We present Stratosphere, an open-source software stack for parallel data analysis. Stratosphere brings together a unique set of features that allow the expressive, easy, and efficient programming of analytical applications at very large scale. Stratosphere’s features include ‘in situ’ data processing, a declarative query language, treatment of user-defined functions as first-class citizens, automatic program parallelization and optimization, support for iterative programs, and a scalable and efficient execution engine. Stratosphere covers a variety of ‘Big Data’ use cases, such as data warehousing, information extraction and integration, data cleansing, graph analysis, and statistical analysis applications. In this paper, we present the overall system architecture design decisions, introduce Stratosphere through example queries, and then dive into the internal workings of the system’s components that relate to extensibility, programming model, optimization, and query execution. We experimentally compare Stratosphere against popular open-source alternatives, and we conclude with a research outlook for the next years.