Apache Pig

Apache Pig is an open-source technology that offers a high-level mechanism for the parallel programming of MapReduce jobs to be executed on Hadoop clusters

Pig enables developers to create query execution routines for analyzing large, distributed data sets without having to do low-level work in MapReduce, much like the way the Apache Hive data warehouse software provides a SQL-like interface for Hadoop that doesn't require direct MapReduce programming,

The key parts of Pig are a compiler and a scripting language known as Pig Latin. Pig Latin is a data-flow language geared toward parallel processing. Managers of the Apache Software Foundation's Pig project position the language as being part way between declarative SQL and the procedural Java approach used in MapReduce applications. Proponents say, for example, that data joins are easier to create with Pig Latin than with Java. However, through the use of user-defined functions (UDFs), Pig Latin applications can be extended to include custom processing tasks written in Java as well as languages such as JavaScript and Python.

Apache Pig grew out of work at Yahoo Research and was first formally described in a paper published in 2008. Pig is intended to handle all kinds of data, including structured and unstructured information and relational and nested data. That omnivorous view of data likely had a hand in the decision to name the environment for the common barnyard animal. It also extends to Pig's take on application frameworks; while the technology is primarily associated with Hadoop, it is said to be capable of being used with other frameworks as well.

The underlying Hadoop framework grew out of large-scale Web applications whose architects chose non-SQL methods to economically collect and analyze massive amounts of data. It has lots of add-on help for handling big data applications because Apache Pig is just part of a long list of Hadoop ecosystem technologies that also includes Hive, HBase, ZooKeeper and other utilities intended to fill in functionality gaps in the framework.

Contributor(s): Jack Vaughan
This was last updated in January 2014
Posted by: Margaret Rouse
View the next item in this Essential Guide: Apache ZooKeeper or view the full guide: Using big data and Hadoop 2: New version enables new applications

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