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Multi-Volume Installations

This is an advanced configuration setting for very large clusters under a lot of write pressure.

The HDFS NameNode holds all of the metadata about the files in HDFS. For fast performance, all of this information needs to be stored in memory. A single NameNode with 64G of memory can store the metadata for tens of millions of files. However, when scaling beyond a thousand nodes, an active Accumulo system can generate lots of updates to the file system, especially when data is being ingested. The large number of write transactions to the NameNode, and the speed of a single edit log, can become the limiting factor for large scale Accumulo installations.

You can see the effect of slow write transactions when the Accumulo Garbage Collector takes a long time (more than 5 minutes) to delete the files Accumulo no longer needs. If your Garbage Collector routinely runs in less than a minute, the NameNode is performing well.

However, if you do begin to experience slow-down and poor GC performance, Accumulo can be configured to use multiple NameNode servers. The configuration instance.volumes should be set to a comma-separated list, using full URI references to different NameNode servers:


The introduction of multiple volume support in 1.6 changed the way Accumulo stores pointers to files. It now stores fully qualified URI references to files. Before 1.6, Accumulo stored paths that were relative to a table directory. After an upgrade these relative paths will still exist and are resolved using instance.dfs.dir, instance.dfs.uri, and Hadoop configuration in the same way they were before 1.6.

If the URI for a namenode changes (e.g. namenode was running on host1 and its moved to host2), then Accumulo will no longer function. Even if Hadoop and Accumulo configurations are changed, the fully qualified URIs stored in Accumulo will still contain the old URI. To handle this Accumulo has the configuration property instance.volumes.replacements for replacing URI stored in its metadata. The example configuration below will replace ns1 with nsA and ns2 with nsB in Accumulo metadata. For this property to take affect, Accumulo will need to be restarted.

    <value>hdfs://ns1:9001 hdfs://nsA:9001, hdfs://ns2:9001 hdfs://nsB:9001</value>

Using viewfs or HA namenode, introduced in Hadoop 2, offers another option for managing the fully qualified URIs stored in Accumulo. Viewfs and HA namenode both introduce a level of indirection in the Hadoop configuration. For example assume viewfs:///nn1 maps to hdfs://nn1 in the Hadoop configuration. If viewfs://nn1 is used by Accumulo, then its easy to map viewfs://nn1 to hdfs://nnA by changing the Hadoop configuration w/o doing anything to Accumulo. A production system should probably use a HA namenode. Viewfs may be useful on a test system with a single non HA namenode.

You may also want to configure your cluster to use Federation, available in Hadoop 2.0, which allows DataNodes to respond to multiple NameNode servers, so you do not have to partition your DataNodes by NameNode.

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