yoyoclouds

just another cloudy day….

HDFS Introduction

on December 15, 2011

HDFS Introduction

HDFS, the Hadoop Distributed File System, is a distributed file system designed to hold very large amounts of data (terabytes or even petabytes), and provide high-throughput access to this information. Files are stored in a redundant fashion across multiple machines to ensure their durability to failure and high availability to very parallel applications. This module introduces the design of this distributed file system and instructions on how to operate it.
A distributed file system is designed to hold a large amount of data and provide access to this data to many clients distributed across a network. There are a number of distributed file systems that solve this problem in different ways.
NFS, the Network File System, is the most ubiquitous distributed file system. It is one of the oldest still in use. While its design is straightforward, it is also very constrained. NFS provides remote access to a single logical volume stored on a single machine. An NFS server makes a portion of its local file system visible to external clients. The clients can then mount this remote file system directly into their own Linux file system, and interact with it as though it were part of the local drive.
One of the primary advantages of this model is its transparency. Clients do not need to be particularly aware that they are working on files stored remotely. The existing standard library methods like open(), close(), fread(), etc. will work on files hosted over NFS.

But as a distributed file system, it is limited in its power. The files in an NFS volume all reside on a single machine. This means that it will only store as much information as can be stored in one machine, and does not provide any reliability guarantees if that machine goes down (e.g., by replicating the files to other servers). Finally, as all the data is stored on a single machine, all the clients must go to this machine to retrieve their data. This can overload the server if a large number of clients must be handled. Clients must also always copy the data to their local machines before they can operate on it.
______________________________________________________________________________________________
HDFS is designed to be robust to a number of the problems that other DFS’s such as NFS are vulnerable to. In particular:

* HDFS is designed to store a very large amount of information (terabytes or petabytes). This requires spreading the data across a large number of machines. It also supports much larger file sizes than NFS.

* HDFS should store data reliably. If individual machines in the cluster malfunction, data should still be available.

* HDFS should provide fast, scalable access to this information. It should be possible to serve a larger number of clients by simply adding more machines to the cluster.

* HDFS should integrate well with Hadoop MapReduce, allowing data to be read and computed upon locally when possible.
But while HDFS is very scalable, its high performance design also restricts it to a particular class of applications; it is not as general-purpose as NFS. There are a large number of additional decisions and trade-offs that were made with HDFS. In particular:
* Applications that use HDFS are assumed to perform long sequential streaming reads from files. HDFS is optimized to provide streaming read performance; this comes at the expense of random seek times to arbitrary positions in files.

* Data will be written to the HDFS once and then read several times; updates to files after they have already been closed are not supported. (An extension to Hadoop will provide support for appending new data to the ends of files; it is scheduled to be included in Hadoop 0.19 but is not available yet.)

* Due to the large size of files, and the sequential nature of reads, the system does not provide a mechanism for local caching of data. The overhead of caching is great enough that data should simply be re-read from HDFS source.

* Individual machines are assumed to fail on a frequent basis, both permanently and intermittently. The cluster must be able to withstand the complete failure of several machines, possibly many happening at the same time (e.g., if a rack fails all together). While performance may degrade proportional to the number of machines lost, the system as a whole should not become overly slow, nor should information be lost. Data replication strategies combat this problem.

The design of HDFS is based on the design of GFS, the Google File System. Its design was described in a paper published by Google.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: