Assignment 1

Due Friday, September 30 Monday, October 3 at 11:59pm

FAQs and Best Practices


This assignment is designed to support your in-class understanding of how data analytics stacks work and the factors influencing their performance.  You will deploy Hadoop, a widely used data analytics framework. You will run SQL queries "jobs" atop Hive using two different types of underlying execution frameworks, namely MapReduce and Tez.  You will produce a short report detailing your performance observations and takeaways.  Finally, you will develop a simple MapReduce application to perform a task.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this assignment, you should:

  1. Have gotten a hands-on experience in deploying a big data analytics stack.
  2. Be able to estimate the performance of a Hadoop-style data analytics stack under specific operating parameters.
  3. Be able to critique the parameter choices for a specific deployment and workload, given details on the data analysis being conducted and the operating environment.
  4. Be able to write simple MapReduce applications.


  1. You should always operate using ubuntu user by default.  Use root permissions only when needed(e.g. to modify /etc/hosts, /etc/mysql/my.cnf).
  2. You should empty the buffers cache before any of your experiment run. You can run: sudo sh -c "sync; echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches" on each slave VM.
  3. You should never format the namenode multiple times or generate the database multiple times. It needs to be done just once.
  4. On starting your VMs after deallocation, you need to check/do the following things: check that the disks are mounted properly, check that the ownership is set to ubuntu on all directories on the /mnt and /workspace directory, start the daemons by running the start_all command.
  5. The steps under the Setup section need to be done only once. On starting your cluster, you just need to load the environment variables by running the command source and start the daemons by running the command start_all.


VMs configuration

Follow the steps in Assignment 0 to setup the cluster. The cluster consists of a set of 4 VMs; these are all hosted in Azure. All VMs have a private IP and are reachable from each other. Also, every VM has a public IP associated with it and can be accessed from the external world. In your setup, you should designate a VM to act as a master/slave (say vm1) while the others are assigned as slaves only.  In the following, when we refer to a master, we refer to either the VM designated as the master, or to a process running on the master VM.

To prepare your VMs for the big data analytics stack deployment, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Passwordless connections between the master and slaves
  1. login to your master VM: ssh ubuntu@cs838fall2016group<group_number> Replace <group_number> with your group number.
  2. on the master, generate a private/public key pair: ssh-keygen -t rsa (this path is stored in /home/ubuntu/.ssh/).
  3. copy the generated public key into the slaves: cat /home/ubuntu/.ssh/ | ssh ubuntu@vm<vm_number> 'cat >> .ssh/authorized_keys'. Replace <vm_number> with the slave VM numbers.
  4. test that you can connect from the master to any slave VM without a password: ssh vm<vm_number>.

  1. Install various packages on every VM
  1. sudo apt-get update --fix-missing.
  2. sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk.
  3. sudo apt-get install pdsh (parallel distributed shell).

  1. Change the owner of the /mnt and /workspace mount points to ubuntu user
  1. sudo chown ubuntu:ubuntu /mnt.
  2. sudo chown ubuntu:ubuntu /workspace.

  1. Create a hierarchy of directories required during the software deployment step. This hierarchy should exists on all the VMs and it is required by various framework specific configurations. For example, /workspace/storage/hdfs/hdfs_dn_dirs is required by property in hdfs-site.xml and it determines where on the local filesystem an HDFS data node should store its blocks. /mnt/logs/apps is required by yarn.nodemanager.log-dirs to store container logs. Other structures such as /home/ubuntu/conf, software, workload, /mnt/logs, /workspace/storage are mainly designed for convenience and easier debugging in case you face issues that require further investigation.
  1. /home/ubuntu/conf, software, workload.
  2. /mnt/logs.
  3. /mnt/logs/apps, hadoop.
  4. /workspace/storage.
  5. /workspace/storage/data/local/nm, tmp.
  6. /workspace/storage/hdfs/hdfs_dn_dirs, hdfs_nn_dir.

  1. Update/etc/hosts with information about all VM Private IPs and their hostnames. This file should be updated on every VM in your setup.
  1.  vm1
  2.  vm2
  3.  vm3
  4.  vm4

Software deployment

The following will help you deploy all the software needed and set the proper configurations required for this assignment. You need to download the following configuration archive on every VM, and place the uncompressed files in /home/ubuntu/conf.  In addition, download and deploy the script in your home directory (/home/ubuntu) on every VM. The script enables you to start and stop Hadoop services and configure various environment variables. To function properly, it requires an instances file which contains the IP addresses of all the slave VMs where you plan to deploy your big data software stack, one per line. For example, if you plan to deploy slave processes on VMs with IPs,,, your instance file will look like:

We recommend students to setup their cluster such that one VM acts both as master/slave and the others act as slaves.

Next, we will go through building this stack. The following figure describes the software stack you will deploy:


The first step in building your big data stack is to deploy Hadoop. Hadoop mainly consists of two parts: a distributed filesystem called HDFS and a resource management framework known as YARN. As you will learn in the class, HDFS is responsible for reliable management of the data across the distributed system, while YARN handles the allocation of available resources to existing applications.

To become familiar with the terminology, HDFS consists of a master process running on the master instance, called NameNode and a set of slave processes one running on each slave instance called DataNode. The NameNode records metadata information about every block of data in HDFS, it maintains the status of the DataNodes, and handles the queries from clients. A DataNode manages the actual data residing on the corresponding instance. Similarly, in YARN there is a master process known as ResourceManager which maintains information about the available instances/resources in the system and handles applications resource requests. A NodeManager process is running on every instance and manages the available resources, by periodically "heartbeating" to the ResourceManager to update its status.

Now that you know the terminology, download hadoop-2.6.0.tar.gz. Deploy the archive in the /home/ubuntu/software directory on every VM and untar it (tar -xzvf hadoop-2.6.0.tar.gz).

You should modify core-site.xml, hdfs-site.xml, yarn-site.xml, mapred-site.xml in your /home/ubuntu/conf directory on every VM and replace the master_ip with the private IP of your master VM.

Before launching the Hadoop daemons, you should set the proper environment variables from the script and format the Hadoop filesystem. To enable the environment variables you need to run the command: source To format the filesystem (which simply initializes the directory specified by the run the command: hadoop namenode -format (This needs to be done only once).

Finally, you can instantiate the Hadoop daemons by running start_all in your command line on the master VM. To check that the cluster is up and running you can type jps on every VM. Each VM should run the NodeManager and DataNode processes. In addition, the master VM should run the ResourceManager, NodeManager, JobHistoryServer, ApplicationHistoryServer, Namenode, DataNode. The processesJobHistoryServer and ApplicationHistoryServer are history servers designed to persist various log files for completed jobs in HDFS. Later on, you will need these logs to extract various information to answer questions in your assignment. In addition, you can check the status of your cluster, at the following URLs:

  1. http://public_ip_master:50070 for HDFS.
  2. http://public_ip_master:8088 for YARN.
  3. http://public_ip_master:19888 for M/R job history server.
  4. http://public_ip_master:8188 for application history server.

To test that your Hadoop cluster is running properly, you can run a simple MapReduce application by typing the following command on the master VM:

  1. hadoop jar software/hadoop-2.6.0/share/hadoop/mapreduce/hadoop-mapreduce-examples-2.6.0.jar pi 1 2.


Tez is an application framework built atop YARN, which allows for a complex directed-acyclic graph(DAG) of tasks for processing data. You should take the following steps to deploy Tez:

  1. Download tez-0.7.1-SNAPSHOT.tar.gz in the /home/ubuntu/software directory on the master VM.
  2. Create /apps/tez-0.7.1-SNAPSHOT directory in HDFS using the command: hadoop fs -mkdir -p /apps/tez-0.7.1-SNAPSHOT.
  3. Copy tez-0.7.1-SNAPSHOT.tar.gz into HDFS: hadoop fs -copyFromLocal tez-0.7.1-SNAPSHOT.tar.gz /apps/tez-0.7.1-SNAPSHOT/.
  4. Extract the tez minimal tarball tez-0.7.1-SNAPSHOT-minimal.tar.gz to /home/ubuntu/software directory on your master VM.

To test that your Tez installation has been done properly, you can run a simple wordcount application:

  1. Create a text file and upload it to HDFS:
    hadoop fs -copyFromLocal wcount_input.txt /.
  2. Run orderedwordcount job using Tez:
    hadoop jar /home/ubuntu/software/tez-0.7.1-SNAPSHOT-minimal/tez-examples-0.7.1-SNAPSHOT.jar orderedwordcount /wcount_input.txt /wcount_output.txt.


Lastly, you will deploy Hive. Hive is a data warehouse infrastructure which provides data summarization, query, and analysis. To deploy Hive, you also need to deploy a metastore service which stores the metadata for Hive tables and partitions in a relational database, and provides Hive access to this information via the metastore service API.

To deploy the metastore service you need to do the following:

  1. Install mysql-server which will be used to store the metastore information. On your master VM you should run the command: sudo apt-get install mysql-server.
  2. After you have installed the mysql-server, you should replace the bind-address in /etc/mysql/my.cnf to point to your eth0 IP address. Finally, restart the mysql server: sudo /etc/init.d/mysql restart.
  3. Login to your mysql console as root: mysql -u root -p .
  4. After you are logged in, create a metastore database in your mysql console: mysql> create database metastore;.
  5. Select the newly created metastore database: mysql> use metastore;.
  6. Create a new user hive identified by password hive :mysql> create user 'hive'@'IP_master' identified by 'hive';.
  7. Grant privileges on the metastore database to the newly created user: mysql> grant all privileges on metastore.* to 'hive'@'IP_master' identified by 'hive'; .
  8. Flush privileges mysql> flush privileges; .
  9. mysql> quit; .

You should modify hive-site.xml in your /home/ubuntu/conf directory on the master VM and replace the master_ip with it's IP.

Finally, download and untar hive-1.2.1.tar.gz in /home/ubuntu/software on the master VM. If you type hive in the command line, you should be able to enter hive console >hive.


For the purpose of this assignment, you will run SQL queries atop Hive. Some of the most popular benchmarks used for performance evaluation are TPC-DS and TPC-H. You have to download hive-tpcds-tpch-workload.tar.gz archive for your benchmarking. For consistency, you should deploy the uncompressed files in /home/ubuntu/workload on the master VM.

There are three important scripts available in the workload directory:

  1. which allows you to generate a number of different TPC-DS databases, and to specify their size. You need to run the script with the following arguments:./ number_databases size_database. As default, it will call script which generates data in plain text format.
    For example ./ 1 10 will generate a database called tpcds_text_db_1_10 which holds 10 GB of data and tables stored in HDFS.
  2. is a simple script which allows you to run a TPC-DS query using MapReduce as the execution engine and with minimal configuration. More precisely, to run a hive query using MapReduce you have to run the command:
    (hive --hiveconf hive.execution.engine=mr -f sample-queries-tpcds/query.sql --database tpcds_database) 2> output/query_mr.out
    where query.sql represents the query script you want to run and tpcds_database is the corresponding database holding the data and generated in previous step using script.
  3. uses tez as an execution engine.
    (hive --hiveconf hive.execution.engine=tez --hiveconf hive.tez.container.size=$containerSize --hiveconf$containerJvm -f sample-queries-tpcds/query.sql --database tpcds_database) 2> output/query_tez.out
  4. In addition, you can pass other parameters to the underlying frameworks using --hiveconf command. For example, to enable the cost based optimizer in Hive, you need to pass an additional --hiveconf hive.cbo.enable=true flag.

Part A: Experimenting with performance

Once you have the software stack running, you should answer each of the questions listed below. To answer the questions, you will need to generate a 50 GB TPC-DS database and run queries 12, 21, 50, 71, 85 from the TPC-DS benchmark. We picked these queries because they are very different from each other.

The questions below will let you explore various aspects of performance. The first question will let you evaluate query performance. Next, you will tune some of the basic configurations in Tez and MapReduce and observe how the performance varies. Later on, you will evaluate how robust are single DAG (Tez) versus multiple "stitched" DAG (MR) frameworks in the presence of failures.

  1. In this experiment, you will run each of the queries mentioned above which are located in /home/ubuntu/workload/sample-queries-tpcds. You will run a query at a time using Hive/MR and Hive/Tez. For every query, you should compute the following:
  1. Plot the query completion time. Your plot should have five queries on the X-axis, and for each query two columns. One describing the job completion time with Hive/MR and one running Hive/Tez.  
    What do you observe? Is Hive/Tez always better than Hive/MR? By how much? Is the difference always constant? If not, why?

  2. Compute the amount of network/storage read/write bandwidth used during the query lifetime. Your plot(s) should clearly describe the amount of data read/written from network/disk for every query and for each framework(Hive/MR and Hive/Tez). What do you observe? Is there a trend? What are the possible explanations for your results/anomalies?.
    To extract network and disk counters you can extract the corresponding counters from: /proc/net/dev and /proc/diskstats. Disk sector size is 512B.

  3. Compute various task statistics exploring the log history files stored in HDFS. More precisely, for every query and Hive/MR, Hive/Tez, you should compute the following: total number of tasks; ratio of tasks which aggregates data versus the number of tasks which read data from HDFS; task distribution over query lifetime. Is there any correlation between these metrics and performance? Why/why not?

    The log history files should be located for Hive/MR in HDFS at /tmp/hadoop-yarn/staging/history. You should copy all the corresponding *.jhist files of the jobs involved in a Hive/MR query and parse them using your desired scripts. For Hive/Tez, the history logs should be available in HDFS at /tmp/tez-history.

  4. Visually plot the DAGs generated by Hive/MR and Hive/Tez. For Hive/MR you should analyze the stdout output generated by the query and correlate the amount of data read and written from/to HDFS among stages in order to identify their dependencies. Tez generates a .dot file in the application's (/mnt/logs/apps/application_*/container_am/*.dot) logs directory. You can install and use graphviz to generate the corresponding PNG file.
    What do you observe? How different are the DAGs? Do you think their structure can impact performance? If yes/no, why?

    As an example, figure below shows you the DAG structures for query 21 when running atop MR and Tez for an input size of 2 GB.

  1. Pick query 21. In what follows, you will try different values for a specific parameter and see whether performance improves or not. Pick and fix the best value for that parameter and move to the next. More specifically, you have to tune the following parameters:
  1. Hive / MR: Vary the number of reducers per job from 1, 5, 10, 20. You should do that by specifying --hiveconf mapred.reduce.tasks=val when running the query, or modifying the mapred-site.xml file. How does the performance vary for different values of this parameter?
    Once you find the best value, tune the number of parallel transfers during the copy (shuffle) phase. Default is 5; you should try values of 10, 15, 20 by changing the mapreduce.reduce.shuffle.parallelcopies property in mapred-site.xml or through hive as mentioned above. Note that you need to copy the updated mapred-site.xml file across all the VMs.
    Finally, given the best values of the above properties, try different values (0.05, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75) for mapreduce.job.reduce.slowstart.completedmaps. Default is 1. This parameter tells you what fraction of map tasks should finish before a reduce task can be scheduled. What is the best peformance you can get? Is it any better than before?

  2. Hive / Tez: Same questions as before, but you need to tune the following configurations: set to true the property. This property enables you to reuse containers without requesting new ones from the ResourceManager. Next you will tune the number of parallel transfers during the copy phases, as for MapReduce. The property you need to properly set is tez.runtime.shuffle.parallel.copies. Default value is 5; you should try values of 10, 15, 20.

  3. Use the best performing settings from (a) and (b) for query 21 and apply them to queries 12 and 50. Do these settings give the best performance for these queries as well? Why or why not?

  1. In this experiment you will fail a slave VM at different times in the query job lifetime. You should pick query 71, and run it using Hive/MR and Hive/Tez. For every such scenario, you should kill the DataNode process on the desired slave VM when the job reaches 25% and 75% of its lifetime. You should not fail a VM on which an AM container is running(either MRAppMaster in case of MR or DAGAppMaster in case of Tez).

    For this experiment you need to update several properties in the configuration files:
    1. Increase the replication factor in conf/hdfs-site.xml to 2. You should configure dfs.replication and regenerate your data on HDFS.
    2. Enable speculative execution by setting to true, and mapreduce.reduce.speculative in conf/mapred-site.xml.

    You should analyze the variations in query job completion time between Hive/MR and Hive/Tez. Explain your observations and why do you think that failing a DataNode can impact performance.

[Optional, Extra credits] Part B: Developing a simple MapReduce application

Here, you will write a simple MapReduce application that, given an input containing a single word per line, will group words that are anagrams of each other and sort the groups based on their size in descending order. Shown below is a sample of how the input will and output should look like.



Intermediate Output (can be formatted as you see fit)

abroad aboard
early leary layer relay
natured unrated untread

Final Output (sorted in descending order of size)

early leary layer relay
natured unrated untread
abroad aboard

Your MR application (name it as AnagramSorter) should run on a multi-node cluster. First, you will load the input file (input.txt) into HDFS and run your application as:

hadoop jar ac.jar AnagramSorter /input /output

where input and output are the input and ouput directories in HDFS. You will submit your entire source code (all java classes you created) in a file called partb.tar.gz file along with a brief documentation (partb-README.txt) for the classes you implement. Please use the exact names as specified; we will automate tests to verify correctness.

Part B: Hints/Notes


You should provide a brief write-up (10pt, single column, filename: parta.pdf) with your answers to the Part A questions listed above. If you are attempting Part B, also include files partb-README.txt and partb.tar.gz. Tar all the files and put it in an archive named group-x.tar.gz, and place it hand-in directory at ~cs838-1/F16/assignment1.