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Overview of Hadoop 2.0 Cluster Architecture Federation

Last updated on Feb 09,2024 27.9K Views

4 / 4 Blog from Hadoop Installation

Hadoop 2.0 Cluster Architecture Federation


In this blog, I will deep dive into Hadoop 2.0 Cluster Architecture Federation. Apache Hadoop has evolved a lot since the release of Apache Hadoop 1.x. As you know from my previous blog that the HDFS Architecture follows Master/Slave Topology where NameNode acts as a master daemon and is responsible for managing other slave nodes called DataNodes. In this ecosystem, this single Master Daemon or NameNode becomes a bottleneck and on the contrary, companies need to have NameNode which is highly available. This very reason became the foundation of HDFS Federation Architecture and HA (High Availability) Architecture.

The topics that I have covered in this blog are as follows:

  • The current HDFS Architecture
  • Limitations of current HDFS Architecture
  • HDFS Federation Architecture

Overview of Current HDFS Architecture:

Single Namespace HDFS Architecture - Overview of Hadoop 2.0 Cluster Architecture Federation - Edureka

As you can see in the figure above, the current HDFS has two layers:

  • HDFS Namespace (NS): This layer is responsible for managing the directories, files and blocks. It provides all the File System operation related to Namespace like creating, deleting or modifying the files or the file directories.
  • Storage Layer: It comprises two basic components. 
    1. Block Management: It performs the following operations:
      • Checks heartbeats of Data Nodes periodically and it manages Data Node membership to the cluster.
      • Manages the block reports and maintains block location.
      • Supports block operations like creation, modification, deletion and allocation of block location.
      • Maintains replication factor consistent throughout the cluster.

2. Physical Storage: It is managed by Data Nodes which are responsible for storing data and thereby provides Read/Write access to the data stored in HDFS.

So, the current HDFS Architecture allows you to have a single namespace for a cluster. In this architecture, a single Name Node is responsible for managing the namespace. This architecture is very convenient and easy to implement. Also, it provides sufficient capability to cater the needs of the small production cluster.

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Limitations of Current HDFS:

As discussed earlier, the current HDFS did suffice to the needs and use cases of a small production cluster. But, big organizations like Yahoo, Facebook found some limitations as the HDFS cluster grew exponentially. Let us have a quick look at some of the limitations:

  1. The namespace is not scalable like DataNodes. Hence, we can have only that number of DataNodes in the cluster that a single NameNode can handle. 
  2. The two layers, i.e. Namespace layer and storage layer are tightly coupled which makes the alternate implementation of NameNode very difficult.
  3. The performance of the entire Hadoop System depends on the throughput of the NameNode. Therefore, entire performance of all the HDFS operations depends on how many tasks the NameNode can handle at a particular time. 
  4. The NameNode stores the entire namespace in RAM for fast access. This leads to limitations in terms of memory size i.e. The number of namespace objects (files and blocks) that a single namespace server can cope up with.
  5. Many of the organizations (vendor) having HDFS deployment, allows multiple organizations (tenant) to use their cluster namespace. So, there is no separation of namespace and therefore, there is no isolation among tenant organization that are using the cluster.

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HDFS Federation Architecture:

  • In HDFS Federation Architecture, we have horizontal scalability of name service. Therefore, we have multiple NameNodes which are federated, i.e. Independent from each other.
  • The DataNodes are present at the bottom i.e. Underlying storage layer.
  • Each DataNode registers with all the NameNodes in the cluster.
  • The DataNodes transmit periodic heartbeats, block reports and handles commands from the NameNodes.

The pictorial representation of the HDFS Federation Architecture is given below:

HDFS Federation Architecture - Overview of Hadoop 2.x cluster Architecture Federation - Edureka

Before moving ahead, let me briefly talk about the above architectural image:

  • There are multiple namespaces (NS1, NS2,…, NSn) and each of them is managed by its respective NameNode.
  • Each namespace has its own block pool ( NS1 has Pool 1, NSk has Pool k and so on ).
  • As shown in the image, the blocks from pool 1 (sky blue) are stored on DataNode 1, DataNode 2 and so on. Similarly, all the blocks from each block pool will reside on all the DataNodes.

Now, let’s understand the components of the HDFS Federation Architecture in detail:

Block Pool:

Block pool is nothing but set of blocks belonging to a specific Namespace. So, we have a collection of block pool where each block pool is managed independently from the other. This independence where each block pool is managed independently allows the namespace to create Block IDs for new blocks without the coordination with other namespaces. The data blocks present in all the block pool are stored in all the DataNodes. Basically, block pool provides an abstraction such that the data blocks residing in the DataNodes (as in the Single Namespace Architecture) can be grouped corresponding to a particular namespace. 

Namespace Volume:

Namespace volume is nothing but namespace along with its block pool. Therefore, in HDFS Federation we have multiple namespace volumes. It is a self-contained unit of management, i.e. Each namespace volume can function independently. If a NameNode or namespace is deleted, the corresponding block pool which is residing on the DataNodes will also be deleted.

Demo On Hadoop 2.0 Cluster Architecture Federation | Edureka


Now, I guess you have a pretty good idea about HDFS Federation Architecture. It is more of a theoretical concept and people do not use it in a practical production system generally. There are some implementation issues with HDFS Federation that makes it difficult to deploy. Therefore, the HA (High Availability) Architecture is preferred to solve the Single Point of Failure problem. I have covered the HDFS HA Architecture in my next blog.


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Got a question for us? Please mention it in the comments section and we will get back to you.

  • Mukul Jain says:

    I also noticed that in the diagram above in your video you are showing both SecondaryNameNode and StandyNameNode in fact that seems to be incorrect architecture. As Apache Official Hadoop documentation seems to suggest that SecondaryNameNode used to be old concept until HA was not built and was sort of cold standby, now with standy NameNode it is suggested that Secondary NameNode should not exist otherwise it can lead to some errors.

    • EdurekaSupport says:

      Hey Mukul, thanks for checking out the blog. There is no secondary namenode or standby namenode; these are multple namenodes. Hadoop federation consists of multiple namenodes and they are connected to all datanodes – that is the concept of hadoop federation. Hope this helps. Cheers!

  • santosh patro says:

    In Hadoop 2.0 there can be multiple namenodes. So what is the control flow when user tries to put file to HDFS ? How does the HDFS client knows which namenode server to contact ?

    • Mukul Jain says:

      Looks like no one answered your question.. and its a good guess is that it is the nameservice which keeps track of all the registered namespaces would be first contacted to determine which NameNode is handling which NameSpace and then accordingly it will direct to the proper NameNode.

  • Vinay says:

    In Hadoop 2.x, what information do namespace and block pool contain? Please elaborate.

  • Deepak Sharma says:

    Are the Federation and HA concepts still under testing or they are in built features of Hadoop 2.x?
    In the federation concept you told that there could be multiple active NameNodes and in HA concept you told that there could only one Active NameNode and Stand-by Name node becomes active only after first one fails. Now my question is whether Federation and HA could exist simultaneously i.e. are there multiple NameNodes and a stand-by NameNode for each of the active Name node?

    • EdurekaSupport says:

      Hi Deepak, if we consider a Hadoop2.x cluster with multiple namenodes, out of them only one would be active and all other namenodes of that cluster will act as standby. There will not be a standby namenode for each active namenode.

      Hope this helps!!

      • Mukul Jain says:

        Hate to do this.. but that is an incorrect answer. When in Federation mode then you have multiple active NameNodes and each active NameNode should be able to have a standby NameNode.

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Overview of Hadoop 2.0 Cluster Architecture Federation