YAML, ZAML, Marshal & JSON Benchmark in Ruby

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At Defensio, we recently needed to find out how slow YAML was compared to Marshal. We also wanted to know how much faster ZAML, an alternative to YAML, is.

I ran a few benchmarks under 1.8.7 MRI, 1.8.7 REE, 1.9.2 and Rubinius to see how they compare. I also benchmarked to_json to have an order of magnitude. My benchmarks consist of serializing/deserializing a relatively complex Hash (many nested levels). The YAML representation of the Hash is ~3kb.


  • YAML is really slow

  • YAML is twice as fast under 1.9.2 vs 1.8.7

  • ZAML is much faster than YAML under 1.8.7, but about the same in 1.9.2

  • REE (no GC tweaks) isn’t faster in this situation

  • Rubinius is ridiculously slow

  • Psych under Ruby 1.9.2 is disappointing

Here are the results:

[gist id=707375]

If you want to benchmark on your machine, here’s the source code. Sorry, I couldn’t include the YAML string as it is confidential data.

[gist id=707372]