Feeds

Hadoop - Why is Google juicing Yahoo! search?

Inside the Mountain View mind

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Big Data 101

When Christophe Bisciglia was still at Google, interviewing student engineers for admission to the Chocolate Factory, he was struck by how difficult it was for the uninitiated to grasp the company's multi-terrabyte data transformations.

"I started notice repeating pattern when interviewing students," he tells The Reg. "I would say 'OK, that's a great solution to the problem, but what would you do if you had a 1000 times as much data?' And they would just stare out at me, blank. It wasn't that they weren't smart or talented. It's just they'd never had the exposure."

In the hopes of shrinking this education gap, Google sent Bisciglia back to his alma mater, the University of Washington, where he taught a course on "working with big data." And Hadoop was the teaching model.

Google ended up hiring about half the students who took the class. And after the company open-sourced the curriculum, the same course was picked up by several other universities, including MIT and Berkeley. "In the past, it took three to six months to get hires up to speed with how to work with [Google] technology," Bisciglia says. "But if schools are teaching this as part of the standard undergraduate curriculum, Google saved that three to six months - multiplied by thousands of engineers."

To further facilitate such education, the company setup a Hadoop cluster inside one of its (then top secret) data centers, offering access to researchers across the planet.

Yes, this also juices the Yahoo!s and the Microsofts of the world. But Google is fond of saying "what's good for the internet is good for Google."

"As a result of having this large-scale data-processing technology easily available in open-source form, it makes it easier for other business to create and publish more data," ex-Googler Christophe Bisciglia says. "The more data that other business create and publish, the more data Google can slurp up and make universally accessible and useful."

Why didn't Google just open-source MapReduce and GFS on its own? Bisciglia says the company mulled the idea "a little bit," but decided it was less than practical. "MapReduce and GFS is infinitely integrated with so many other systems. Trying to cleanly excise them would be a software engineering challenge that would take millions of man hours. There would be no clean way to cut it out."

Plus, by the time Google got around to its mulling, Hadoop was already a thriving open source project. "It had a good community around it. It was seeing adoption at Yahoo! and Facebook," he says. "It wouldn't have been good for the community to have these two competing projects that do the same thing."

And, Bisciglia acknowledges, Google likes the fact that it's internal platform is "just a little bit better."

Last year, Hadoop researchers set an record on Jim Gray's sort algorithm, sorting a terabyte of random data in three minutes across 900 machines. But shortly thereafter, Google couldn't help but pipe up with the claim that it's very own MapReduce had done the job in just 60 seconds.

When it comes time to praise itself, Google isn't above lifting the code the secrecy. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?