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Compare various data serialization libraries for C++.


This project does not have any external serialization libraries dependencies. All (boost, thrift etc.) needed libraries are downloaded and built automatically, but you need enough free disk space (approx. 2.3G) to build all components. To build this project you need a compiler that supports C++14 features. Project was tested with Clang and GCC compilers.

  1. git clone
  2. cd cpp-serializers
  3. mkdir build
  4. cd build
  5. cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..
  6. cmake --build .


$ ./benchmark -h
Benchmark various C++ serializers
  benchmark [OPTION...]

  -h, --help             show this help and exit
  -l, --list             show list of supported serializers
  -c, --csv              output in CSV format
  -i, --iterations arg   number of serialize/deserialize iterations
  -s, --serializers arg  comma separated list of serializers to benchmark
  • Benchmark all serializers, run each serializer 100000 times:
$ ./benchmark -i 100000
  • Benchmark only protobuf serializer, run it 100000 times:
$ ./benchmark -i 100000 -s protobuf
  • Benchmark protobuf and cereal serializers only, run each of them 100000 times:
$ ./benchmark -i 100000 -s protobuf,cereal


Following results were obtained running 1000000 serialize-deserialize operations 50 times and then averaging results on a typical desktop computer with Intel Core i7 processor running Ubuntu 16.04. Exact versions of libraries used are:

  • thrift 0.12.0
  • protobuf 3.7.0
  • boost 1.69.0
  • msgpack 3.1.1
  • cereal 1.2.2
  • avro 1.8.2
  • capnproto 0.7.0
  • flatbuffers 1.10.0
  • YAS 7.0.2
serializer object's size avg. total time
thrift-binary 17017 1190.22
thrift-compact 13378 3474.32
protobuf 16116 2312.78
boost 17470 1195.04
msgpack 13402 2560.6
cereal 17416 1052.46
avro 16384 4488.18
yas 17416 302.7
yas-compact 13321 2063.34





For capnproto and flatbuffers since they already store data in a "serialized" form and serialization basically means getting pointer to the internal storage, we measure full build/serialize/deserialize cycle. In the case of other libraries we measure serialize/deserialize cycle of the already built data structure.

serializer object's size avg. total time
capnproto 17768 400.98
flatbuffers 17632 491.5


Size measured in bytes, time measured in milliseconds.

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