Apache Thrift

What is Apache Thrift?

Apache Thrift is an extensible and language-agnostic service development framework, employed by developers to generate services that work seamlessly across a myriad of programming languages. It employs a software stack with a code generation engine to build services that interface with C++, Java, Python, PHP, Ruby, Erlang, Perl, Haskell, C#, Cocoa, JavaScript, Node.js, Smalltalk, OCaml, Delphi among others.


Developed initially at Facebook in 2006 to enable efficient and reliable communication between languages, it transitioned into an open-source project under the Apache Software Foundation in 2007. With thriving community support, it has evolved over time to support various programming languages and platforms.

Functionality and Features

Apache Thrift provides an interface definition language (IDL) to define and create services. It supports diverse data types and service interfaces in its stack. Key features include:

  • Language interoperability: Supports a broad spectrum of programming languages.
  • Scalability: As it implements server types for various needs such as non-blocking servers, Apache Thrift can scale up with your software.
  • Fast serialization: Possesses an efficient binary communication protocol that enables fast data serialization and deserialization.


Apache Thrift's architecture is divided into two parts: the top being language-specific and the bottom being language-agnostic. It consists of components such as Processor, Protocol, Transport, Server, and Client.

Benefits and Use Cases

Apache Thrift's primary advantage is its cross-language services development. Its efficient serialization of data across languages makes it useful in several scenarios. This includes developing cross-language services, building scalable and reliable services, and integrating systems written in different languages.

Challenges and Limitations

Despite its benefits, Apache Thrift is not without its challenges. It lacks built-in support for service discovery and load balancing. Additionally, Thrift does not support authentication and encryption but relies on the underlying transport for these features.

Integration with Data Lakehouse

In a data lakehouse environment, Apache Thrift can be used to build services for data ingestion, processing, and analytics working across different languages. However, it does not directly support the advanced features of a data lakehouse architecture such as ACID transactions, versioning, and schema evolution.

Security Aspects

Apache Thrift itself does not provide any security features but leaves it to the underlying transport layer. This means security needs to be implemented on top of Apache Thrift services or during the transport layer.


Apache Thrift's binary encoding of data results in smaller message sizes, leading to lower CPU usage and higher performance. Additionally, its multiple server types allow it to meet different performance needs.

Comparisons and Dremio's Technology

While Apache Thrift excels in enabling cross-language services development, it does not provide data query optimization, data virtualization, and advanced security features like Dremio. Dremio's technology provides a self-service semantic layer allowing you to curate, accelerate, and secure your data, thus outperforming Apache Thrift in a data lakehouse environment.


What is Apache Thrift? Apache Thrift is a software framework for creating cross-language services.

What are some advantages of Apache Thrift? It provides language interoperability, scalability, and fast data serialization.

What are Apache Thrift's limitations? Thrift does not support service discovery, load balancing, or built-in security features.

How does Apache Thrift fit into a data lakehouse environment? Thrift can build services for data ingestion, processing, and analytics but does not directly support the advanced features of a data lakehouse.

How does Dremio contrast with Apache Thrift? Dremio provides additional capabilities like data query optimization, data virtualization, and advanced security features that surpass Apache Thrift.


ID Language: Interface Definition Language, used to define and create services.

Serialization: Conversion of data into a format that can be easily transported.

Data Lakehouse: A new form of system that combines the capabilities of data warehouses with the flexibility of data lakes.

ACID transactions: Transactions ensuring Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability.

Data Virtualization: An approach to data management where applications can retrieve and manipulate data without needing technical details about the data.

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