Introduction to Big Data & Hadoop Ecosystem – Part 3


Having introduced various components of Hadoop Ecosystem in part 1 and part 2, the last part of this series covers Hive, HBase, Mahout, Sqoop and ZooKeeper.


Apache Hive is a data warehouse infrastructure built on top of Hadoop for providing data summarization, query and analysis.

Using Hadoop was not easy for end users, especially for the ones who were not familiar with MapReduce framework. End users had to write map/reduce programs for simple tasks like getting raw counts or averages. Hive was created to make it possible for analysts with strong SQL skills (but meager Java programming skills) to run queries on the huge volumes of data to extract patterns and meaningful information. It provides an SQL-like language called HiveQL while maintaining full support for map/reduce. In short, a Hive query is converted to MapReduce tasks.

The main building blocks of Hive are –

  1. Metastore stores the system catalog and metadata about tables, columns, partitions, etc.
  2. Driver manages the lifecycle of a HiveQL statement as it moves through Hive
  3. Query Compiler compiles HiveQL into a directed acyclic graph for MapReduce tasks
  4. Execution Engine executes the tasks produced by the compiler in proper dependency order
  5. HiveServer provides a Thrift interface and a JDBC / ODBC server


As HDFS is an append-only filesystem, the need for modifications at arbitrary offsets arose quickly. HBase is the Hadoop application to use when you require real-time read/write random-access to very large datasets. It is a distributed column-oriented database built on top of HDFS. HBase is not relational and does not support SQL, but given the proper problem space, it is able to do what an RDBMS cannot: host very large, sparsely populated tables on clusters made from commodity hardware.

HBase is modeled with an HBase master node orchestrating a cluster of one or more regionserver slaves. The HBase master is responsible for bootstrapping a virgin install, for assigning regions to registered regionservers, and for recovering regionserver failures. The regionservers carry zero or more regions and field client read/write requests.

HBase depends on ZooKeeper and by default it manages a ZooKeeper instance as the authority on cluster state. HBase hosts vital information such as the location of the root catalog table and the address of the current cluster Master. Assignment of regions is mediated via ZooKeeper in case participating servers crash mid-assignment.


The success of companies and individuals in the data age depends on how quickly and efficiently they turn vast amounts of data into actionable information. Whether it’s for processing hundreds or thousands of personal e-mail messages a day or divining user intent from petabytes of weblogs, the need for tools that can organize and enhance data has never been greater. Therein lies the premise and the promise of the field of machine learning.

How do we easily move all these concepts to big data? Welcome Mahout!

Mahout is an open source machine learning library from Apache. It’s highly scalable. Mahout aims to be the machine learning tool of choice when the collection of data to be processed is very large, perhaps far too large for a single machine. At the moment, it primarily implements recommender engines (collaborative filtering), clustering, and classification.

Recommender engines try to infer tastes and preferences and identify unknown items that are of interest. Clustering attempts to group a large number of things together into clusters that share some similarity. It’s a way to discover hierarchy and order in a large or hard-to-understand data set. Classification decides how much a thing is or isn’t part of some type or category, or how much it does or doesn’t have some attribute.


Loading bulk data into Hadoop from production systems or accessing it from map-reduce applications running on large clusters can be a challenging task. Transferring data using scripts is inefficient and time-consuming.

How do we efficiently move data from an external storage into HDFS or Hive or HBase? Meet Apache Sqoop. Sqoop allows easy import and export of data from structured data stores such as relational databases, enterprise data warehouses, and NoSQL systems. The dataset being transferred is sliced up into different partitions and a map-only job is launched with individual mappers responsible for transferring a slice of this dataset.


ZooKeeper is a distributed, open-source coordination service for distributed applications. It exposes a simple set of primitives that distributed applications can build upon to implement higher level services for synchronization, configuration maintenance, and groups and naming.

Coordination services are notoriously hard to get right. They are especially prone to errors such as race conditions and deadlock. The motivation behind ZooKeeper is to relieve distributed applications the responsibility of implementing coordination services from scratch.

ZooKeeper allows distributed processes to coordinate with each other through a shared hierarchical namespace which is organized similarly to a standard file system. The name space consists of data registers - called znodes, and these are similar to files and directories. ZooKeeper data is kept in-memory, which means it can achieve high throughput and low latency numbers.

For more information, please refer the following –

About the authors:

Harish Ganesan is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Co-Founder of 8KMiles and is responsible for the overall technology direction of its products and services. Harish Ganesan holds a management degree from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Master of Computer Applications from Bharathidasan University , India.

Vijay is the Big Data Lead at 8KMiles and has 5+ years of experience in architecting Large Scale Distributed Web Systems and engineering Information Systems - Retrieval, Extraction & Management. He holds M. Tech in Information Retrieval from IIIT-B.


Updates from around the world