Cloudera Engineering Blog · ZooKeeper Posts

Apache ZooKeeper Resilience at Pinterest

The guest post below was originally authored by Pinterest engineer Raghavendra Prabhu and published by the Pinterest Engineering blog. Being big ZooKeeper fans, we re-publish it here for your convenience. Thanks, Pinterest!

Apache ZooKeeper is an open source distributed coordination service that’s popular for use cases like service discovery, dynamic configuration management and distributed locking. While it’s versatile and useful, it has failure modes that can be hard to prepare for and recover from, and if used for site critical functionality, can have a significant impact on site availability.

Meet the Book Authors: Flavio Junqueira and Benjamin Reed on ZooKeeper

ZooKeeper book

Flavio Junqueira (PMC Chair of the Apache ZooKeeper project and a member of the Systems and Networking Group at Microsoft Research) and Benjamin Reed (PMC Member and Software Engineer at Facebook) are the co-authors of the new O’Reilly Media book ZooKeeper: Distributed Process Coordination. We had a chat with Flavio and Ben recently about the rationale for writing the book, and what it will add to the distributed systems conversation.

What are HBase znodes?

Apache ZooKeeper is a client/server system for distributed coordination that exposes an interface similar to a filesystem, where each node (called a znode) may contain data and a set of children. Each znode has a name and can be identified using a filesystem-like path (for example, /root-znode/sub-znode/my-znode).

In Apache HBase, ZooKeeper coordinates, communicates, and shares state between the Masters and RegionServers. HBase has a design policy of using ZooKeeper only for transient data (that is, for coordination and state communication). Thus if the HBase’s ZooKeeper data is removed, only the transient operations are affected – data can continue to be written and read to/from HBase.

Apache ZooKeeper Made Simpler with Curator (Thanks, Netflix!)

Our thanks to Jordan Zimmerman, software engineer at Netflix, for the guest post below about the recently announced Apache Curator (incubating) project. 

How-to: Use Apache ZooKeeper to Build Distributed Apps (and Why)

It’s widely accepted that you should never design or implement your own cryptographic algorithms but rather use well-tested, peer-reviewed libraries instead. The same can be said of distributed systems: Making up your own protocols for coordinating a cluster will almost certainly result in frustration and failure.

Architecting a distributed system is not a trivial problem; it is very prone to race conditions, deadlocks, and inconsistency. Making cluster coordination fast and scalable is just as hard as making it reliable. That’s where Apache ZooKeeper, a coordination service that gives you the tools you need to write correct distributed applications, comes in handy.

Meet the Engineer: Kathleen Ting

In this installment of “Meet the Engineer”, get to know Customer Operations Engineering Manager/Apache Sqoop committer Kathleen Ting (@kate_ting).

What do you do at Cloudera, and in what open-source projects are you involved?
I’m a support manager at Cloudera, and an Apache Sqoop committer and PMC member. I also contribute to the Apache Flume and Apache ZooKeeper mailing lists and organize and present at meetups, as well as speak at conferences, about those projects.

Apache Hadoop in 2013: The State of the Platform

For several good reasons, 2013 is a Happy New Year for Apache Hadoop enthusiasts.

In 2012, we saw continued progress on developing the next generation of the MapReduce processing framework (MRv2), work that will bear fruit this year. HDFS experienced major progress toward becoming a lights-out, fully enterprise-ready distributed filesystem with the addition of high availability features and increased performance. And a hint of the future of the Hadoop platform was provided with the Beta release of Cloudera Impala, a real-time query engine for analytics across HDFS and Apache HBase data.

Apache HBase AssignmentManager Improvements

AssignmentManager is a module in the Apache HBase Master that manages regions to RegionServers assignment. (See HBase architecture for more information.) It ensures that all regions are assigned and each region is assigned to just one RegionServer.

Although the AssignmentManager generally does a good job, the existing implementation does not handle assignments as well as it could. For example, if a region was assigned to two or more RegionServers, some regions were stuck in transition and never got assigned, or unknown region exceptions were thrown in moving a region from one RegionServer to another.

Apache ZooKeeper 3.4.5 Has Been Released

Apache ZooKeeper release 3.4.5 is now available. This is a bug fix release covering 3 issues, one of which was considered critical. These issues were:

CDH4.1 Now Released!

Update time!  As a reminder, Cloudera releases major versions of CDH, our 100% open source distribution of Apache Hadoop and related projects, annually and then updates to CDH every three months.  Updates primarily comprise bug fixes but we will also add enhancements.  We only include fixes or enhancements in updates that maintain compatibility, improve system stability and still allow customers and users to skip updates as they see fit.

We’re pleased to announce the availability of CDH4.1.  We’ve seen excellent adoption of CDH4.0 since it went GA at the end of June and a number of exciting use cases have moved to production.  CDH4.1 is an update that has a number of fixes but also a number of useful enhancements.  Among them:

Apache ZooKeeper 3.4.4 Has Been Released!

Apache ZooKeeper release 3.4.4 is now available. This is a bug fix release covering 50 issues, four of which were considered blockers. Some of the more serious issues include:

Community Meetups at Strata + Hadoop World 2012

Strata Conference + Hadoop World (Oct. 23-25 in New York City) is a bonanza for Hadoop and big data enthusiasts – but not only because of the technical sessions and tutorials. It’s also an important gathering place for the developer community, most of whom are eager to share info from their experiences in the “trenches”.

Just to make that process easier, Cloudera is teaming up with local meetups during that week to organize a series of meetings on a variety of topics. (If for no other reason, stop into one of these meetups for a chance to grab a coveted Cloudera t-shirt.)

CDH3 update 5 is now available

We are happy to announce the general availability of CDH3 update 5. This update is a maintenance release of CDH3 platform and provides a considerable amount of bug-fixes and stability enhancements. Alongside these fixes, we have also included a few new features, most notable of which are the following:

Apache ZooKeeper 3.3.6 has been released

Apache ZooKeeper release 3.3.6 is now available. This is a bug fix release covering 16 issues, two of which were considered blockers. Some of the more serious issues include:

Apache ZooKeeper 3.3.5 has been released

Apache ZooKeeper release 3.3.5 is now available. This is a bug fix release covering 11 issues, two of which were considered blockers. Some of the more serious issues include:

Apache ZooKeeper 3.4.3 has been released

Apache ZooKeeper release 3.4.3 is now available. This is a bug fix release covering 18 issues, one of which was considered a blocker. 

ZooKeeper 3.4 is incorporated into CDH4 and now available in beta 1!

Apache ZooKeeper 3.4.2 has been released

Apache ZooKeeper 3.3.4 has been released

Apache ZooKeeper release 3.3.4 is now available: this is a fix release covering 22 issues, 9 of which were considered blockers. Some of the more serious issues include:

Apache ZooKeeper 3.4.0 has been released

Apache ZooKeeper release 3.4.0 is now available: it includes changes covering over 150 issues, 27 of which were considered blockers. ZooKeeper 3.3.3 clients are compatible with 3.4.0 servers, enabling a seamless upgrade path (3.4.0 clients with 3.3.3 servers has also been tested successfully). In addition to improving overall stability some of the highlights are described below:

Things of interest to developers implementing ZooKeeper clients:

Hadoop World 2011: A Glimpse into Development

The Development track at Hadoop World is a technical deep dive dedicated to discussion about Apache Hadoop and application development for Apache Hadoop. You will hear committers, contributors and expert users from various Hadoop projects discuss the finer points of building applications with Hadoop and the related ecosystem. The sessions will touch on foundational topics such as HDFS, HBase, Pig, Hive, Flume and other related technologies. In addition, speakers will address key development areas including tools, performance, bringing the stack together and testing the stack. Sessions in this track are for developers of all levels who want to learn more about upcoming features and enhancements, new tools, advanced techniques and best practices.

Preview of Development Track Sessions

Hadoop/HBase Capacity Planning

Apache Hadoop and Apache HBase are gaining popularity due to their flexibility and tremendous work that has been done to simplify their installation and use.  This blog is to provide guidance in sizing your first Hadoop/HBase cluster.  First, there are significant differences in Hadoop and HBase usage.  Hadoop MapReduce is primarily an analytic tool to run analytic and data extraction queries over all of your data, or at least a significant portion of them (data is a plural of datum).  HBase is much better for real-time read/write/modify access to tabular data.  Both applications are designed for high concurrency and large data sizes.  For a general discussions about Hadoop/HBase architecture and differences please refer to Cloudera, Inc. [,], or Lars George blogs [].  We expect a new edition of the Tom White’s Hadoop book [] and a new HBase book in the near future as well.

Migrating to CDH

With the recent release of CDH3b2, many users are more interested than ever to try out Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop (CDH). One of the questions we often hear is, “what does it take to migrate?”.

Why Migrate?

If you’re not familiar with CDH3b2, here’s what you need to know.

What’s New in CDH3b2: ZooKeeper

CDH3 beta 2 is the first version of CDH to incorporate Apache ZooKeeper. ZooKeeper is a highly reliable and available coordination service for distributed processes. It is a proven technology and a well established open source project at Apache (sub-project of Hadoop).

ZooKeeper is distributed coordination

Often distributed applications need some way to coordinate across processes; locking resources, managing queues of events, electing a “leader” process, configuration, etc… Coordination operations such as these are notoriously hard to get right. ZooKeeper provides a relatively simple API which allows clients to correctly implement these and many other coordination mechanisms.

Building a distributed concurrent queue with Apache ZooKeeper

In my first few weeks here at Cloudera, I’ve been tasked with helping out with the Apache ZooKeeper system, part of the umbrella Hadoop project. ZooKeeper is a system for coordinating distributed processes. In a distributed environment, getting processes to act in any kind of synchrony is an extremely hard problem. For example, simply having a set of processes wait until they’ve all reached the same point in their execution – a kind of distributed barrier – is surprisingly difficult to do correctly. ZooKeeper offers an API to facilitate this sort of distributed coordination. For example, it is often used to serve locks to client processes – locks are just another kind of coordination primitive – in the form of small files that ZooKeeper tracks.

In order to be useful, ZooKeeper must be both highly reliable and available as systems will rely upon it as a critical component. For example, if locks cannot be taken, processes cannot make progress and the whole system will grind to a halt. ZooKeeper is built on a suite of reliable distributed systems techniques and protocols, and is typically run on a cluster of machines so that if some should fail, the remaining ones can continue to provide service. Under the hood, ZooKeeper is responsible for ordering calls made by clients so that each request is processed atomically and in a fixed and firm order.