How to “crunch” your data stored in HDFS?

HDFS stores huge amount of data but storing it is worthless if you cannot analyse it and obtain information.

Option #1 : Hadoop : the Map/Reduce engine

Hadoop Overview

Hadoop is a Map/Reduce framework that works on HDFS or on HBase. The main idea is to decompose a job into several and identical tasks that can be executed closer to the data (on the DataNode). In addition, each task is parallelized : the Map phase. Then all these intermediate results are merged into one result : the Reduce phase.

In Hadoop, The JobTracker (a java process) is responsible for monitoring the job, managing the Map/Reduce phase, managing the retries in case of errors. The TaskTrackers (Java process) are running on the different DataNodes. Each TaskTracker executes the tasks of the job on the locally stored data.

Hadoop also provides tools to supervise current jobs and hadoop engine (http://localhost:50030/jobtracker.jsp).

Data and process co- localization

HDFS and Hadoop have been designed to avoid data transit over the network and so, limiting the high-bandwith consumption. This pattern is often called “localization” and is frequently implemented in number of data or calculation grids. The main idea is that instead of moving the data from the storage layer to the application layer (and thus consuming bandwidth), the processes are pushed to the storage layer, closer to where the data is physically stored. In a certain way, this is what SQL does in the relational world.

Thus, each process works with the locally stored data.

Querying data using Hadoop

Let’s say you have the following sample stored in HDFS and you would like to get the total amount (CREDIT – DEBIT) of all these lines aggregated by currency (EUR, USD…).

GED	EQSWAP	John	13/09/2010	EUR	10000	Debit	SG
GED	EQSWAP	John	15/09/2010	EUR	10200	Credit	SG
GED	SWAPTION	John	14/09/2010	EUR	11000	Credit	HSBC
GED	SWAPTION	John	15/09/2010	EUR	5500	Debit	HSBC
GED	SWAPTION	John	16/09/2010	EUR	5500	Debit	HSBC
GED	SWAPTION	John	15/09/2010	EUR	11000	Debit	HSBC
GED	SWAPTION	John	16/09/2010	EUR	5500	Credit	HSBC
GED	SWAPTION	John	17/09/2010	EUR	5500	Credit	HSBC
IRD	IRS	Simon	13/09/2010	USD	10000	Debit	SG
IRD	IRS	Simon	15/09/2010	USD	10200	Credit	SG
IRD	IRS	Simon	14/09/2010	USD	11000	Credit	BankofAmerica
IRD	IRS	Simon	15/09/2010	USD	5500	Debit	BankofAmerica
IRD	IRS	Simon	16/09/2010	USD	5500	Debit	BankofAmerica

Here is what you will have to write in Hadoop…

The Map phase : create maps in which the key will be the currency and the value the signed amount
The Mapper will read the specified input file and call the map() method for each line of the file.

* Key In, Value In, Key out, Value out
 public static class Map extends MapReduceBase implements Mapper {
      public void map(LongWritable key, Text value, OutputCollector output, Reporter reporter) throws IOException {
        String line = value.toString();
        String[] lineAsArray = line.split("\t");
        String currentCurrency = lineAsArray[4];
        String amountAsString = lineAsArray[5];
        String sens = lineAsArray[6];
        DoubleWritable data = null;
        	data = new DoubleWritable(Double.parseDouble("-" + amountAsString));
        else if("Credit".equals(sens)) {
        	data = new DoubleWritable(Double.parseDouble(amountAsString));
        output.collect(new Text(currentCurrency), data);

The Reduce phase : sum all the operations grouped by currency
The Reducer will then collect all the previously created map on the different nodes and do what you define in the reduce() method. The reduce() method is called for each key specified as output of the map. In our case, we have two different keys : the two distinct currencies. So the reduce() method is called twice with this kind of map

EUR	-10000,10200,11000...
USD	10000,...

The “values” argument (see the code sample beside) of the reduce() method is the list of amount grouped by key. Hadoop has sorted the data this way for you :

//The reduce is called once per key in the output map of the map() function
 public static class Reduce extends MapReduceBase implements Reducer {
	public void reduce(Text key, Iterator values, OutputCollector output, Reporter reporter) throws IOException {
        double sum = 0;
        while (values.hasNext()) {
        	double amount =;
        	sum += amount;
        output.collect(key, new DoubleWritable(sum));

Run the job on Hadoop
Then of course, you have to code the main class that specifies job configuration, can overwrite default xml configuration…

public class CurrencyAggregate extends Configured implements Tool {
public int run(String[] args) throws Exception{
	JobConf conf = new JobConf(CurrencyAggregate.class);
	//output of the Mapper


	FileInputFormat.setInputPaths(conf, new Path(args[0]));
	FileOutputFormat.setOutputPath(conf, new Path(args[1]));

return 0;
public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
	int exitCode = CurrencyAggregate(), args);

Note : To develop your job, you can work locally using the Standalone Operations defined here. In that case, the master and slaves are configured as “local” and therefore, Hadoop uses the local file system and not HDFS.

You can then launch your job on Hadoop with the following command line (the first argument is the input file, the second one the folder where the results will be stored) :

$HADOOP_HOME/bin/hadoop jar ./Currency.jar org.CurrencyAggregate /tmp/cashflow-clean.txt /tmp/output10

and you get the following results in the folder /tmp/output10/part-00000

EUR	200.0
USD	200.0

Hadoop Installation & Configuration

To run Hadoop, you need a proper installation of HDFS. You also need to modify the mapred-site.xml file on all machines to define the JobTracker :


Thus, you are able to define other properties in it :
mapred.local.dir , the local directory where temporary MapReduce data is stored. It also mahy be a list of directories. and mapred.reduce.tasks, the number of map or reduce tasks

Once the Hadoop cluster is configured, you can start Hadoop with the following command ( (HDFS must be running)


Option #2 – Doing Map/Reduce can be complex, so we need a “DSL” : Hive or Pig

There are two high-level languages that have been developed to work on top of Hadoop:
Pig which provides a specific script language. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time to investigate this further for the moment. I will try to do so in a near future.
Hive which provides a limited SQL-like language (for instance, Date type is not supported…).

Hive Overview and Usage

Hive works on top of Hadoop and transforms Hive Query Langage statements into Map/Reduce jobs.

source :

The Driver, Compiler and Executor components are responsible for receiving, parsing the query and generating a set of map/reduce job, dfs operations…
The metastore stores the information on the different “tables”, “columns” stored in the HDFS warehouse. This link provides a deep overview of Hive. Hive supports different data types : INT, STRING, DOUBLE.

So, you can define tables in the same way as you will think of tables in the relational paradigm. Hive does not manage Date type so you will have to use timestamp instead…Thus my previous file…

GED	EQSWAP	John	13/09/2010	EUR	10000	Debit	SG
GED	EQSWAP	John	15/09/2010	EUR	10200	Credit	SG

…has to be converted this way…

GED	EQSWAP	John	1284354000	EUR	10000	Debit	SG
GED	EQSWAP	John	1284526800	EUR	10200	Credit	SG

Then, you can create the table

Currency STRING, Amount DOUBLE, Direction STRING, Counterparty STRING)

Load data into these tables from you local file system. The file will then be put into HDFS (typically in the folder /user/hive/warehouse) :

LOAD DATA LOCAL INPATH '/home/user/cash-flow/cashflow-clean.txt'

from HDFS if your datas are already on HDFS

LOAD DATA INPATH '/data/cashflow-clean.txt'

or without overwriting the datas

LOAD DATA LOCAL INPATH '/home/user/hive/build/dist/examples/files/ml-data/'
INTO TABLE u_data;

note : I have still not tested it but Cloudera provides Sqoop: a tool designed to import relational database into Hadoop or even Hive…It also seems that Sqoop offers the capability to export Map/Reduce results into a relational database.

Select datas into these tables in SQL manner

Remember the sample written in option#1. You can then easily get the sum of all the operations ‘Credit’ grouped by currencies

select Currency, sum(Amount)
from cash_flow where Direction='Credit' group by Currency;

or filtering them by due date

select Currency, sum(Amount)
from cash_flow
where Direction='Credit' AND DueDate < = unix_timestamp('2010-09-15 00:00:00')
group by Currency;

You can then run the same query with the operation in “Debit” and you will get your balance.
You can even join tables

SELECT cash_flow_simple.*,user_simple.*
FROM cash_flow_simple
JOIN user_simple ON (cash_flow_simple.TraderID=user_simple.UserID);

Hive provides other complex functions like sub queries, union, partitions, different relational, arithmetic or operational operators and mathematical or date functions…And in the case you have more specific needs, you can also define your own functions and extend Hive functionalities.

Hive clients : Hive-cli, JDBC, ODBC…

To connect to Hive, you have several options. The simplest one is certainly the Hive-Cli (or even the web client interface); a shell that enables you to query your HDFS. But moreover, you can use JDBC (need to start a Hive Server $HIVE_HOME/build/dist/bin/hive --service hiveserver) to connect to Hive : a way to build great user interface on top of your HDFS.

note : when writing these couple of lines, the trunk version of Hive does not compile with the version 0.21.0 of Hadoop. PreparedStatement are not implemented in the 0.7.0 version of the Hive JDBC Driver

Hive installation

Once again, Hive installation is not a big deal and all is well explained here
Of course, you need the Hadoop distribution installed on the machines, define a couple of constants like HADOOP_HOME and HIVE_HOME
By default, Hive will store the data on HDFS in the folder /user/hive/warehouse

./bin/hadoop fs -mkdir /user/hive/warehouse
./bin/hadoop fs -chmod g+w /user/hive/warehouse

aka. the hive.metastore.warehouse.dir property that can be overridden in the hive-site.xml configuration file.

From an operational point of view, Adobe released a couple of puppet scripts to manage Hadoop cluster or dynamically add slave nodes.

Hadoop, Hive and Pig use-cases

There are several companies that use Hadoop and Hive or Pig to collect and analyse data. Of course, Yahoo! has one of the biggest data warehouse with more than 12 Petabytes of datas. Twitter collects 300Go per hours
Facebook stores 12 To per day and provides an easier access to the data warehouse (200 persons / month use Hive)
There are also “smaller” companies that use Hadoop. uses Hadoop for site stats, chart, reporting, index search…Orbitz stores 500Go per day in Hadoop and provides lots of statistics by integrating the R-project. Research field is also using Hadoop (….).

Software companies are also deeply interested in Hadoop. IBM has developped a product based on Hadoop named IBM Infosphere BigInsights…Teradata has announced [] its willingness to use Hadoop. Pentaho begins to offer an integration between Hive and its reporting or BI Suite.

Remember, noSQL is also about Business Intelligence…

6 commentaires sur “How to “crunch” your data stored in HDFS?”

  • Hadoop @ Bank Of America : Unfortunately a high level talks but compare SAS and Hadoop (on unknown use cases and infrastructure...) 15 GB : SAS 9 min | Hadoop 9 min 64 GB : SAS 45 min | Hadoop 9 min 640 GB : SAS N/A | Hadoop 28 min Check also the last 2 minutes videos (around minute 18).
  • Hi, Thank you for explaining hadoop and hive in a nutshell.I am really impressed by your article.I am new to hadoop and just now started with hadoop programming. I have a working hive/hadoop cluster with 4 nodes. I am using the following versions in hadoop and hive . hadoop 0.20.0 version and hive 0.4.1 from apache web site. I wish to develop a multitenant web application using J2EE.And the tenant information will be stored in HDFS. I had worked with simple HQL queries (to access the tables directly)but i dont know how to execute such query via a web application. Could you tell me the procedure to include a hive query in a typical java program (have worked in sql+ java).Is that to be done using JDBC? I have gone through the link /Hive/HiveClient#JDBC_Client_Sample_Code, but am still not sure about the actual procedure. Also u had mentioned that prepared statement is not supported in hive 0.7.0 version. Will Cloudera has resolved all these issues in its hadoop distribution? Regarding Hive, Is there any other way(other than using sqoop) to have the query results in a (in hdfs)file? Actually i don't want to save the query result in a table manually. Or where the results of (hive query results)map/reduce jobs will be stored? Please clarify.Kindly send your suggestions and ideas which will help me to get a better insight in this project. Thank you for spending your valuable time. Regards, Sangita Kindly clarify my doubts though it seems to be
  • Hi sangita, with Hive, you can write to the HDFS using statement like INSERT OVERWRITE [LOCAL] DIRECTORY directory1 SELECT ... FROM ... If you use LOCAL, the result is written to the local FS and not the HDFS. You can also store result set in another table with a statement that looks like CREATE TABLE AS SELECT * FROM ... You can call Hive from your java code directly with the JDBC API (and Statement API). this is the same code. check the doc : You can also check Pig. you will have to learn a new script langage but pig is well to describe flow of operations on a dataset. From the Java side, the API are different.
  • So hive works on top hadoop? As i understand Hadoop is a batch processing system. So Hive queries get converted into batch files?
  • Very nice article and very nice outbound links as well. I love the Orbitz example. Exactly what I was looking for - how to use Hadoop, Hive and R
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