Category Archives: Pig

Hortonworks Sandbox Pig tutorial

I just completed the Hortonworks Pig tutorial. Seemed very straight forward, yet I ran into one problem.

The PIG script as specified was:

batting = load ‘Batting.csv’ using PigStorage(‘,’);
runs = FOREACH batting GENERATE $0 as playerID, $1 as year, $8 as runs;
grp_data = GROUP runs by (year);
max_runs = FOREACH grp_data GENERATE group as grp,MAX(runs.runs) as max_runs;
join_max_run = JOIN max_runs by ($0, max_runs), runs by (year,runs);
join_data = FOREACH join_max_run GENERATE $0 as year, $2 as playerID, $1 as runs;
dump join_data;

Yet it generated an error. I wasn’t able to understand the logs well enough (yet!) to debug it, so fell back to Google’ing it and found this.

Best I can understand, the input data has column headers yet the script assumes no column headers. So the fix is to filter out any row with non-numeric data.

batting = load ‘Batting.csv’ using PigStorage(‘,’);
runs_raw = FOREACH batting GENERATE $0 as playerID, $1 as year, $8 as runs;
runs = filter runs_raw by runs > 0;
grp_data = GROUP runs by (year);
max_runs = FOREACH grp_data GENERATE group as grp,MAX(runs.runs) as max_runs;
join_max_run = JOIN max_runs by ($0, max_runs), runs by (year,runs);
join_data = FOREACH join_max_run GENERATE $0 as year, $2 as playerID, $1 as runs;
dump join_data;

I suppose that there’s also a way to filter out the first row but my Pig isn’t anywhere near good enough for that.

Other than that, Pig seems interesting. Sort of a procedural programming language version of a subset of what the next tutorial shows us in Hive.

I spent some time today using the Hortonworks Hadoop sandbox

I downloaded the Hortonworks sandbox today. I’m using the version that runs as a virtual machine under Oracle VirtualBox. The sandbox can run in as little as 2GB RAM, but requires 4GB in order to enable Ambari and HBase. Good thing that I have 8GB in my laptop.

The “Hello World” tutorial provided me with hands on:

  • Uploading a file into HCatalog
  • Typing queries into Beeswax, which is a GUI into Hive
  • Running a more complex query by writing a short script in Pig

There are a lot more tutorials. I’ll update this blog post after I finish each tutorial.


Apache Hive: 5 facts

  1. Hive is a SQL-like layer on top of Hadoop
  2. Use it when you have some sort of structure to your data.
  3. You can use JDBC and ODBC drivers to interface with your traditional systems. However, it’s not high performance.
  4. Originally built by (and still used by) Facebook to bring traditional database concepts into Hadoop in order to perform analytics. Also used by Netflix to run daily summaries.
  5. Pig is sometimes compared to Hive, in that they are both “languages” that are layered on top of Hadoop. However, Pig is more analogous to a procedural language to write applications, while Hive is targeted at traditional DB programmers moving over to Hadoop.


Fast Search and Analytics on Hortonworks with Elasticsearch

Elasticworks enables real-time searching and analytics. Yarn is supported. Integration extends into Hive and Pig.


10 Key/Value Store, Distributed, Open Source Databases


  • Master-less, so remains operational even if multiple nodes fail
  • Near linear scalability
  • Architecture same of both large and small clusters
  • Key/value model, flat namespace, can store anything


  • Key/value. Can store data types such as sets, sorted lists, hashes and do operations on them such as set intersection and incrementing the value in a hash.
  • In-memory dataset
  • Easy to setup, master/slave replication


  • Very simple data model with 5 attributes: keys, values, timestamps, expiry date, flags for metadata
  • Chain replication across nodes that are geographically dispersed. Not single points of failure
  • Excellent performance for large batches (~200k) read/write operations
  • Runs on commodity hardware or blades. Does not require SAN


  • High performance, massively scalable, modeled after Google’s Bigtable
  • Runs on top of a distributed file system such as Apache Hadoop DFS, GlusterDS, or Kosmos File System
  • Data model is a traditional, but huge table, that is physically stored in sort order of the primary key


  • High scalability due to allowing only very simple key/value data access.
  • Used by LinkedIn
  • Not an object or a relational database. Just a big, distributed, fault-tolerant, persistent hash table
  • Includes in-memory caching, so separate caching tier isn’t required


  • High performance persistent storage that’s compatible with Memcache protocol


  • NoSQL database with messaging server
  • All data maintained in RAM. Persistence via a write ahead log.
  • Asynchronous replication and hot standby
  • Supports stored procedures
  • Data model: tuples (unique key plus any number of other fields); spaces (multiple tuples)

Apache Cassandra

  • Can use massive cluster of commodity servers with no single point of failure. Can be deploy across multiple data centers.
  • Was used by Facebook for Inbox Search until 2010
  • Read/write scales linearly with number of nodes
  • Data replicated across multiple nodes
  • Supports MapReduce, Pig, and Hive
  • Has SQL-like CQL providing for a hybrid between key/value and tabular database


  • NoSQL key/value that provides lower latency and higher throughput than some alternatives
  • Replicates data to multiple nodes
  • Very easy to administer and maintain
  • Data model: key plus zero or more attributes


  • Great performance even on small clusters with millions of keys
  • Nodes replicated via master-to-master replication.  Hot backups and restores
  • Very small client footprint
  • Built on top of Tokyo Tyrant


HortonWorks / Apache Tez

HortonWorks / Apache Tez provides an alternative to MapReduce in order to process near real time jobs at petabyte scale. The HortonWorks Stinger project utilizes Tez in order to increase the speed of Hive and Pig by an order (or multiple orders) of magnitude.

Tez is based on a multiple stage dataflow architecture: pre-processor, sampler, partition, aggregate in contract to the traditional Map and Reduce.

Tez assumes use of Yarn for resource acquisition, so cannot be run in legacy environments. Also assumed is complex user defined logic to eliminate duplicate work in order to increase performance. Legacy Hadoop assumes duplicate work, made less painful by the massive scale of the cluster, and the benefit of redundancy.

Tez may also run multiple instances within a single Yarn container, which reduces the overhead of additional containers. However, this may decrease efficient resource utilization on a very large scale since using many Yarn containers help to allocate every last available hardware resource, as opposed to Tez squeezing as much as possible within fewer containers.


Cassandra – NoSQL database to use in conjunction with Hadoop

Some use cases feed data directly into Hadoop from their source (such as web server logs), but others feed into Hadoop from a database repository. Still others have use cases in which there is a massive output of data that needs to be stored somewhere for post-processing. One model for handling this dataset is a NoSQL database, as opposed to SQL or flat files.

Cassandra is an Apache project that is popular for its integration into the Hadoop ecosystem. It can be used with components such as Pig, Hive, and Oozie. Cassandra is often used as a replacement for HDFS and HBase since Cassandra has no master node, so eliminates a single point of failure (and need for traditional redundancy). In theory, its scalability is strictly linear; doubling the number of nodes will exactly double the number of transactions that can be processed per second. It also supports triggers; if monitoring detects that triggers are running slowly, then additional nodes can be programmatically deployed to address production performance problems.

Cassandra was first developed by Facebook. The primary benefit of its easily distributed infrastructure is the ability to handle large amount of reads and writes. The newest version (2.0) solves many of the usability problems encountered by programmers.

DataStax provides a commercially packaged version of Cassandra.

MongoDB is a good non-HBase alternative to Cassandra.