Archive for August, 2009

Joining Cloudera

August 10, 2009

I will be leaving Yahoo! at the end of this month to join Cloudera.

About five years ago I was working with Mike Cafarella on Apache Nutch, an open-source web-search engine. Initially we were able to crawl and index on four machines in parallel, but with a lot of manual steps. Inspired by two Google papers, we implemented a distributed filesystem and MapReduce implementation that automated most of these steps. Operation became much simpler, and we were then able to easily run Nutch on twenty machines, with near-linear scaling.

But to scale to the many billions of pages in the web we’d need to be able to run it on thousands of machines. And the more we worked on it the more I realized that would take a lot more developers and resources than we had to make this happen.

Yahoo! proposed to fill this gap. Eric Baldeschwieler led a team with talented folks, like Owen O’Malley, Sameer Paranjpye, and Nigel Daley. Eric said he’d dedicate his team to scaling this system to be able to process the full web. So, three and half years ago, I joined Yahoo! to help make this happen.

We exceeded my dreams. First we moved the distributed computing code out of Nutch into a new Apache project christened Hadoop. Then we set out to improve scalability, performance, and reliability, all the while adding many features. After one year Hadoop was used daily by many research groups within Yahoo!. After two years it generated Yahoo!’s web search index, achieving web-scale. Now, after three years, Hadoop holds the big-data sort record and the project has become a de-facto industry standard for big-data computing, used by scores of companies. The recent Hadoop Summit was attended by over 750 people from around the world.

Many folks at Yahoo! were instrumental in this story, including: Raymie Stata, Dhruba Borthakur, Arun C Murthy, Devaraj Das, Raghu Angadi, Hairong Kuang, Konstantin Shvachko, Runping Qi, Chris Douglas, Allen Wittenauer, Sharad Agarwal and Hemanth Yamijala, to name just a few. Yahoo! deserves enormous and ongoing thanks for the key role it plays in making Hadoop useful.

Now Hadoop is a thriving open-source project, with large and diverse developer and user communities. Going forward, Cloudera presents an opportunity to work with a wider range of Hadoop users. I hope to help synthesize these many voices into a project that best serves all.

Hadoop has grown to be a large, active, project very quickly, but it is still a young project. At Cloudera I will be well positioned to help it mature. This move will not fundamentally change my day-to-day activities. I will continue to work on Hadoop, working closely with developers from Yahoo! and elsewhere to build great software.