Update Apr 14, 2023 - An issue has been opened on the DataFusion GitHub repository regarding its poor reported performance compared to DuckDB and Hyper in this specific case: #5942. While there may be multiple factors contributing to this unexpected behavior, I might have used the API in a sub-optimal way. I will continue to update the post with new findings.


In this blog post, we focus on directly querying Parquet files using three different SQL engines, and more specifically their Python API:

The TPC-H benchmark is a widely-used measure of such systems' performance, consisting of a set of queries that have broad industry-wide relevance. We executed the TPC-H benchmark on a laptop and present our findings on the performance and capabilities of each engine on Parquet files.


The TPC-H data used in this benchmark is generated using the DuckDB TPC-H extension and saved into Parquet files with default compression "snappy" and row group size 122880. The benchmark comprises 8 tables, with a scale factor of 100 used for data generation. Each table is stored in a separate Parquet file.

Here's a brief overview of each table:

Table name Row count Parquet file size
region 5 1.0 kB
nation 25 2.2 kB
supplier 1 000 000 80.4 MB
customer 15 000 000 1.3 GB
part 20 000 000 695.4 MB
partsupp 80 000 000 4.5 GB
orders 150 000 000 6.8 GB
lineitem 600 037 902 27.1 GB

The lineitem table is the largest, with over 600 million rows and a file size of 27.1 GB.

TPC-H queries

There are 22 queries, specified in the TPC-H benchmark; they may vary a little bit depending on each implemnetation. The queries used in this post can be found here on Github. Here is the first one, for example:

    SUM(l_quantity) AS sum_qty,
    SUM(l_extendedprice) AS sum_base_price,
    SUM(l_extendedprice * (1 - l_discount)) AS sum_disc_price,
    SUM(l_extendedprice * (1 - l_discount) * (1 + l_tax)) AS sum_charge,
    AVG(l_quantity) AS avg_qty,
    AVG(l_extendedprice) AS avg_price,
    AVG(l_discount) AS avg_disc,
    COUNT(*) AS count_order
    l_shipdate <= CAST('1998-09-02' AS date)

System information

The queries are executed on a laptop with the following features:

CPU : 12th Gen Intel© Core™ i9-12900H, 10 cores
RAM : 32 GB
OS : Linux mint 21.1, based on Ubuntu 22.04
Data disk : Samsung SSD 980 PRO 1TB

Package versions:

Python          : 3.11.0 | packaged by conda-forge  
DuckDB          : 0.7.2-dev982  
TableauHyperAPI : 0.0.16638  
Datafusion      : 20.0.0  

Parquet files attachment and specific parameters

The attachment process is chosen in a way that the data is not scanned, being almost instantaneous.


We used a specific parameter for the Hyper engine, following a discussion with the Tableau Hyper team on Slack:

with HyperProcess(
    parameters=dict({("external_table_sample_size_factor", "0.005")}),
) as hyper:

Without this setting, query 9 would crash with an out-of-memory error. The Parquet files are attached as temporary external tables, e.g.:



The default configuration is used. The Parquet files are attached as views:

CREATE VIEW region AS SELECT * FROM read_parquet('./region.parquet')

Query 21 is crashing with a cannot allocate memory error.


We tried a few parameters such as enable_page_index, pushdown_filters, reorder_filters but without success... The default configuration seems to be limited and we did not figure out how to adjust the settings. Queries 7, 17, 18 and 21 are crashing.

The Parquet files are attached using the Python API:

ctx = datafusion.SessionContext()
ctx.register_parquet('region', './region.parquet')


Only the Hyper engine succeed in running all the queries, in a total elapsed time of 63.90 s, with the connection setup, loop on files etc... Note that this time can be significantly improved by using the respective native storage format of the DuckDB or Hyper engines.

We did not include fetch time in the elapsed time, except for Datafusion. So for DuckDB and Hyper, we only measure the query execution time. The data is fetched in a second step in order to check the number of returned rows.

  • DuckDB:
# start timer
# stop timer

result = conn.df()
n_returned_rows = result.shape[0]
  • Hyper
# start timer
result = conn.execute_query(query)
# stop timer

n_returned_rows = 0
while result.next_row():
    n_returned_rows += 1
  • Datafusion
# start timer
result = ctx.sql(query)
data = result.collect()
# stop timer

n_returned_rows = 0 
for _, item in enumerate(data):
    n_returned_rows += item.num_rows

Overall, in this test, Datafusion is behind, while Hyper is a bit more efficient than DuckDB, specifically on some queries.

query Hyper (s) DuckDB (s) Datafusion (s)
1 3.626 3.793 81.668
2 1.006 0.849 13.944
3 2.619 2.854 39.433
4 1.896 5.010 30.512
5 3.521 3.131 51.143
6 1.221 2.162 19.821
7 2.660 6.300
8 2.151 3.021 49.717
9 6.085 10.374 65.606
10 2.820 3.825 41.010
11 0.360 0.416 14.066
12 1.991 2.773 38.985
13 7.303 4.588 56.703
14 1.402 1.936 18.684
15 1.634 4.254 27.640
16 0.882 0.848 6.699
17 1.728 12.502
18 5.917 15.003
19 3.250 4.018 42.300
20 1.124 4.919 80.375
21 4.430
22 0.995 1.938 11.485
Sum 58.631 94.523 689.797

At the bottom of this table, we display the sum of the querying time, ignoring the failing queries.

All three engines


DuckDB vs Hyper



In this blog post, we conducted the TPC-H benchmark using three different SQL engines: Tableau Hyper, DuckDB, and Apache Arrow DataFusion, for querying Parquet files. The benchmark comprised 22 queries executed on 8 tables, with a scale factor of 100 used for data generation.

With the default settings, it seems that Datafusion may not be the most suitable option for the specific use case mentioned due to its slow performance and tendency to crash. On the other hand, the Hyper engine was found to be faster than the DuckDB engine. But ultimately, the choice of database engine depends on a variety of factors such as the license, the size and complexity of the dataset, the nature of the queries, the available hardware resources...

Overall, the benchmark demonstrated the potential of these SQL engines for handling a significant amount of data stored in Parquet files.