At the StampedeCon 2015 Big Data Conference: Picking your distribution and platform is just the first decision of many you need to make in order to create a successful data ecosystem. In addition to things like replication factor and node configuration, the choice of file format can have a profound impact on cluster performance. Each of the data formats have different strengths and weaknesses, depending on how you want to store and retrieve your data. For instance, we have observed performance differences on the order of 25x between Parquet and Plain Text files for certain workloads. However, it isn’t the case that one is always better than the others.