HCatalog is a table and storage management layer for Hadoop that enables users with different data processing tools – Pig, MapReduce, and Hive – to more easily read and write data on the grid. HCatalog’s table abstraction presents users with a relational view of data in the Hadoop distributed file system (HDFS) and ensures that users need not worry about where or in what format their data is stored – RCFile format, text files, or sequence files
HCatalog supports reading and writing files in any format for which a SerDe (serializer-deserializer) can be written. By default, HCatalog supports RCFile, CSV, JSON, and SequenceFile formats. To use a custom format, you must provide the InputFormat, OutputFormat, and SerDe.