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The MapReduce paradigm provides a scalable model for large scale data-intensive computing and associated fault-tolerance. With data production increasing daily due to ever growing application needs, scientific endeavors, and consumption, the MapReduce model and its implementations need to be further evaluated, improved, and strengthened. Several MapReduce frameworks with various degrees of conformance to the key tenets of the model are available today, each, optimized for specific features. HPC application and middleware developers must thus understand the complex dependencies between MapReduce features and their application. We present a standard benchmark suite for quantifying, comparing, and contrasting the performance of MapReduce platforms under a wide range of representative use cases. We report the performance of three different MapReduce implementations on the benchmarks, and draw conclusions about their current performance characteristics. The three platforms we chose for evaluation are the widely used Apache Hadoop implementation, Twister, which has been discussed in the literature, and LEMO-MR, our own implementation. The performance analysis we perform also throws light on the available design decisions for future implementations, and allows Grid researchers to choose the MapReduce implementation that best suits their application's needs.