Well, the first answer is always the same: read the code! :)
Of course, sometimes it's difficult to get the high level concepts quickly that way (even with good docs, like the HBase code generally has). So I'd recommend seeing the upcoming talk by committer Lars Hofhansl at HBaseCon on Tuesday--that's exactly what it's about! It's called "HBase Internals".
If you're not attending, I'm sure they'll post slides (and maybe video?) afterwards.
On May 17, 2012, at 8:39 AM, S Ahmed wrote:
> Other than reading the the source code, google papers, seda, etc. how does
> someone get solid understanding of the code base?
> Are there any high-level (or low level!) diagrams of sort that go over the
> various components of hbase? (various read/write stages, gossip, etc.)
> I'm guessing this is wishful thinking but I thought I'd ask :)