Understand HDFS Feature – Fault Tolerance 9

1. Definition

Fault tolerance in HDFS refers to the working strength of a system in unfavourable conditions and how that system can handle such situation. HDFS is highly fault tolerant. It handles faults by the process of replica creation. The replica of users data is created on different machines in the HDFS cluster. So whenever if any machine in the cluster goes down, then data can be accessed from other machine in which same copy of data was created. HDFS also maintains the replication factor by creating replica of data on other available machines in the cluster if suddenly one machine fails. To learn more about world’s most reliable storage layer follow this HDFS introductory guide

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2. How this feature will be achieved

HDFS achieves fault tolerance mechanism by replication process. In HDFS whenever a file is stored by the user, then firstly that file is divided into blocks and then these blocks of data are distributed across different machines present in HDFS cluster. After this, replica of each block is created on other machines present in the cluster. By default HDFS creates 3 copies of a file on other machines present in the cluster. So due some reason if any machine on the HDFS goes down or fails, then also user can easily access that data from other machines in the cluster in which replica of file is present. Hence HDFS provides faster file read and write mechanism, due to its unique feature of distributed storage.

3. Show one example

Suppose there is a user data named FILE. This data FILE is divided in into blocks say B1, B2, B3 and send to Master. Now master sends these blocks to the slaves say S1, S2, and S3. Now slaves creates replica of these blocks to the other slaves present in the cluster say S4, S5 and S6. Hence multiple copies of blocks are created on slaves. Say S1 contains B1 and B2, S2 contains B2 and B3, S3 contains B3 and B1, S4 contains B2 and B3, S5 contains B3 and B1, S6 contains B1 and B2. Now if due to some reasons slave S4 gets crashed. Hence data present in S4 was B2 and B3 become unavailable. But we don’t have to worry because we can get the blocks B2 and B3 from other slave S2. Hence in unfavourable conditions also our data doesn’t get lost. Hence HDFS is highly fault tolerant. 

4. What was the issues in legacy systems

In legacy systems like RDBMS, all the read and write operation performed by the user, were done on a single machine.  And if due to some unfavourable conditions like machine failure, RAM Crash, Hard-disk failure, power down, etc the users have to wait until the issue is manually corrected. So at the time of machine crashing or failure, the user cannot access their data until the issue in the machine gets recovered and becomes available for the user. Also in legacy systems we can store data in the range of GBs only. So in order to increase the data storage capacity, one has to buy a new server machine. Hence to store a huge amount of data one has to buy a number of server machines, due to which the cost becomes very expensive.

5. Related Links

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