only reading the necessary columns, reducing disk I/O.
  • Predicate Pushdown: Parquet supports predicate pushdown, which means that filters can be applied at the storage level to skip irrelevant data during query execution. This feature significantly improves query performance by reducing the amount of data to be processed.
  • Schema Evolution: Parquet supports schema evolution, which means that changes in the schema can be easily accommodated without rewriting the entire dataset.

    This flexibility makes it easier to handle evolving data structures in big data environments.

  • Data Compression: Parquet uses various compression techniques such as Snappy, Gzip, and LZO to reduce the size of stored data. This not only saves disk space but also improves query performance by reducing the amount of data that needs to be read from disk.
  • Data Encoding: Parquet uses advanced encoding techniques like Run Length Encoding (RLE), Dictionary Encoding, and Bit Packing to further reduce storage requirements. These encoding techniques are optimized for different types of data, resulting in better compression ratios.

Supported Data Types

The parquet data type supports a wide range of primitive and complex data types, including:

  • Primitive Types: This includes integer types (int32, int64), floating-point types (float, double), boolean type, binary type, and string type.
  • Complex Types: Parquet also supports complex data types such as arrays, maps, and structures. These complex types allow for hierarchical data representation and enable advanced analytics on nested data structures.

Usage Examples

Here are a few examples of how the parquet data type can be used:

Data Storage

Parquet can be used to store large datasets efficiently. By leveraging its columnar storage format and compression techniques, it becomes possible to store and process large volumes of structured data with reduced storage requirements.

Data Analytics

The parquet data type is widely used in big data analytics frameworks like Apache Spark and Apache Hive. These frameworks can read parquet files directly, allowing for faster query execution and improved performance.

Data Integration

Parquet is compatible with various data integration tools and platforms. It can be used to exchange data between different systems, enabling seamless interoperability in heterogeneous environments.


The parquet data type is a powerful file format for storing structured data efficiently. Its columnar storage format, advanced compression techniques, and support for schema evolution make it an ideal choice for big data processing and analytics. By using the parquet data type effectively, organizations can optimize storage utilization, improve query performance, and enable advanced analytics on large datasets.

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