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Optimizing Trino using spot instances with Zillow

In this installment of the Trino Summit 2022 sessions posts, we jump into an exciting topic by folks from Zillow about running Trino on spot instances. Spot instances are cheap and ephemeral nodes that lead to reduced overall compute costs. Spot instances are cheaper as they are not guaranteed to remain available.

In this session, Zillow engineers talk about how they use Trino on spots to take advantage of the cost savings while handling the transitory nature of spots.

Check out the slides!


Zillow’s BI platform team is tasked with enabling access to data and metrics from their data lake in a self-serving and performant manner. The platform must handle generating up-to-date reports and metrics to unlock time-critical opportunities. They also need to enable adhoc analytics across multiple domains within Zillow.

There are close to 600 data pipelines and 65,000 queries running daily. The average read covers 600 terabytes of data, and the average P95 time is around 20 seconds. They have six Trino clusters that service various workflows based on load. These are all deployed on Amazon EKS with a range of eight to 60 workers based on CPU utilization.

When deploying Trino on EKS, Zillow uses worker groups, which enables them to collocate nodes in AWS local zones. It also made it possible to choose spot instances, which are 90% cheaper than regular on-demand instances. A critical aspect they needed to cover was to correctly tune the percentage of nodes that were spot instances. They created pools of nodes that were entirely on-demand for coordinators since a coordinator going down, brings down the entire cluster. Other pools used for workers are tuned to an optimal blend of spot and on-demand.

Watch this session to learn how to properly optimize the number of spot instances running for your Trino clusters, without losing reliability of your service. Also learn some ways that Zillow is planning on using the fault-tolerant execution mode.

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