Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Victoria Livschitz

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
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Some developers believe that monitoring is a function of the operations team. Some operations teams firmly believe that monitoring the systems they maintain is sufficient to run the business successfully. Most of them are wrong. The complexity of today's applications have gone far and beyond the capabilities of "traditional" system-level monitoring tools and approaches and requires much broader knowledge of business and applications as a whole. The goal of DevOps is to connect all aspects of app...
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, discussed 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 HANA...
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
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 happe...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device exp...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...