The Top 7 Benefits of Using Apache Iceberg

Innovating efficient and large-scale analytics on cloud object storage is possible with Apache Iceberg, a table format. Regardless of the size or nature of the dataset, Apache Iceberg has the solution to seamlessly gather and represent it, thus simplifying data analysis and management. As a data lake, Apache Iceberg allows raw data storage, ultimately improving data governance by accommodating diverse analytics workloads for a better outcome. First introduced in 2017, Apache Iceberg has come a long way in transforming analytics.

This blog post covers all the topics you might be concerned about.

In today’s digital age, managing and analyzing large datasets is a requirement for businesses. Data lakes securely house structured and unstructured data of any size and provide the flexibility to process data as per specific requirements. This empowers companies to make informed decisions based on data.

It would be useful to have a definition of Apache Iceberg.

Apache Iceberg is a newly developed open table format that streamlines the storage, retrieval, and tracking of data stored in multiple files. It offers a range of features that can make managing extensive and intricate datasets much easier, including popular file formats like Apache Parquet, Optimised Row Columnar, and AVRO. By deploying the Iceberg table format, all these file formats can be benefitted.

Apache Iceberg utilizes a tree structure to organise and categorize all files. In this table format, an accurate reference to the metadata file that stores the data files is included.

How is Apache Iceberg superior to Apache Hive?

To overcome the hurdles of data consistency and performance in Apache Hive, Netflix has created Apache Iceberg. Apache Hive stores data at the folder level, which means that conducting file list operations is a prerequisite for accessing data tables. This can lead to situations where some object storage may seem missing during file list operations. Additionally, significant partition changes require complete partition rewriting, which is necessary to access the data in the new location.

As datasets become larger, the intricate directory structure of Apache Hive, together with its additional layer of inefficiencies, makes data exploration a cumbersome task. In addition, in Apache Hive, users need to have a precise understanding of the table structure while formulating queries.

Similar to Hadoop, Apache Iceberg is a data structure that manages and stores both metadata and data layers. Contrasting Apache Hive, which stores data at the partition level, Iceberg permits swift and effortless addition, removal, and upgradation of data since users can access files directly at the file level.

The snapshot querying approach in the Apache Iceberg architecture can be highly beneficial while dealing with large data volumes. By deploying manifest and metadata files, data searching can be accelerated since it is available at the file level. This approach can significantly reduce the time and effort required to locate information.

Reasons to choose Apache Iceberg include:

  1. Schema Evolution

    Apache Iceberg is designed with schema evolution in mind, ensuring that there are no unintended outcomes or dependencies arising from such transformations. During the evolution process, a unique identifier is added to the metadata to ensure persistent identification of column names across all metadata levels.

    Users can add, remove, or rename columns, and adjust the width of, reorder, or modify the map keys, struct fields, and list items of the table layout, thanks to Apache Iceberg databases.
  2. Partitioning Cloaking

    Apache Iceberg offers hidden partitioning, which allows users to conduct searches without being aware of the internal divisions of the table.

    Iceberg users can categorize time stamps into various categories, such as day, date, year, and month. Additionally, users can employ hash buckets, truncation, and identification to further divide the columns.
  3. Scalable SQL Operations

    Apache Iceberg makes it possible to execute large-scale analytical queries on data lakes. The system is created to facilitate flexible SQL operations and can be used to modify existing rows, merge new data, or remove rows and columns from tables as the volume of data grows exponentially. With efficient scalability, it offers an ideal solution for managing data at a large scale.
  4. Reversal and Time Travel

    The Apache Iceberg framework provides programmers with the ability to access and examine data from any point in the past or future. To ensure that any modifications to the table are documented and tracked, Apache Iceberg takes snapshots at regular intervals.

    Individuals can utilize either the snapshot-id or the as-of timestamp method to revert changes or access past data. By using millisecond-accurate as-of timestamps, one can access the current snapshot at a specific moment. Alternatively, using the snapshot-id method allows individuals to pinpoint a particular frozen state of a database.
  5. ACID Compliance

    Atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability (ACID) are critical to database transactions as they ensure efficient processing of queries. Without ACID compliance, the database structure can result in slow response times during data access. Therefore, implementing ACID is essential for maximizing data query efficiency.

    The Apache Iceberg framework improves the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of file-based searches by reducing the amount of stored data. To streamline data and expedite query responses, Apache Iceberg stores relevant information in files.
  6. Supports a Wide Range of File Types and Search Engines

    Thanks to its versatility, Apache Iceberg provides developers with a variety of advantages, including support for numerous query engines such as Hadoop, Trino, Hive, Flink, and Spark. It supports various file formats, including Apache Parquet, Avro, and ORC. This extensive range of options enables developers to select the most appropriate tools and formats for their needs.

    Apache Iceberg’s adaptable architecture allows developers to choose the most appropriate strategy for each individual situation. This open-source software is a reliable and flexible platform for applications that access tables.
  7. Powerful AWS Integrations

    The iceberg module allows for convenient connections between various Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Apache Iceberg. With the Apache Iceberg framework, engines such as Apache Spark, Apache Flink, and Apache Hive can be interfaced with AWS. This streamlined integration of multiple popular cloud services provides users with the flexibility to develop their applications in a way that best suits their needs.

    A wide range of specialized catalogues are available in table format, including the Glue Catalogue, the DynamoDB Catalogue, and the RDS JDBC Catalogue. When building the Iceberg Catalogue, developers can choose from a variety of guides provided by Amazon Web Services.


Developers have created Apache Iceberg, a modernized table format, to maximize the efficiency of data analysis. Apache Iceberg is a popular choice for large data systems due to its rapid collaboration, secure and reliable data querying, and ability to be used with multiple engines and catalogs.

With the growing realization of the need for future-proof and scalable “lake house” style structures, businesses are actively seeking experienced developers who are well-versed in the latest table formats and designs. Hiring such talent enables businesses to ensure that their infrastructures are both reliable and secure.

Have you come across Apache Iceberg yet?

If you’re familiar with Apache Iceberg, be sure to check out Works.

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  1. When was Apache Iceberg developed?

    Apache Iceberg was made available as of August 15, 2021.
  2. Is Apache Iceberg considered a data lake?

    Although it is commonly misunderstood, Apache Iceberg is not classified as a data lake; rather, it is a table structure utilized for managing data within such systems. Data lakes can store structured and unstructured data of any size.
  3. How does Apache Iceberg handle importing and exporting data?

    Developers using Apache Iceberg can take advantage of the data frame capabilities available in various query engines, such as Apache Spark and Apache Flink, enabling them to read from and write to the data.

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