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Microsoft brings .NET dev to Apache Spark

Billy Yann
Deep learning and machine learning specialist, well-versed with experience in Cloud infrastructure, Block-chain technologies and Big Data solutions.
January 14, 2021

The general-purpose distributed processing engine of Apache Spark is designed for analytics over large data sets. These large sets of data include typically petabytes or terabytes of data. Apache Spark is usually used for processing real-time streams, batches of data, ad-hoc queries, and machine learning. To reduce computation time, data is cached in memory, and processing tasks are often distributed over a cluster of nodes. The Spark interop layer is used to write the .NET bindings for Spark. This layer is designed such that it provides high-performance bindings to multiple languages. The .NET for Apache Spark is now compliant with .NET Standard. This standard is set as a formal specification for .NET APIs that are common across the implementations of the. NET. Moreover, you can use .NET for Apache Spark wherever you write .NET code.

This release was possible due to the combined efforts of the open-source community and Microsoft. Version 1.0 has support for .NET applications that target .NET Standard 2.0 or later. The .NET for Apache Spark was launched for the addressing an increased demand from the .NET community, which is the need for an easier method to successfully build big data applications. According to a recent survey, taking advantage of the existing .NET development skills and resources is confirmed the biggest motivation to use the package. The existing resources include an enormous .NET ecosystem of libraries as well as frameworks. The team is committed to keep the API current with the latest Spark versions and ensure continuous evolution of the product to integrate the latest features.

Microsoft has now released the first major version of .NET for Apache Spark. Besides, it was released as an open-source package that will bring .NET development to the Apache Spark platform. The latest version allows.NET programmers to code Apache Spark applications by utilizing Spark SQL, .NET user-defined functions, and additional libraries. These libraries include ML.NET and Microsoft Hyperspace. Apache Spark is a general-purpose, open-source analytics engine that is utilized for the large-scale processing of data with machine learning, SQL, built-in modules for streaming, and graph processing. It can also be used in conjunction with different data repositories such as relational data stores, NoSQL databases, and the Hadoop Distributed File System. The AMPLab team at UC Berkeley initially developed the Apache Spark.

Compared to Hadoop, Spark can be 100x faster for large-scale data processing since all data is processed in-memory (RAM). According to the senior program manager for .NET Data at Microsoft, Jeremy Likness, the release of .NET dev to Apache Spark addresses the long-standing community demands. Apache Spark efficiently addresses an increasing demand for an easier and effective way to build big data applications. Some key Spark functionalities are brought to the .NET development ecosystem by .NET for Apache Spark. These functionalities include versions 2.3, 2.4, as well as 3.0, which allows the use of Spark SQL queries. Apart from that, .NET developers and programmers can also use user-defined functions (UDFs) for writing Spark applications. The package provides the coders with an API extension framework such as Microsoft Hyperspace (an indexing subsystem for Spark), ML.NET (Microsoft's machine learning framework), and Delta Lake (a storage layer for ACID transactions in Spark). Further, the .NET developers can extend it with other machine learning libraries such as TensorFlow.

Performance is another critical feature of the release of .NET dev to Apache Spark. According to Microsoft's benchmarks, the .NET for Apache spark has programs that do not use any UDFs to achieve the same speed as PySpark or any Scala-based non-UDF Spark applications. The .NET for Apache Spark program is often faster and at least as fast as PySpark programs if the applications include UDFs.

The .NET for Apache Spark framework is on the market on the GitHub page of the .NET Basis. A wide range of capabilities of .NET for Apache Spark 1.0 embodies An API extension framework for adding assistance for extra Spark libraries. The .NET for Apache Spark does this with the help of Apache Spark MLlib performance, ML.NET, Microsoft OSS Hyperspace, and Linux Basis Delta Lake. The .NET for Apache Spark applications that are not UDFs often present the identical pace as PySpark and Scala-based non-UDF functions. The .NET for Apache Spark applications is usually quick as PySpark applications or maybe faster if the functions embody UDFs. .NET for Apache Spark is constructed into the Azure HDInsight and the Azure Synapse. Furthermore, it can be used in a variety of Apache Spark cloud choices along with Azure Databricks.

Microsoft is currently addressing the obstacles together with organizing dependencies as well as stipulations and successfully discovering high-quality documentation. They do this by discovering examples that are similar to updates to .NET for Apache Spark documentation and community-contributed "ready-to-run" Docker pictures. One other precedence is integration with CI/CD DevOps pipelines along with supporting deployment choices and publishing jobs immediately from Visible Studio. Apache Spark is a scalable and fast data processing engine that can be effectively used for big data analytics. Most of the time, it can be 100x faster than Hadoop. One of the primary benefits is the ease of use and Spark lets you write queries in SQL, Java, R, Scala, Python, and now. NET. You can use a mixture of languages or SQL to query data sets since the execution engine does not care which language you write in.


The major goal of .NET for Apache Spark is to make Spark accessible from F# as well as C#. Apart from that, you can now bring Spark functionality into your applications using the skills you already possess. The implementation of NET offers a full set of API's that mirror the actual Spark API. Spark is compatible with Apache Hadoop data whether streamed or batched. Besides, it is described as a unified analytics engine that can be used for large-scale data processing. Nowadays, Spark is accessible via an interop layer with APIs for the Scala, Python, Currently, Java, and R programming languages. The newly launched project seeks to improve language support. The .NET coders have been able to use Spark with Mobius F# and C# language extensions as well as binding. For helping the project succeed beyond similar efforts such as Mobius, Microsoft promised to work closely with the open-source Spark community. .NET for Apache Spark makes it easier to build big data applications.

Apache Spark is a scalable general-purpose, and fast analytical engine that processes large scale data in a distributed way. Apart from that, it comes with a common interface for multiple languages like SQL, Python, Java, R, Scala, and now. NET. This means that the execution engine is not bothered by the language you use to write your code in.

Apart from the ease of use, some advantages make Spark stand out among other analytical tools. Spark also makes use of in-memory processing. By making use of in-memory processing which the Apache spark spends only less time in processing data in or out to disk or moving data which makes it faster. Apache Spark is extremely efficient as it effectively caches most of the input data in the memory by the Resilient Distributed Dataset or RDD. Besides, it manages distributed processing and transformation of data. Each logical portion of RDD may be computed on different cluster nodes. Further, each dataset in RDD is partitioned logically.

Apache Spark supports not only Real-time processing but also batch processing and stream processing. In other words, data can be input or output in real-time. Apache Spark APIs are easy to understand and readable. The use of lazy evaluation contributes towards its efficiency. Moreover, there exist rich as well as always growing spaces for developers that are constantly contributing and evaluating the technology.

.NET developers were locked out from big data processing until 2019 due to a lack of .NET support. But Microsoft unveiled the project called .NET for Apache Spark on April 24, 2019. Apache Spark is made accessible for the .NET developers by the .NET for Apache Spark. The .NET for Apache Spark provides high-performance .NET APIs. Using these APIs, you can bring Spark functionality into your apps and access all aspects of Apache Spark. You can do this without translating your business logic from .NET to Python/ Java / Scala just for the sake of data analysis.


Spark consists of various databases, libraries, and APIs. These provide a whole ecosystem that is capable of handling all sorts of analysis and data processing needs of a team or a company. .NET developers are on track to the easier use of the popular Big Data processing framework in C# and F# projects almost four years after the debut of Apache Spark. Apache Spark is a lightning-fast analytics engine used for machine learning as well as big data. It is the largest open-source project in the field of data processing. It has met the expectations of enterprises in a comparatively better way in regards to data processing, querying, and generating analytics reports. Apache Spark did this in a better and faster way since its release.