Monday, September 08, 2008

More MapReduce Groovy

A very good post on Cascading (covered previously), GOODBYE MAPREDUCE, HELLO CASCADING

Cascading’s logical model abstracts away MapReduce into a convenient tuples, pipes, and taps model. Data is represented as “Tuples”, a named list of objects. For example, I can have a tuple (”url”, “stats”), where “url” is a Hadoop “Text” object and “stats” is my own “UrlStats” complex object, containing methods for getting “numberOfHits” and “averageTimeSpent”. Tuples are kept together in “streams”, and all tuples in a stream have the exact same fields.

An operation on a stream of tuples is called a “Pipe”. There are a few kinds of pipes, each encompassing a category of transformations on a tuple stream. For instance, the “Each” pipe will apply a custom function to each individual tuple. The “GroupBy” pipe will group tuples together by a set of fields, and the “Every” pipe will apply an “aggregator function” to all tuples in a group at once.

One of the most powerful features of Cascading is the ability to fork and merge pipes together.

Once you have constructed your operations into a “pipe assembly”, you then tell Cascading how to retrieve and persist the data using an abstraction called “Tap”. “Taps” know how to convert stored data into Tuples and vice versa, and have complete control over how and where the data is stored. Cascading has a lot of built-in taps - using SequenceFiles and Text formats via HDFS are two examples. If you want to store data in your own format, you can define your own Tap. We have done this here at Rapleaf and it has worked seamlessly.
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