Non-Ambari Cluster Installation Guide
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Understanding Flume

Flume is a top-level project at the Apache Software Foundation. While it can function as a general-purpose event queue manager, in the context of Hadoop it is most often used as a log aggregator, collecting log data from many diverse sources and moving them to a centralized data store.


What follows is a very high-level description of the mechanism. For more information, access the Flume HTML documentation set installed with Flume. After you install Flume, access the documentation set at file://usr/hdp/current/flume-server/docs/index.html on the host on which Flume is installed.

You can also refer to the Flume website for the Flume documentation set.

Flume Components

A Flume data flow is made up of five main components: Events, Sources, Channels, Sinks, and Agents:

Events An event is the basic unit of data that is moved using Flume. It is similar to a message in JMS and is generally small. It is made up of headers and a byte-array body.

Sources The source receives the event from some external entity and stores it in a channel. The source must understand the type of event that is sent to it: an Avro event requires an Avro source.

Channels A channel is an internal passive store with certain specific characteristics. An in-memory channel, for example, can move events very quickly, but does not provide persistence. A file-based channel provides persistence. A source stores an event in the channel where it stays until it is consumed by a sink. This temporary storage lets source and sink run asynchronously.

Sinks The sink removes the event from the channel and forwards it to either to a destination, like HDFS, or to another agent/dataflow. The sink must output an event that is appropriate to the destination.

Agents An agent is the container for a Flume data flow. It is any physical JVM running Flume. An agent must contain at least one source, channel, and sink, but the same agent can run multiple sources, sinks, and channels. A particular data flow path is set up through the configuration process.