7 Hadoop questions. Q4: alternative file systems

Which is your preferred Hadoop file system? The obvious answer is likely to be the Hadoop Distributed File System itself, although in recent years we’ve seen an increasing number of vendors pitching their own file system technologies as potential alternatives to HDFS. That’s why the use of alternative file systems is one of the primary questions being asked in the 451 Research 2013 Hadoop survey.


The limitations of HDFS are well-publicised, and it is no surprise that many vendors see an opportunity to pitch their existing files system technologies as alternatives to HDFS.

There is now a large number of HDFS alternatives to choose from, including: Cleversafe Dispersed Storage Network, DataStax CassandraFS, EMC Isilon OneFS, IBM GPFS, InkTank Ceph, MapR NFS, Quantcast QFS, Red Hat Storage (GlusterFS), and Symantec Veritas CFS.

Our research indicates that adoption of alternatives to HDFS is limited at this stage and early efforts, such as Appistry’s CloudIQ Storage Hadoop Edition, have come and gone.

However, as adoption of Hadoop grows into more mainstream enterprises, we increasingly see interest in some of these HDFS alternatives, particularly in relation to attempts to reduce duplication of effort with regards to file system management and maintenance.


The early responses to our Hadoop survey are therefore interesting: MapR NFS has scored highest in terms of adoption so far, but there is interest across the board (especially Red Hat Storage, CassandraFS, GPFS, OneFS and Ceph). By and large though, its true to say that most respondents have not considered, tested or adopted an alternative file system to date.

To give your view on this and other questions related to the adoption of Hadoop, please take our 451 Research 2013 Hadoop survey.

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