Using MultipleOutputs with ORC in MapReduce

Introduction to ORC

ORC (Optimised Row Columnar) is a relatively new format being heavily pushed by the Hadoop community. It offers many useful optimisations and features for storing columnar data. Some of its key features include:

  • Predicate pushdown - only the columns you need are read into Hive queries, as opposed to the entire row,
  • MIN, MAX and SUM values of columns are stored within the data itself for rapid calculations,
  • Easy to use with Hive,
  • Small output files.

For more information on ORC, see Owen O’Malley’s Slideshare or Christian Prokopp’s article. For official documentation, see Apache ORC LanguageManual.

I’ve been using it with a client as a potential Apache Avro replacement, and I’ve been very impressed so far. However, it is still quite young - even by Hadoop terms - and so there isn’t a lot of content online for people wanting to use it. As such, I’ll be posting tutorials for new uses.

MapReduce MultipleOutputs with ORC Files

HadoopCraft has a great tutorial on using ORC as a MapReduce output. Outputting ORC files with more than one struct from a single MapReduce job is fairly straightforward, but requires some understanding of the ORC code.

Let’s assume that we want to output two different datasets - one representing a cat and the other representing a person. The relevant parts of the Reducer class would look something like:

public class MultipleORCReducer extends
    Reducer<Text, NullWritable, NullWritable, Writable> {
private static final String PERSON_OUTPUT_NAME = "personOut";
private static final String CAT_OUTPUT_NAME = "catOut";

private MultipleOutputs mOutputs;

private final OrcSerde orcSerde = new OrcSerde();
private List orcRecord;
private Writable row;

//ORC variables for the person
private final String personStruct = "struct<name:string,age:int>";
private final TypeInfo personTypeInfo =
private final ObjectInspector personOip =

//ORC variables for the cat
private final String catStruct = "struct<breed:string,colour:string>";
private final TypeInfo catTypeInfo =
private final ObjectInspector catOip =

protected void reduce(Text key Iterable values, Context context) {
	//For a person
	this.orcRecord = new ArrayList();
	this.row = orcSerde.serialize(this.orcRecord, personOip);
	this.mOutputs.write(PERSON_OUTPUT_NAME, NullWritable.get(), this.row);

	//For a cat
	this.orcRecord = new ArrayList();
	this.row = orcSerde.serialize(this.orcRecord, catOip);
	this.mOutputs.write(CAT_OUTPUT_NAME, NullWritable.get(), this.row);

protected void setup(Context context) {
	this.mOutputs = new MultipleOutputs(context);

protected void cleanup(Context context) {

Notice that the only real difference between this and HadoopCraft’s tutorial for single outputs is that unique TypeInfo and ObjectInspector instances must be created for each different output.

The elements of the driver class related to outputs are:

private void prepareJob(Configuration conf, Job job) {
  OrcNewOutputFormat.setCompressOutput(job, true);
  OrcNewOutputFormat.setOutputPath(job, "<hdfs-output-location>");
      job, PERSON_OUTPUT_NAME, OrcNewOutputFormat.class, NullWritable.class, Writable.class);
      job, CAT_OUTPUT_NAME, OrcNewOutputFormat.class, NullWritable.class, Writable.class);

Again there’s nothing crazy going on here, just three lines which should be included in any ORC MapReduce job, and then the usual MultipleOutputs commands.

Written on April 18, 2015