Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, AppDynamics Blog, Blue Box Blog, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

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 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 The team is also heavily engaged in the user and developer Hadoop mailing lists at

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
Enterprises can achieve rigorous IT security as well as improved DevOps practices and Cloud economics by taking a new, cloud-native approach to application delivery. Because the attack surface for cloud applications is dramatically different than for highly controlled data centers, a disciplined and multi-layered approach that spans all of your processes, staff, vendors and technologies is required. This may sound expensive and time consuming to achieve as you plan how to move selected applicati...
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
Data loss happens, even in the cloud. In fact, if your company has adopted a cloud application in the past three years, data loss has probably happened, whether you know it or not. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bryan Forrester, Senior Vice President of Sales at eFolder, will present how common and costly cloud application data loss is and what measures you can take to protect your organization from data loss.
The cloud has reached mainstream IT. Those 18.7 million data centers out there (server closets to corporate data centers to colocation deployments) are moving to the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Achim Weiss, CEO & co-founder of ProfitBricks, will share how two companies – one in the U.S. and one in Germany – are achieving their goals with cloud infrastructure. More than a case study, he will share the details of how they prioritized their cloud computing infrastructure deployments ...
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete en...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet condit...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
Interested in leveraging automation technologies and a cloud architecture to make developers more productive? Learn how PaaS can benefit your organization to help you streamline your application development, allow you to use existing infrastructure and improve operational efficiencies. Begin charting your path to PaaS with OpenShift Enterprise.
Achim Weiss is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of ProfitBricks. In 1995, he broke off his studies to co-found the web hosting company "Schlund+Partner." The company "Schlund+Partner" later became the 1&1 web hosting product line. From 1995 to 2008, he was the technical director for several important projects: the largest web hosting platform in the world, the second largest DSL platform, a video on-demand delivery network, the largest eMail backend in Europe, and a universal billing syste...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult - let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and li...
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively.
As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction of desired change. Renowned for its approach to leadership and emphasis on their people, organizations increasingly look to our military for insight into these challenges.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driv...
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. Migration to cloud shifts computing resources from your data center, which can yield significant advantages provided that the cloud vendor an offer enterprise-grade quality for your application.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
The web app is agile. The REST API is agile. The testing and planning are agile. But alas, data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes that force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software organ...
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends an...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”