Hadoop - NameNode, Checkpoint Node and Backup Node 11 Dec 2013


The NameNode stores the metadata of the HDFS. The state of HDFS is stored in a file called fsimage and is the base of the metadata. During the runtime modifications are just written to a log file called edits. On the next start-up of the NameNode the state is read from fsimage, the changes from edits are applied to that and the new state is written back to fsimage. After this edits is cleared and contains is now ready for new log entries.

Checkpoint Node

A Checkpoint Node was introduced to solve the drawbacks of the NameNode. The changes are just written to edits and not merged to fsimage during the runtime. If the NameNode runs for a while edits gets huge and the next startup will take even longer because more changes have to be applied to the state to determine the last state of the metadata.

The Checkpoint Node fetches periodically fsimage and edits from the NameNode and merges them. The resulting state is called checkpoint. After this is uploads the result to the NameNode.

There was also a similiar type of node called “Secondary Node” but it doesn’t have the “upload to NameNode” feature. So the NameNode need to fetch the state from the Secondary NameNode. It also was confussing because the name suggests that the Secondary NameNode takes the request if the NameNode fails which isn’t the case.

Backup Node

The Backup Node provides the same functionality as the Checkpoint Node, but is synchronized with the NameNode. It doesn’t need to fetch the changes periodically because it receives a strem of file system edits. from the NameNode. It holds the current state in-memory and just need to save this to an image file to create a new checkpoint.