Scenario-Based Hadoop Interview Questions to prepare for in 2017

Last Update Made on June 20, 2017.

On completing Hadoop training at DeZyre, most of the students often have these questions in mind –

  1. “How to prepare for a Hadoop job interview?”
  2. “Where can I find real-time or scenario-based hadoop interview questions and answers for experienced?”

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While we have answered the first question for our students through a series of blog posts on commonly asked Hadoop Interview Questions and tips for preparing a Hadoop resume. This blog post aims to familiarize students with a list of hadoop interview questions and answers for experienced that are scenario-based or real-time hadoop interview questions and are most likely to be asked in a hadoop job interview. What makes answering scenario based hadoop interview questions challenging, is there are an infinite number of situations the interviewer can ask. It is difficult to know in advance what kind of a scenario based question you will be asked.

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Scenario based hadoop interview questions are a big part of hadoop job interviews. Big data recruiters and employers use these kind of interview questions to get an idea if you have the desired competencies and hadoop skills required for the open hadoop job position. It is easy to list a set of big data and hadoop skills on your resume but you need to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the interviewer on how you successfully go about solving big data problems and glean valuable insights.

What would you do if you were presented with the following hadoop interview question-

“How will you select the right hardware for your hadoop cluster?”

The meaning behind asking such real-time or scenario based hadoop interview questions is to test your skills on how you would apply your hadoop skills and approach a given big data problem. As a hadoop developer or hadoop administrator, getting into the details of hadoop architecture and studying it carefully, almost becomes your key to success in answering real-time hadoop job interview questions.

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Scenario-Based Hadoop Interview Questions and Answers for Experienced

Real-Time or Scenario based Hadoop Interview Questions

1) If 8TB is the available disk space per node (10 disks with 1 TB, 2 disk for operating system etc. were excluded.). Assuming initial data size is 600 TB. How will you estimate the number of data nodes (n)?

Estimating the hardware requirement is always challenging in Hadoop environment because we never know when data storage demand can increase for a business. We must understand following factors in detail to come to a conclusion for the current scenario of adding right numbers to the cluster:

  1. The actual size of data to store – 600 TB
  2. At what pace the data will increase in the future (per day/week/month/quarter/year) – Data trending analysis or business requirement justification (prediction)
  3. We are in Hadoop world, so replication factor plays an important role – default 3x replicas
  4. Hardware machine overhead (OS, logs etc.) – 2 disks were considered
  5. Intermediate mapper and reducer data output on hard disk - 1x
  6. Space utilization between 60 % to 70 % - Finally, as a perfect designer we never want our hard drive to be full with their storage capacity.
  7. Compression ratio

Let’s do some calculation to find the number of data nodes required to store 600 TB of data:

Rough calculation:

  • Data Size – 600 TB
  • Replication factor – 3
  • Intermediate data – 1
  • Total Storage requirement – (3+1) * 600 = 2400 TB
  • Available disk size for storage – 8 TB
  • Total number of required data nodes (approx.): 2400/8 = 300 machines

Actual Calculation: Rough Calculation + Disk space utilization + Compression ratio

  • Disk space utilization – 65 % (differ business to business)
  • Compression ratio – 2.3
  • Total Storage requirement – 2400/2.3 = 1043.5 TB
  • Available disk size for storage – 8*0.65 = 5.2 TB
  • Total number of required data nodes (approx.): 1043.5/5.2 = 201 machines
  • Actual usable cluster size (100 %): (201*8*2.3)/4 = 925 TB

Case: Business has predicted 20 % data increase in a quarter and we need to predict the new machines to be added in a year

  • Data increase – 20 % over a quarter
  • Additional data:
  • 1st quarter: 1043.5 * 0.2 = 208.7 TB
  • 2nd quarter: 1043.5 * 1.2 * 0.2 = 250.44 TB
  • 3rd quarter: 1043.5 * (1.2)^2 * 0.2 = 300.5 TB
  • 4th quarter: 1043.5 * (1.2)^3 * 0.2 = 360.6 TB
  • Additional data nodes requirement (approx.):
  • 1st quarter: 208.7/5.2 = 41 machines
  • 2nd quarter: 250.44/5.2 = 49 machines
  • 3rd quarter: 300.5/5.2 = 58 machines
  • 4th quarter: 360.6/5.2 = 70 machines

With these numbers you can predict next year additional machines requirement for the cluster (last quarter + 24), (last quarter + 28) and so on.

2) You have a directory DeZyre that has the following files – HadoopTraining.txt, _SparkTraining.txt, #DataScienceTraining.txt, .SalesforceTraining.txt. If you pass the DeZyre directory to the Hadoop MapReduce jobs, how many files are likely to be processed?

Only HadoopTraining.txt and #DataScienceTraining.txt will be processed for Mapreduce jobs because when we process a file (either in a directory or individual) in Hadoop using any FileInputFormat such as TextInputFormat, KeyValueInputFormat or SequenceFileInputFormat, we must confirm that none of files must have a hidden file prefix such as “_” or “.” because mapreduce FileInputFormat will by default uses hiddenFileFilter class to ignore all those files with these prefix in their name.

  private static final PathFilter hiddenFileFilter = new PathFilter(){

      public boolean accept(Path p){

        String name = p.getName();

        return !name.startsWith("_") && !name.startsWith(".");



However, we can set our own custom filter such as FileInputFormat.setInputPathFilter to eliminate such criteria but remember, hiddenFileFilter is always active.

3) Imagine that you are uploading a file of 500MB into HDFS.100MB of data is successfully uploaded into HDFS and another client wants to read the uploaded data while the upload is still in progress. What will happen in such a scenario, will the 100 MB of data that is uploaded will it be displayed?

Although the default blocks size is 64 MB in Hadoop 1x and 128 MB in Hadoop 2x whereas in such a scenario let us consider block size to be 100 MB which means that we are going to have 5 blocks replicated 3 times (default replication factor). Let’s consider an example of how does a block is written to HDFS:

We have 5 blocks (A/B/C/D/E) for a file, a client, a namenode and a datanode. So, first the client will take Block A and will approach namenode for datanode location to store this block and the replicated copies. Once client is aware about the datanode information, it will directly reach out to datanode and start copying Block A which will be simultaneously replicated to other 2 datanodes. Once the block is copied and replicated to the datanodes, client will get the confirmation about the Block A storage and then, it will initiate the same process for next block “Block B”.

So, during this process if 1st block of 100 MB is written to HDFS and the next block has been started by the client to store then 1st block will be visible to readers. Only the current block being written will not be visible by the readers.

4) When decommissioning the nodes in a Hadoop Cluster, why should you stop all the task trackers?

We are aware about a complete process on how to decommission a datanode and there are loads of material available on internet to do so but what about the task tracker running a MapReduce job on a datanode which is likely to be decommissioned. Unlike the datanode, there is no graceful way to decommission a tasktracker. It is always assumed that when we want to move the same task to other node then we need to rely on making the task process to stop for failure and let it be rescheduled elsewhere on the cluster. It is possible that a task on its final attempt is running on the tasktracker and that a final failure may result in the entire job failing. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to prevent this case from occurring. So, the idea behind decommissioning that it will stop your datanode but to move the current task to another node, we need to manually stop the task tracker running on the decommissioned node.

5) When does a NameNode enter the safe mode?

Namenode is responsible for managing the meta storage of the cluster and if something is missing from the cluster then Namenode will be held. This makes Namenode checking all the necessary information during the safe mode before making cluster writable to the users. There are couple of reasons for Namenode to enter the safe mode during startup such as;

i) Namenode loads the filesystem state from fsimage and edits log file, it then waits for datanodes to report their blocks, so it does not start replicating the blocks which already exist in the cluster another.

ii) Heartbeats from all the datanodes and also if any corrupt blocks exist in the cluster. Once Namenode verify all these information, it will leave the safe mode and make cluster accessible. Sometime, we need to manually enter/leave the safe mode for Namenode which can be done using command line “hdfs dfsadmin -safemode enter/leave”.

6) Did you ever run a lopsided job that resulted in out of memory ever? If yes, then how did you handle it?

OutOfMemoryError” is the most common error in MapReduce jobs because data is growing with different sizes which makes a challenging environment for a developer to estimate the right amount of memory allocated for a job. In Hadoop world, it is not only an administrator job to look after the configuration but developer has also given an opportunity to manage their own jobs configuration. We must make sure that following properties must be set appropriately considering the available resources in the cluster to avoid out of memory error: Maximum amount of memory used by a mapper within a container Maximum amount of heap size used by a mapper which must be less than the above

mapreduce.reduce.memory.mb: Maximum amount of memory used by a reducer within a container Maximum amount of heap size used by a reducer which must be less than the above

yarn.scheduler.maximum-allocation-mb: The maximum allocation size allowed for a container but require administrative privileges.

There are some other factors also which may impact your memory such as spilling data over disk which can be corrected using following configuration:




7) There are 100 map tasks that are running, of which 99 tasks have completed and one task is running very slow. The slow running map task is replicated on a different machine and the output is gathered from the first completed map task. All other map tasks are killed. What is this phenomenon referred to in Hadoop?

8) There is an external jar file of size 1.5 MB having all the required dependencies to run your Hadoop MapReduce jobs. How will copy the jar file to the task tracker and what are the steps to follow?

9) If there are ‘m’ mappers and ‘r’ reducers in a given hadoop mapreduce job, how many copy and write operations will be required for the shuffle and sort algorithm?

10) When a job is run the properties file is copied to the distributed cache for the map jobs to access. How can you access the properties file?

11) How will you calculate the size of your hadoop cluster?

12) How will you estimate the Hadoop storage given the size of the data to be moved, average compression ratio, intermediate and replication factors.

These were some of the scenario based hadoop interview questions that are likely to be asked in a Hadoop interview. If you have more to add, please feel free to add them below!

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Currently have 10 answers
Q: These were some of the scenario based hadoop interview questions that are likely to be asked in a Hadoop interview. If you have more to add, please feel free to add them below!
Pravin Hadoop
Feb 20 2017, 11:36 AM
Nov 08 2016, 03:31 PM
Gajanan How does one remove or add nodes in a Hadoop cluster?
Nov 08 2016, 01:47 PM
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Nov 03 2016, 04:03 PM
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Nov 03 2016, 03:30 PM

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