hdfs filesystem coherency model,distcp and cluster balancing

A coherency model for a filesystem describes the data visibility of reads and writes for a file. HDFS trades off some POSIX requirements for performance, so some operations may behave differently than you expect them to.

After creating a file, it is visible in the filesystem namespace, as expected. However, any content written to the file is not guaranteed to be visible, even if the stream is flushed. So, the file appears to have a length of zero. Once more than a block’s worth of data has been written, the first block will be visible to new readers. This is true of subsequent blocks, too: it is always the current block being
written that is not visible to other readers.

HDFS provides a way to force all buffers to be flushed to the datanodes via the hflush() method on FSDataOutputStream. After a successful return from hflush(), HDFS guarantees that the data written up to that point in the file has reached all the datanodes in the write pipeline and is visible to all new readers

Note : hflush() does not guarantee that the datanodes have written the data to disk, only that it’s in the datanodes’ memory (so in the event of a data center power outage, for example, data could be lost). For this stronger guarantee, use hsync() instead.


Note : The hadoop coherency model has implications for the way you design applications. With no calls to hflush() or hsync(), you should be prepared to lose up to a block of data in the event of client or system failure. For many applications, this is unacceptable, so you should call hflush() at suitable points, such as after writing a certain number of records or number of bytes. Though the hflush() operation is designed to not unduly tax HDFS, it does have some overhead (and hsync() has more), so there is a trade-off between data robustness and throughput.Note that hflush() does not guarantee that the datanodes have written the data to disk, only that it’s in the datanodes’ memory (so in the event of a data center power outage, for example, data could be lost). For this stronger guarantee, use hsync() instead.



distcp is a hadoop tool that can be used for copying data to and from Hadoop filesystems in parallel.
For example, you can copy one file to another with command

hadoop distcp file1 file2

You can also copy directories with the command

hadoop distcp dir1 dir2

If dir2 does not exist, it will be created, and the contents of the dir1 directory will be copied there. You can specify multiple source paths, and all will be copied to the destination. If dir2 already exists, then dir1 will be copied under it, creating the directory structure dir2/dir1. If this isn’t what you want, you can supply the -overwrite option to keep the same directory structure and force files to be overwritten. You can also update only the files that have changed using the -update option.

hadoop distcp -update dir1 dir2

distcp is implemented as a MapReduce job where the work of copying is done by the maps that run in parallel across the cluster. There are no reducers.By default, up to 20 maps are used, but this can be changed by specifying the -m argument to distcp.

A very common use case for distcp is for transferring data between two HDFS clusters.
For example, the following creates a backup of the first cluster’s /foo directory on the second

hadoop distcp -update -delete -p hdfs://namenode1/foo hdfs://namenode2/foo

The -delete flag causes distcp to delete any files or directories from the destination that are not present in the source, and -p means that file status attributes like permissions, block size, and replication are preserved. You can run distcp with no arguments to see precise usage instructions. If the two clusters are running incompatible versions of HDFS, then you can use the webhdfs protocol to distcp between them

hadoop distcp webhdfs://namenode1:50070/foo webhdfs://namenode2:50070/foo

HDFS Cluster Balanced

When copying data into HDFS, it’s important to consider cluster balance. HDFS works best when the file blocks are evenly spread across the cluster, so you want to ensure that distcp doesn’t disrupt this. For example, if you specified -m 1, a single map would do the copy, which—apart from being slow and not using the cluster resources efficiently—would mean that the first replica of each block would reside on the node running the map (until the disk filled up). The second and third replicas would be spread across the cluster, but this one node would be unbalanced. By having more maps than nodes in the cluster, this problem is avoided. For this reason, it’s best to start by running distcp with the default of 20 maps per node.

Hadoop has a balancer tool to subsequently even out the block distribution across the cluster . The balancer program is a Hadoop daemon that redistributes blocks by moving them from overutilized datanodes to underutilized datanodes, while adhering to the block replica placement policy that makes data loss unlikely by placing block replicas on different racks.

You can start the balancer with:

% start-balancer.sh

The balancer is designed to run in the background without unduly taxing the cluster or interfering with other clients using the cluster. It limits the bandwidth that it uses to copy a block from one node to another. The default is a modest 1 MB/s, but this can be changed by setting the dfs.datanode.balance.bandwidthPerSec property in hdfssite.xml, specified in bytes.

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