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https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/ACCUMULO-4468?page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel&focusedCommentId=15513602#comment-15513602
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Keith Turner commented on ACCUMULO-4468:
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bq. That said, maybe there would be benefits to storing all the pieces of the 
Key in a single byte array, and maintaining indices into it to track the 
individual parts, rather than several smaller arrays...

Key used to be like that (one large byte array with pointers).  I changed it 
when adding support for relative compression in rfile.  The reasoning behind 
the change was so that when rfile deserializes a key and a field is the same as 
the last key, it can just point to the previous byte array.  This makes 
equality comparisons on rows or columns that are the same really fast (because 
the byte array is the same and equality checks that).  The code that serializes 
keys and transfers them across the network also does this.  So it may be 
interesting to have the test stream keys from an RFile.

bq. I think it would be worth revisiting the comparison mechanism in isEqual, 
too, doing something like the Unsafe method used in Hadoop's 
FastByteComparisons class but going in reverse.

Thats sounds like an interesting line of investigation.  The compare methods 
could also leverage this technique.  We may have an issue open for this already.

> accumulo.core.data.Key.equals(Key, PartialKey) improvement
> ----------------------------------------------------------
>
>                 Key: ACCUMULO-4468
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/ACCUMULO-4468
>             Project: Accumulo
>          Issue Type: Improvement
>          Components: core
>    Affects Versions: 1.8.0
>            Reporter: Will Murnane
>            Priority: Trivial
>              Labels: newbie, performance
>         Attachments: benchmark.tar.gz, key_comparison.patch
>
>
> In the Key.equals(Key, PartialKey) overload, the current method compares 
> starting at the beginning of the key, and works its way toward the end. This 
> functions correctly, of course, but one of the typical uses of this method is 
> to compare adjacent rows to break them into larger chunks. For example, 
> accumulo.core.iterators.Combiner repeatedly calls this method with subsequent 
> pairs of keys.
> I have a patch which reverses the comparison order. That is, if the method is 
> called with ROW_COLFAM_COLQUAL_COLVIS, it will compare visibility, cq, cf, 
> and finally row. This (marginally) improves the speed of comparisons in the 
> relatively common case where only the last part is changing, with less 
> complex code.



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