Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Bernard Golden, Elizabeth White, Sandi Mappic, Esmeralda Swartz, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: Symbian, Virtualization, Cloud Expo

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
Compute virtualization has been transformational, yet security policy implementation and enforcement has lagged behind in agility and automation. There are a number of key considerations when implementing policy in private and hybrid clouds. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Holland Barry, VP of Technology at Catbird, will discuss the impact of this new paradigm and what organizations can do today to safely move to software-defined network and compute architectures, including: How normal ope...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: S...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic • Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff hap...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accel...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customiz...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ElasticBox is holding a Hackathon at DevOps Summit, November 6 from 12 pm -4 pm at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. You can enter as an individual or team of up to 10 developers. A New Star Is Born Every Month! All completed ElasticBoxes will then be sent to a judging panel - 12 winners will be featured on the ElasticBox website in 2015. All entrants will receive five full enterprise licenses for one year + ElasticBox headphones + Elasti...
Once the decision has been made to move part or all of a workload to the cloud, a methodology for selecting that workload needs to be established. How do you move to the cloud? What does the discovery, assessment and planning look like? What workloads make sense? Which cloud model makes sense for each workload? What are the considerations for how to select the right cloud model? And how does that fit in with the overall IT tranformation? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, John Hatem, head of V...
Cloud services are the newest tool in the arsenal of IT products in the market today. These cloud services integrate process and tools. In order to use these products effectively, organizations must have a good understanding of themselves and their business requirements. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Brian Lewis, Principal Architect at Verizon Cloud, will outline key areas of organizational focus, and how to formalize an actionable plan when migrating applications and internal services to...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
Ixia develops amazing products so its customers can connect the world. Ixia helps its customers provide an always-on user experience through fast, secure delivery of dynamic connected technologies and services. Through actionable insights that accelerate and secure application and service delivery, Ixia's customers benefit from faster time to market, optimized application performance and higher-quality deployments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calm.io has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calm.io is a cloud orchestration platform for AWS, vCenter, OpenStack, or bare metal, that runs your CL tools puppet, Chef, shell, git, Jenkins, nagios, and will soon support New Relic and Docker. It can run hosted, or on premise and provides VM automation / expiry, self-service portals,...
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, will focus on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud pla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue bu...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce t...
As Platform as a Service (PaaS) matures as a category, developers should have the ability to use the programming language of their choice to build applications and have access to a wide array of services. Bluemix is IBM's open cloud development platform that enables users to easily build cloud-based, creative mobile and web applications without having to spend large amounts of time and resources on configuring infrastructure and multiple software licenses. In this track, you will learn about the...
Blue Box has closed a $10 million Series B financing. The round was led by a strategic investor and included participation from prior investors including Voyager Capital and Founders Collective, as well as the Blue Box executive team. This round follows a $4.3 million Series A closed in December of 2012 and led by Voyager Capital. In May of this year, the company announced general availability of its private cloud as a service offering, Blue Box Cloud. Since that release, the company has dem...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named "Gold Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic network...
SimpleECM is the only platform to offer a powerful combination of enterprise content management (ECM) services, capture solutions, and third-party business services providing simplified integrations and workflow development for solution providers. SimpleECM is opening the market to businesses of all sizes by reinventing the delivery of ECM services. Our APIs make the development of ECM services simple with the use of familiar technologies for a frictionless integration directly into web applicat...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic...