Hadoop Demystified: Everything You Need to Know

Hadoop Demystified: Everything You Need to Know | Data Science and Analytics | Emeritus

In the era where information fuels innovation, Hadoop is an indispensable engine for data analytics. As Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner Research, eloquently puts it, “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” If you want to become a Hadoop expert, you have come to the right place. We delve into what is Hadoop, what is it used for, and how it is different from traditional database systems, among other things.

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What is Hadoop and How Does it Handle Big Data Processing?

Hadoop is pivotal in big data processing. However, before getting into the nitty-gritty, let’s first understand what is Hadoop and what it is used for in big data. Essentially, Hadoop is a distributed storage and processing system designed for efficient data management. The short explanation is that Hadoop breaks down large data sets, distributing them across a cluster for parallel processing.

Along with knowing about this technology, analysts also need to know what a Hadoop cluster is and why it has become crucial. It is, simply put, a network of interconnected computers collaborating to process and analyze data. Each node of the cluster contributes processing power and storage capacity for simultaneous tasks.

So, what is Hadoop used for in big data? Its strength lies in handling massive data sets and ensuring scalability and fault tolerance. Whether storing or retrieving data or running complex queries, Hadoop excels at big data challenges.

In summary, Hadoop efficiently processes large-scale data using distributed computing across a cluster. It has grown exponentially at a remarkable rate of 40.3% in 2023. Thus, grasping this and its role in big data is paramount for analysts who have to tackle vast data sets.

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What are the Components of the Hadoop Ecosystem?

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Understanding what is Hadoop involves delving into the big data ecosystem. The essential components of Hadoop for processing big data are:

1. HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System)

This serves as the storage layer, breaking down and distributing large data sets across a cluster for efficient processing.

2. MapReduce

A programming model and processing engine for parallel data processing, MapReduce enables the handling of vast amounts of data across nodes.

3. YARN (Yet Another Resource Negotiator)

YARN manages and allocates resources in the cluster, ensuring optimal processing efficiency.

4. Hadoop Common

This Hadoop component houses utilities and libraries shared by other Hadoop modules, thus fostering seamless functionality.

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How is Hadoop Different From Traditional Database Systems?

Hadoop stands apart from traditional database systems, especially in managing large-scale data, making it a pivotal component of big data processing. Let’s look at the ways in which it differs:

1. Data Storage

Unlike traditional databases, Hadoop excels in handling vast data sets measured in terabytes and petabytes.

2. Schema

Hadoop’s adaptability with dynamic schemas on reading data distinguishes it from traditional databases with static schemas enforced on write.

3. Data Variety

Traditional databases are primarily used for structured data, whereas Hadoop handles structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data.

4. Hardware Profile

Unlike traditional databases relying on high-end servers, Hadoop utilizes cost-effective commodity and utility hardware for enhanced scalability in what is a Hadoop cluster.

5. Scalability

The horizontal scalability of Hadoop contrasts with the vertical scalability of traditional databases. This thus helps address the increased data volume common in big data applications.

6. Data Objects

Hadoop operates on key/value pair data structures, differentiating it from traditional databases focused on relational tables.

7. Integrity

Hadoop offers lower integrity, providing increased flexibility compared to traditional databases that maintain high integrity through ACID properties. ACID essentially ensures reliable database transactions with Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability, preserving the integrity and durability of data.

8. Throughput

Hadoop ensures high throughput for both reads and writes, a crucial aspect in big data processing, surpassing the lower throughput of traditional databases, showcasing what is Hadoop in big data.

9. Use Case

OLTP (Online Transaction Processing), which is real-time data processing for daily operations like transactions, is optimized for quick and frequent interactions in a database system. Complex ACID-based scenarios use traditional databases, whereas Hadoop is primarily employed for data discovery and storage. 

10. Speed

While traditional databases excel in fast reads, Hadoop optimizes both reads and writes for efficient processing speed.

11. Querying

Traditional databases use SQL language for querying, while Hadoop employs HQL (Hive Query Language) for efficient data retrieval, catering to the specific requirements of what is Hadoop used for.

12. Cost

Traditional databases incur licensing costs, but Hadoop is a cost-effective solution with free and open-source access.

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What are the Typical Use Cases for Hadoop in Data Engineering?

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Now that we have a clearer idea about what is Hadoop, it also becomes clear that it has versatile applications in data engineering. It, therefore, finds extensive applications across industries. The Global Hadoop Report 2024, published by the Business Research Company, attests to its significance, projecting the Hadoop market to reach $531.78 billion in 2028, boasting a remarkable annual growth of 38.7%.

Analytics and Big Data 

Many companies, including tech giants such as Google, harness Hadoop for research, production data processing, and analytics, managing terabytes or petabytes of big data.

Data Storage and Archiving

Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) exemplify Hadoop’s cost-effective solution for low-cost storage on commodity hardware. The platform excels in managing massive datasets for various data types, ranging from transactions to machine-generated data.

Improving Health Care Services

Hadoop facilitates medical institutions in monitoring vast health data. Researchers can analyze this data to identify health issues, predict medications, and determine treatment plans. These advancements empower countries to enhance their health services swiftly.

Data Lakes

General Electric and Walmart are notable adopters of Hadoop for constructing extensive data lakes. The ability to store unprocessed data aligns seamlessly with the concept of data lakes, providing these companies with versatile and scalable storage solutions.

Marketing Analytics

eBay and Amazon leverage Hadoop for in-depth marketing analytics, optimizing strategies to enhance customer experiences.

Risk Management

Financial institutions like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America integrate Hadoop for risk analysis and management. It scans market data with predefined settings to identify trading opportunities and seasonal trends.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Hadoop for Data Processing?

Let’s consider both sides of the coin and look at the pros and cons of Hadoop for data processing. To start off, the advantages are:

1. Scalability

Hadoop is a highly scalable model that excels at processing vast data quickly. Multiple inexpensive machines in a cluster process a large data set parallelly, leveraging a distributed computing model. Furthermore, it can adjust the number of computing nodes based on the requirements of the enterprises, providing flexibility in data processing.

2. Low Cost

What is Hadoop in big data most certainly is a cost-effective solution for big data storage and management. It is free to use as it is an open-source framework. Additionally, it is an inexpensive commodity hardware. In contrast, traditional databases require expensive hardware and high-end processors to deal with big data.

3. Flexibility

Hadoop allows data storage without preprocessing, granting organizations the flexibility to store extensive data sets effortlessly. This is a key characteristic of what is Hadoop when it comes to its usefulness for big data processing. It can also easily process any kind of data independent of its structure. Therefore, Hadoop helps in log processing, fraud detection, data warehousing, etc.

4. Resilience

Employing a distributed computing model, Hadoop ensures fault tolerance and system resilience. In Hadoop, data is replicated in clusters which ensures its availability if systems crash. If hardware nodes fail, the system automatically redirects jobs due to default data copying or replication. Hadoop makes three copies of each file block and stores it in different nodes. This thus offers a failsafe in case of potential failures within a Hadoop cluster.

Now let’s explore the disadvantages:

5. MapReduce Complexity

The MapReduce algorithm does not support all scenarios. It suits simple information requests and tasks that can be broken down into independent units but not for iterative tasks. It is inefficient for advanced analytic computing as iterative algorithms require intensive intercommunication. This also makes it file-intensive.

6. Security Challenges

When we learn what is Hadoop in big data processing, we should also consider that managing vast data sets in Hadoop raises concerns regarding data sensitivity and protection. Hadoop is written in Java, which is one of the most commonly used programming languages. This feature introduces security vulnerabilities, making it susceptible to exploitation by cybercriminals.

7. Talent Gap

Hadoop requires advanced skills in Java, operating systems, and hardware. Moreover, the steep learning curve of MapReduce further complicates onboarding new programmers, underscoring challenges in comprehending what is Hadoop, what is a Hadoop cluster, etc. Providers prefer using traditional database technologies over Hadoop because it can be difficult to find entry-level programmers with Java skills that are sufficient to be productive with MapReduce.

8. Governance and Management Gaps

Hadoop does not provide robust tools for data management, governance, and metadata. Furthermore, it lacks the required framework to maintain data quality and standardization, posing challenges in maintaining organized and standardized data.

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In conclusion, Hadoop is and will be an integral part of the workings of an organization. So, waste no time in catching this wave of exploring this technology and more. Get a prosperous and fulfilling career in data analytics and Big Data with Emeritus’ expertly designed data science courses. Your dream job awaits, so enroll today!

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About the Author

Senior Content Contributor, Emeritus Blog
Iha is the grammar guru turned content wizard who's mastered the delicate dance of correcting bad grammar and teaching people how to correctly pronounce her name. With a filmmaker's flair for marketing and digital media, she's the project ninja, flawlessly coordinating remote and in-person teams for 6+ years. When not conjuring captivating copy, she's delightfully torn between diving into 5 books or diving into endless series—decisions, decisions. Beware of her mischievous dog, who is always ready for a great escape!
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