Using the Quantcast File System with Spark on the ODROID XU4 Cluster

I used to work at a company named Quantcast, which is known for processing petabyte-scale data sets. When operating at that scale, any inefficiency in your data infrastructure gets multiplied many times over. Early on, Quantcast found that the inefficiencies in Hadoop literally cost them by requiring more hardware to obtain certain levels of performance. So Quantcast set out to write a highly efficient big data stack. At the bottom of that stack was Quantcast’s distributed file system called QFS. Quantcast open-sourced QFS, and performed several studies to show the efficiency gains QFS had over HDFS. Given the first hand experience I have had with QFS performance, I thought it would interesting to get it running on the ODROID XU4 cluster in combination with Spark to see how much QFS would improve processing speeds in our set up. Spoiler alert: there was no time improvements, but QFS required less memory than HDFS, allowing me to assign more RAM to Spark. Installing Read More …

Installing Spark onto the ODROID XU4 Cluster

While installing and using Apache Hadoop on the ODROID XU4 cluster is cool, my ultimate goal was to get the more modern Apache Spark application for data analysis. In this post, we will not only install Spark, but also install the Jupyter Notebook for interacting with Spark conveniently from your computer’s browser. The installation instruction here will install Saprk and run it as a stand alone cluster in combination with the HDFS service we have previously installed. Installing Spark ends up being much simpler than installing Hadoop, but I found it to be more temperamental than Hadoop. Most notably, Spark is sensitive to the different CPU core speeds of the heterogenous octal-core CPU that the XU4 uses. If the Spark processes would run on the slower cores of the CPU, the master node would think the slave processes are timing out (missing a heartbeat), in turn restarting the executors on the slave nodes. This causes very inefficient repetition of work Read More …