Although DataNodes do not contain metadata about the directories and files stored in an HDFS cluster, they do contain a small amount of metadata about the DataNode itself and its relationship to a cluster.

This shows the output of running the tree command on the DataNode’s directory, configured by setting in hdfs-site.xml.

├── current
│ ├── BP-1079595417-
│ │ ├── current
│ │ │ ├── VERSION
│ │ │ ├── finalized
│ │ │ │ └── subdir0│ │ │ │ └── subdir1
│ │ │ │ ├── blk_1073741825
│ │ │ │ └── blk_1073741825_1001.meta
│ │ │ │── lazyPersist
│ │ │ └── rbw
│ │ ├── dncp_block_verification.log.curr
│ │ ├── dncp_block_verification.log.prev
│ │ └── tmp
└── in_use.lock

The purpose of these files are as follows:

BP-random integer-NameNode-IP address-creation time

Top level directory for datanodes. The naming convention for this directory is significant and constitutes a form of cluster metadata. The name is a block pool ID. “BP” stands for “block pool,” the abstraction that collects a set of blocks belonging to a single namespace. In the case of a federated deployment, there are multiple “BP” sub-directories, one for each block pool. The remaining components form a unique ID: a random integer, followed by the IP address of the NameNode that created the block pool, followed by creation time.


Text file containing multiple properties, such as layoutVersion, clusterId and cTime, which is much like the NameNode and JournalNode. There is a VERSION file tracked for the entire DataNode as well as a separate VERSION file in each block pool sub-directory.

In addition to the properties already discussed earlier, the DataNode’s VERSION files also contain:


storageType field is set to DATA_NODE.


Repeats the block pool ID information encoded into the sub-directory name.


Both finalized and rbw contain a directory structure for block storage. This holds numerous block files, which contain HDFS file data and the corresponding .meta files, which contain checksum information. rbw stands for “replica being written”. This area contains blocks that are still being written to by an HDFS client. The finalized sub-directory contains blocks that are not being written to by a client and have been completed.


HDFS is incorporating a new feature to support writing transient data to memory, followed by lazy persistence to disk in the background. If this feature is in use, then a lazyPersist sub-directory is present and used for lazy persistence of in-memory blocks to disk. We’ll cover this exciting new feature in greater detail in a future blog post.


File to which the "cursor state" is saved.

The DataNode runs a block scanner which periodically does checksum verification of each block file on disk. This scanner maintains a "cursor," representing the last block to be scanned in each block pool slice on the volume, and called the "cursor state."


Lock file held by the DataNode process, used to prevent multiple DataNode processes from starting up and concurrently modifying the directory.