The Hadoop Distributed Filesystem: Balancing Portability and Performance

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Executive Summary

Hadoop is a popular open-source implementation of MapReduce for the analysis of large datasets. To manage storage resources across the cluster, Hadoop uses a distributed user-level filesystem. This filesystem - HDFS - is written in Java and designed for portability across heterogeneous hardware and software platforms. This paper analyzes the performance of HDFS and uncovers several performance issues. First, architectural bottlenecks exist in the Hadoop implementation that result in inefficient HDFS usage due to delays in scheduling new MapReduce tasks. Second, portability limitations prevent the Java implementation from exploiting features of the native platform. Third, HDFS implicitly makes portability assumptions about how the native platform manages storage resources, even though native filesystems and I/O schedulers vary widely in design and behavior.

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