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Hadoop - Delta Lake Migration: A Migration for Vital Data Lakes

Acknowledging Data Management
          Best Practices with DataOps


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Introducing Hadoop - Delta Lake Migration

Hadoop Delta - Lake Migration is one of the fastest-growing advancements that have revolutionized IT services. It is because of their reliability and easiness to use that they are widely spread across the market. What caused this migration from Hadoop to Delta Lake? What Apache Hadoop offered? Why is Delta Lake superior to Hadoop? Let's find out.

Knowing Hadoop

Hadoop is an open-source software platform managed by Apache Software Foundation. It is used to manage and store large data sets at a low cost and with great efficiency.
Hadoop, managed by the Apache Software Foundation, is at its heart a framework and file system that manages distributed computing. Source: Forbes, an American business magazine
Hadoop has two main parts - a framework used to process the data and a distributed file system used to store it. It uses Apache Hive to convert queries given by users into map-reduce jobs. As map-reduce is complex and works as batch processing (one-job-at-a-time), Hadoop tends to be used more as a data warehousing than a data analysis tool. Hadoop also uses HDFS to maintain and manage all the records - file system management across the cluster.

Why Hadoop?

Hadoop hit its peak popularity as a search term in summer 2015. Reasons are many.

1. Flexible

Hadoop manages different Big Data types, whether structured or unstructured or any other kind of data. It is quite simple, relevant, and schema-less. It supports any language and works on almost any kind of operating system provided.

2. Scalable

Hadoop is a scalable platform. Users can easily add nodes without even altering the data format or anything related to the existing applications. It is fault-tolerant, so even if a node stops working for some reason, Hadoop automatically reallocates work to another data location and keeps the work in progress.

3. Data Economy

Hadoop is like a dam, as it harnesses the flow of an unlimited amount of data and generates much power in the form of required/necessary information.

4. Robust EcoSystem

Hadoop has quite a rich ecosystem. Its ecosystem consists of various related projects such as MapReduce, Apache Hbase, Apache Zookeeper, HCatalog, Hive, Apache Pig, and many more. This allows Hadoop to deliver a vast spectrum of services.

5. Cost-Effective

Hadoop helps save cost by computing parallelly, resulting in a substantial reduction in storage cost per terabyte.

Challenges with Hadoop Architecture

Migration from Hadoop takes place because of a variety of reasons. Following are the common reasons why migration’s necessity comes up:

1. Poor Data Reliability and Scalability

Data scalability issues with Hadoop clusters are common. Users were facing difficulty scale up for research purposes and scale down to reduce costs, which affected the team's productivity.

2. Cost of Time and Resource

Excessive operational burdens due to Hadoop got common. It required time and headcount required to maintain, patch, and upgrade a complicated Hadoop system. Time spent in configuring the system went high for many users.

3. Blocked Projects

Data being stuck in different silos, some in Hadoop and others in HPC clusters, hindered important deep learning projects.

4. Unsupportive Service

Core Hadoop services like YARN and HDFS were not designed for cloud-native environments.

5. Run Time Quality Issues

Performance and Reliability at scale were missing in data lakes built on the Hadoop stack.

Welcome, Delta Lake!

Delta Lake is an open-source storage layer that helps bring reliability to the data lakes. It provides ACID transactions, unifies streaming and batch data processing, and scalable metadata handling. It runs on top of the existing data lake and is fully compatible with Apache Spark's APIs. Get to know about Apache Spark Architecture here.

What Delta Lake has to offer?

Experience suggests that Delta Lake makes data consistent by providing ACID transactions on Spark. This ensures that readers see only consistent. It also supports update, merge, and delete operations to enable complex use cases. It is compatible with Apache Spark APIs. Developers can easily integrate delta lake into their existing spark pipelines with minimum changes. Delta lake can handle scalable metadata. This gives spark distributed processing power leverage to handle all the metadata for a huge data range to many petabytes with billions of files at ease. The table in delta lake acts as a source and sink for both batch and stream processing.

To increase the data quality, the developer can specify granular business rules that the delta lake data needs to adhere to.

Delta lake automatically handles any schema variations to prevent any bad record from inserting during ingestion. Users can easily rollback, see full historical audit trails, and reproduce machine learning experiments with data versioning. Delta lake can easily be integrated with other big data engines like Apache Presto and Apache Hive. Know about Geospatial Analytics using Presto and Hive here.

Why Choose Delta Lake?

Delta lake is an open-source that brings new capabilities of transactions, version control, indexing, and many more to your data lakes. Delta lake provides snapshot isolation that helps to use read/write operations concurrently. This results in efficient insert, update, deletes, and rollback capabilities. It helps engineers to build efficient pipelines for their data. Delta lake helps upcoming the challenges faced by data lakes like unsafe writes, orphan data, no schematic by bringing various features like ACID transactions. Being reliable, efficient, easy to use, it is a layer that ensures data quality.

Phases of Migration from Hadoop to Delta Lake

Migrating to Delta Lake from Hadoop Migration from Hadoop has been a common theme. What led to it? What after the migration? Go ahead for the answers.

Frowning Hadoop users

Hadoop users usually get frowned upon by the traditional problems of data gravity. Is there an application that assumes local, ready, and fast access to an on-premises data lake built on HDFS? Building an application away from that data becomes a bit challenging as it requires building additional workflows to copy or access data from on-premises Hadoop data lake manually.

Hadoop migration with Databricks and WANdisco

To overcome the challenges, Databricks and WANdisco got together to provide the solution, named LiveAnalytics. It takes the help of WANdisco's platform to migrate and replicate the largest Hadoop datasets to Databricks and Delta Lake. One can use WANdisco’s technology to bring their respective Hadoop data lake to Databricks. It will provide native support for Databricks and Delta Lake.

Hadoop to Cloud Migration Principles

Listed below are certain principles for Hadoop - Delta Lake Migration implementation.
  1. Managing Complexity and Scale: Metadata movement, Workload Migration, Data Center Migration
  2. Manage Quality and Risk: Methodology, Project Plans, Timelines, Technology Mappings
  3. Manage Cost and Time: Partners and Professional Services bringing experience and training

Pondering Hadoop - Delta Lake Migration

The following points have proven to be valid while thinking of Hadoop - Delta Lake Migration:
  1. One can only use it as a part of Databricks Ecosystem.
  2. Delta lake does not support transactions that involve multi-table and does not support foreign keys either.
  3. Delta lake is only available with AWS Serverless Computing and Azure Serverless Computing, but not with GCP Serverless Computing.
  4. Atomicity is attained using transaction logs, which are only available through Databricks.


Hadoop is used to store enormous data sets. It does so by storing the data across distributed clusters of servers and then running “distributed” analysis applications in each cluster. It is designed to be robust, i.e., it will run even if one of the clusters fails. Hadoop architecture challenges led us to migrate to Hadoop - Delta Lake Migration, a new version of Hadoop clubbed with Delta Lake. Although it helped in saving the data lake from getting polluted, it too had its limitations. It now totally depends on the business leaders to choose a proper OSS for their services to run smoothly. You may be interested in reading about:

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