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Beautiful Data by Toby Segaran, Jeff Hammerbacher

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New Tools and Applied Research

Most of the early users of the Hadoop cluster at Facebook were engineers with a taste for new technologies. To make the information accessible to a larger fraction of the organization, we built a framework for data warehousing on top of Hadoop called Hive.

Hive includes a SQL-like query language with facilities for embedding MapReduce logic, as well as table partitioning, sampling, and the ability to handle arbitrarily serialized data. The last feature was critical, as the data collected into Hadoop was constantly evolving in structure; allowing users to specify their own serialization format allowed us to pass the problem of specifying structure for the data to those responsible for loading the data into Hive. In addition, a simple UI for constructing Hive queries, called HiPal, was built. Using the new tools, non-engineers from marketing, product management, sales, and customer service were able to author queries over terabytes of data. After several months of internal use, Hive was contributed back to Hadoop as an official subproject under the Apache 2.0 license and continues to be actively developed.

In addition to Hive, we built a portal for sharing charts and graphs called Argus (inspired by IBM's work on the Many Eyes project), a workflow management system called Databee, a framework for writing MapReduce scripts in Python called PyHive, and a storage system for serving structured data to end users called Cassandra (now available as open source ...

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