Hadoop's supporting cast

Hortonworks put faith in open source management tool Apache Ambari

Chris Mayer

The latest Hortonworks Data Platform brings an important Hadoop management tool for novices. Could it give them the edge over other Hadoop vendors?

Hadoop vendor Hortonworks have unveiled their newest
version of their open source distribution,
Platform 1.2
, welcoming management tool
into the stack.

There’s plenty of established projects (like Hive, Pig and
HBase) that sit aside the core Hadoop technology, adding in new
functionalities. But a frequent enterprise criticism of Hadoop is
its difficulty to manage a large number of clusters, especially
without being able to set up a graphical interface

Apache Ambari appears to be an alternative to this problem,
with the Hortonworks team

describing it as
“a key operational
component within the
Data Platform
(HDP), which helps make Hadoop
deployments for our customers and partners easier and more

Hortonworks are placing emphasis on its stack being
the industry’s only complete 100-percent open source
platform”, and Ambari slots into that. With competitors MapR and
Cloudera initially only offering closed source/fee-based management
tools, Hortonworks could gain enterprise trust for the malleability
of their open source option.

The Java-coded, web-based tool allows inexperienced sysadmins
to provision Hadoop clusters through a step-by-step wizard. The UI
makes it possible to track MapReduce jobs and monitor performance
metrics across the cluster, making it quicker to locate
bottlenecks. Metric collection is controlled through

Nagios is
responsible for sending messages to alert the user of any

Ambari’s RESTful API means
users can initiate commands and also integrate with third-party
system management tools in the datacenter.

By Apache standards, Ambari
has been progressing quickly in the incubator, “shipping often and
early releases” according to the Hortonworks team, who
predominantly work on the project. Several Apache Hadoop
stablemates are supported within Ambari, including Hive, HCatalog,
Pig and Zookeeper.

Ambari has been available in
Hortonworks Data Platform since June’s 1.0 release, but in tech
preview only. More details about the release can be found

. Despite Hortonworks’
decision to stick with the mature Hadoop 1.x codebase as the basis
was thought to be conservative by some, but their willingness to
innovate isn’t in question.

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