TDWI Blog: Data 360

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HDFS Clusters and Nodes

By Philip Russom, TDWI Research Director

[NOTE -- My new TDWI report “Integrating Hadoop into Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Warehousing (DW)” (Hadoop4BIDW) is finished and will be published in early April. I will broadcast the report’s Webinar on April 9, 2013 at noon ET. In the meantime, I’ll leak a few of the report’s findings in this blog series. Search Twitter for #Hadoop4BIDW, #Hadoop, and #TDWI to find other leaks. Enjoy!]

Number of HDFS clusters per enterprise. One way to measure the adoption of HDFS is to count the number of HDFS clusters per enterprise. Since far more people have downloaded HDFS and other Hadoop products than have actually put them to enterprise use, it’s best to only count those clusters that are in production use. The vast majority of survey respondents (and, by extension, most user organizations) do not have HDFS clusters in production. So, this report identified 32 respondents who do, and asked them about their clusters. (See Figure 13 above.)

When asked how many HDFS clusters are in production, 32 survey respondents replied in the range one to one hundred. Most responses were single digit integers, which drove the average number of HDFS clusters down to 12 and the median down to 2. Parsing users’ responses reveals that over half of respondents have only one or two clusters in production enterprise-wide at the moment, although one fifth have 50 or more.
Note that ownership of Hadoop products can vary, as discussed earlier, thereby affecting the number of HDFS clusters. Sometimes central IT provides a single, very large HDFS cluster for shared use by departments across an enterprise. And sometimes departments and development teams have their own.

Number of nodes per HDFS cluster. We can also measure HDFS cluster maturity by counting the number of nodes in the average cluster. Again, the most meaningful count comes from clusters that are in production. (See Figure 14 above.)

When asked how many nodes are in the HDFS cluster most often used by the survey respondent, respondents replied in the range one to six hundred and twenty, where one third of responses were single digit. That comes to 45 nodes per production cluster on average, with the median at 12. Half of the HDFS clusters in production surveyed here have 12 or fewer nodes, although one quarter have 50 or more.

To add a few more data points to this discussion, people who work in large Internet firms have presented at TDWI conferences, talking about HDFS clusters with approximately one thousand nodes. However, speakers discussing fairly mature HDFS usage specifically in data warehousing usually have clusters in the fifty to one-hundred node range. Proof-of-concept clusters observed by TDWI typically have four to eight nodes, whereas development clusters may have but one or two.

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Posted by Philip Russom, Ph.D. on March 29, 2013


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