Building a Modern Lakehouse on Your Existing Hadoop Infrastructure


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The world of big data is constantly evolving, and the need for flexible, scalable data architectures is more critical than ever. Enter the lakehouse: a hybrid approach that combines a data lake’s raw data storage with a data warehouse’s structure and governance. For existing Hadoop users, leveraging this infrastructure can be a cost-effective way to build a modern lakehouse. This blog post will guide you through the process, exploring key considerations, architecture choices, and open-source tools to empower your data-driven journey.

Why Build a Lakehouse on Hadoop?

Hadoop has been the workhorse of big data for years, offering a robust and scalable platform for storing and processing massive datasets. However, the limitations of traditional data warehouses and the ever-growing volume and variety of data necessitate a more modern approach. Here’s where the lakehouse shines:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Utilize your existing Hadoop infrastructure for raw data storage with HDFS, saving on additional storage costs.
  • Scalability: Hadoop’s distributed architecture seamlessly scales to accommodate growing data volumes.
  • Flexibility: The lakehouse allows storing raw, structured, and semi-structured data, providing a unified platform for all your data needs.
  • Advanced Analytics: Integrate modern tools for data transformation, querying, and analytics alongside your familiar Hadoop ecosystem.

Key Considerations for Building a Hadoop-Based Lakehouse

Building a lakehouse on Hadoop requires careful planning and consideration of various factors:

  • Data Ingestion: How will you bring data from various sources into your lakehouse? Existing Hadoop tools like Flume or Sqoop can be used, but Apache Kafka should be considered for real-time data streams.
  • Data Transformation: Hadoop’s MapReduce, while functional, might not be the most efficient choice. Explore Apache Spark for faster and more versatile data processing capabilities.
  • Data Governance: Hadoop lacks robust data governance features. Integrate tools like Apache Atlas or Apache Ranger to manage data lineage, access control, and security within your lakehouse.
  • Data Querying: Choose a query engine that allows efficient exploration of data stored in HDFS. Options include Apache Hive, Apache Impala, Apache Drill, or PrestoSQL.

Lakehouse Architecture with Existing Hadoop Integration

Here’s a breakdown of a potential lakehouse architecture leveraging your Hadoop ecosystem:

  1. Data Source Layer: Your data originates from various sources – databases, log files, sensors, social media feeds, etc.
  2. Data Ingestion Layer: Data is ingested into the lakehouse using tools like Flume, Sqoop, or Kafka. Consider Kafka for real-time data pipelines.
  3. Raw Data Storage: HDFS within your Hadoop environment serves as the central storage for all raw data entering the lakehouse.
  4. Data Transformation Layer: Apache Spark processes and transforms raw data into a usable format. Spark can be configured to run on your existing Hadoop cluster.
  5. Data Governance Layer: Integrate Apache Atlas or Apache Ranger to manage data lineage, access control, and security within the lakehouse.
  6. Data Catalog: This metadata store keeps track of all data within the lakehouse, including its location, schema, and ownership.
  7. Query Engine Layer: Choose a query engine like Apache Impala, Apache Drill, or PrestoSQL to enable efficient exploration and analysis of data stored in HDFS.

Open Source Tools for Your Lakehouse

The beauty of building on Hadoop lies in the vast ecosystem of open-source tools available to enhance specific functionalities:

  • Data Ingestion:
    • Apache Kafka: A distributed streaming platform for real-time data ingestion.
  • Data Transformation:
    • Apache Spark: A powerful framework for batch and real-time data processing, offering superior performance compared to MapReduce.
  • Data Governance:
    • Apache Atlas: Provides comprehensive data governance capabilities for lineage, access control, and data security.
    • Apache Ranger: Focuses on authorization and access control within the Hadoop ecosystem.
  • Data Catalog:
    • Apache Atlas: This can also function as a data catalog, keeping track of data within the lakehouse.
  • Query Engine:
    • Apache Hive: A familiar SQL-like interface for querying data in HDFS, but might not be the fastest option.
    • Apache Impala/Drill: Interactive SQL query engines specifically designed for querying data in HDFS, offering faster performance than Hive.
    • PrestoSQL: A high-performance, distributed SQL query engine that can query data from various sources, including HDFS.


Building a lakehouse on your existing Hadoop infrastructure is a strategic way to leverage your investment while embracing a modern data architecture. By carefully integrating open-source tools alongside your familiar Hadoop ecosystem, you can create a scalable and flexible platform for all your data needs.

Here are some final takeaways:

  • Focus on Data Governance: While Hadoop provides storage and processing, prioritize data governance tools like Apache Atlas or Ranger to ensure data quality, security, and compliance within your lakehouse.
  • Embrace Modern Tools: Don’t be afraid to move beyond traditional Hadoop components like MapReduce. Explore Apache Spark for data transformation and consider high-performance query engines like Impala or PrestoSQL for data exploration.
  • Security is Paramount: Implement robust security measures throughout your lakehouse architecture to protect sensitive data.
  • Planning is Key: Carefully evaluate your data pipelines, processing needs, and query patterns to choose the most suitable open-source tools for your specific lakehouse implementation.

By following these guidelines and leveraging the vast open-source ecosystem, you can transform your existing Hadoop infrastructure into a powerful and future-proof lakehouse, empowering your organization to make data-driven decisions with agility and efficiency.

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