Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: Symbian, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Symbian: Article

Exclusive Q&A with Rob Weltman, Director of Grid Services, Yahoo!

Cloud-Based Tools Like Hadoop Are Booming Says Yahoo Exec

Cloud-based tools, including large-scale data-intensive computing as offered by Hadoop, are key to the rise and rise of cloud computing. In this wide-ranging Exclusive Q&A with SYS-CON's Cloud Computing Journal, the Director of Grid Services at Yahoo! - Rob Weltman - explains to Jeremy Geelan, Conference Chair of SYS-CON's 1st International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo held last week in San Jose, CA, how analyzing and learning from ever-growing volumes of business data is essential to continuously refining and improving service offerings.

Cloud Computing Journal: Yahoo! has been the largest contributor to the Hadoop project and uses Hadoop extensively in its Web search and advertising businesses. Can you explain a little of the background to that?
Rob Weltman: Yahoo! Search (and before it Inktomi) was a pioneer in using large clusters of commodity computers to speed up the crawling and indexing of Web sites. While working on the architecture and design of the next generation of Web Search crawling and indexing, we came in touch with Doug Cutting and the open source Lucene project for text indexing/search. Lucene contained a distributed file system with integrated computation using the map-reduce paradigm. It looked very promising and appropriate for many data-intensive applications. Hadoop was then split out as its own project. Yahoo! supported Hadoop in a big way, both in contributing to its development as an open source project and in applying it to solve many large-scale data/computation problems in the company.

Hadoop has matured at an amazingly fast pace. From a 20-node cluster two years ago, to many 2,000-node clusters today; from a somewhat embarrassing terasort (a benchmark) performance to the terasort leader; from a no-access control to user- and group-owned files and directories. There is now a high-level language - Pig - that allows you to express complex operations on data in an intuitive way and have them translated into Hadoop map-reduce jobs.

In 2007, Hadoop at Yahoo! was used primarily for research - analyzing enormous volumes of data to find the best algorithms and parameters for selecting search results or ads to present to users. Now it is also a central component in many production operations, including Web Search, ad serving, and personalization.

Cloud Computing Journal: Are cloud-based tools like Hadoop the most important kinds of tools for the future, do you think?
RW: Being able to add capacity as needed without major software or infrastructure changes is clearly important for many organizations. Sharing resources and dynamically allocating more or less to various functions on demand is highly attractive as companies strive to control costs while the computing needs grow and shift. Analyzing and learning from ever-growing volumes of business data is essential to continuously refining and improving service offerings. The ability to quickly explore new algorithms and put them into production will be a competitive advantage for those with the resources to apply them. All of these speak to the importance of Cloud Computing,

Cloud Computing Journal: How important a role does Java play in the project? Is that because of the need to scale horizontally (and massively)?
RW: Hadoop supports programming and scripting in many languages. Hadoop, itself, is written in Java. The language provides strong support for the central infrastructure needs of system and network programming. There is a large body of experience in developing robust, performance-optimized, scalable platforms in Java.

Java provides portability to many hardware and software environments however Hadoop's horizontal scalability is not a result of the choice of language but rather of a design that is strongly focused on fault-tolerance and distribution.

Cloud Computing Journal: Is the Yahoo! Search Webmap still the world's largest Hadoop production application so far as you are aware? Can you share some size data about Webmap with us?
RW: Yes, as far as I know, the Yahoo! WebMap is the largest Hadoop application in production. It uses 2,000+ computers and is still continuously growing. It produces 300TB of data per run, including 1.2 trillion links.

Cloud Computing Journal: How important are Hadoop clusters to Yahoo! Overall? Do your Web search queries depend on them?
RW: Hadoop isn't directly involved in responding to queries typed in by users, but it is responsible for much of the backend work that produces the indexes used to service those queries. If the Hadoop clusters were down, the quality of search results would quickly degrade as the indexes became stale.

Cloud Computing Journal: Who else besides Yahoo! uses Hadoop to run large distributed computations?
RW: Many of the major Hadoop users are listed at http://wiki.apache.org/hadoop/PoweredBy. Facebook has several hundred nodes in a cluster for backend processing and analysis. Quantcast has several thousand cores in a very large cluster. Many companies, including AOL, A9 (Amazon), and IBM have deployed somewhat smaller clusters. It's likely that almost all of the uses involve large quantities of data.

Cloud Computing Journal: Can Hadoop be run on Amazon EC2?
RW: Absolutely! There is a ready-to-run AMI (virtual machine definition for EC2) for Hadoop. Among many others, Powerset (now owned by Microsoft) runs on EC2.

Cloud Computing Journal: What about Sun's Grid Engine - can it also be run on that?
RW: Yes, Hadoop works with Sun's Grid Engine but you lose the benefit of data locality (putting the computation of each piece of a distributed job near the data needed by that piece).

Cloud Computing Journal: Does the Hadoop team have any kind of a blog or forum?
RW: We have a blog at http://developer.yahoo.net/blogs/hadoop/. The team is also heavily engaged in the user and developer Hadoop mailing lists at hadoop.apache.org.

Cloud Computing Journal: Doug Cutting named it after his child's stuffed elephant. Is there any downside to an Enterprise IT tool having the name of a stuffed elephant?
RW: I did get some ribbing during the election period when I wore my Hadoop Summit t-shirt with the elephant on it, but I was able to clarify Hadoop's open source and non-partisan nature.

Cloud Computing Journal: What else have you and your team developed at Yahoo!, in terms of data-analytics applications for example?
RW: The Grid Computing development team at Yahoo! works on the Hadoop core software, the Pig high-level language, the ZooKeeper distributed coordination service, and the Chukwa monitoring and metric analysis system. In addition, it provides various Hadoop add-ons and tools to e.g. facilitate joining of very large data sets or to understand and improve the performance and efficiency of Hadoop jobs. We provide consulting to application teams that develop large-scale Hadoop programs (often involving feature extraction, modeling, optimization, and index creation) but do not produce them ourselves. 

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Loom is applying artificial intelligence and machine learning into the entire log analysis process, from start to finish and at the end you will get a human touch,” explained Sabo Taylor Diab, Vice President, Marketing at Loom Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...