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OSCON 2008, Session 3: Hypertable


  • Run on 1000 machines, not 1


  • 64MB chunk

  • Replicates each chunk across machines

  • By doing so, system is impervious to a whole class of hardware failures

    • Power supply

    • Power to the rack

    • Network failure

  • Map/Reduce

  • Bigtable


  • Not relational

  • Modeled after Google's bigtable

  • One big massive primary keyed table

  • No transactions, maybe in the future

  • Scalable

  • High Random insert, update, and delete rate

  • Loaded 1TB into a 9-node HT cluster, sustained random insert @ 1M inserts per second (Quad core Intel, 16GB RAM, SATA 3Gb/s).

Data Model

  • Sparse, 2D table with cell versions

  • 1 table with 2 columns, next one has 1M, that's OK

  • 4-part key

    • Row

    • Column Family

    • Column Qualifier

    • Timestamp

  • Tim O'Reilly walks in and looks around for a seat, they're all taken

Anatomy of a key

  • Row key is 0 Terminated

  • Col family is a single-byte (256 possible)

  • Col qualifier is 0 terminated

  • Timestamp is big-endian 1's Comp. (memcmp, ordering has more recent ahead of older versions)


  • Bigtable uses Copy on write

  • MVCC (like Couch) form in Hypertable. Deletes are inserted as delete records. Multiple versions are kept around.


  • 65K blocks of compressed KV pairs

  • Bloom Filter - booya!

System Overview

  • Hyperspace has a distributed lock manager, and a small metadata fs (built on BDB)

  • Chubby (sp?) is google's hyperspace

  • Function of the master is to perform metadata operations (ALTER, CREATE, etc.)

  • Clients can communicate with Range servers

  • Master can be down for a while with no one even noticing

  • Hot standby design for availability

  • Range Servers: Responsible for UPDATING and SCANNING

  • All sits on top of HDFS distributed FS

  • Hadoop, KFS (GFS Clone)

Range server

  • Manages ranges of table data

  • Caches updates in memory (CellCache)

  • Spills (compacts) periodically to update the disk (CellStore)

Write ahead commit log

  • When updates come into a rangeserver, they're written to a commit log, then the data structures are updated so you can replay the log.

Range meta-operation log

  • When a rangeserver does anything (moves, stops), it's written into the log

Client API

  • C++ client is the only one supported ATM:

  • You modify a table by creating a mutator

  • You scan a table by creating a scanner

  • Thrift Broker in the works

  • Someone contrib'd a Hadoop Map/Reduce connector


  • CellStore: compressed KV pairs

  • Commit log: Compressed blocks (optionally)

  • Supported types

    • zlib (fastest/best)

    • lzo (high decomp speed)

    • quicklz (fast decomp, high ratio)

    • bmz (longest commons substring, lost of replication)

    • none


Block Cache

  • CellStore blocks of KV pairs configurable

Query cache

  • Not finished implementing

  • Caches results

Bloom Filter (!!)

  • Negative Cache

  • Configurable K

  • Allows you to find out if you definitely *don't* have the data


  • Session table and crawl table

  • Splits them all up into ranges, go to rangeservers

  • Just add more machines, and the system migrates data equally

  • Balancing is questionable…

Access Groups

  • Control of physical layout hybrid row/col oriented

  • Improves perf. by minimizing IO

  • Grouping columns allows physical storage control

  • Makes faster updates possible

FS Broker

  • Can run on any distributed FS

  • FUSE hooks


  • Comparison to Hbase (Java, yuck), C++ much better

  • System is designed for async communication

  • Hypertable is CPU intensive

  • Java uses 2-3 times the memory for large memmap

  • Poor processor cache perf.


  • AOL Query logs

  • 75,275,825 inserted cells

  • 8-node cluster (1 1.8 Ghz Dual Core Opteron)

    • 4GB RAM

    • 3x 7200 SATA

  • Row Key 7B

  • Avg value 15B

  • Crap. Slide change

  • Another test yielded over 1M sustained inserts/s


  • Range data managed by a single rangeserver

    • No data loss, but if it goes down, bad bad

    • Can be mitigated with client-side cache or memcached


  • Alpha, released

  • Beta at the end of August

  • Waiting on Hadoop JIRA 1700

    • Bug in Hadoop, don't allow appending to existing files

  • GPL 2

  • Delete records get flushed in a “major operation”