Hadoop – HDFS Overview

Hadoop File System was developed using distributed file system design. It is run on commodity hardware. Unlike other distributed systems, HDFS is highly fault-tolerant and designed using low-cost hardware.

HDFS holds very large amount of data and provides easier access. To store such huge data, the files are stored across multiple machines. These files are stored in redundant fashion to rescue the system from possible data losses in case of failure. HDFS also makes applications available to parallel processing.

HDFS Architecture

Given below is the architecture of a Hadoop File System.

HDFS Architecture

HDFS follows the master-slave architecture and it has the following elements.


The namenode is the commodity hardware that contains the GNU/Linux operating system and the namenode software. It is a software that can be run on commodity hardware. The system having the namenode acts as the master server and it does the following tasks:

  • Manages the file system namespace.
  • Regulates client’s access to files.
  • It also executes file system operations such as renaming, closing, and opening files and directories.


The datanode is a commodity hardware having the GNU/Linux operating system and datanode software. For every node (Commodity hardware/System) in a cluster, there will be a datanode. These nodes manage the data storage of their system.

  • Datanodes perform read-write operations on the file systems, as per client request.
  • They also perform operations such as block creation, deletion, and replication according to the instructions of the namenode.


Generally the user data is stored in the files of HDFS. The file in a file system will be divided into one or more segments and/or stored in individual data nodes. These file segments are called as blocks. In other words, the minimum amount of data that HDFS can read or write is called a Block. The default block size is 64MB, but it can be increased as per the need to change in HDFS configuration.