Setting Up a Hadoop Cluster - Hadoop Operations - Hadoop: The Definitive Guide (2015)

Hadoop: The Definitive Guide (2015)

Part III. Hadoop Operations

Chapter 10. Setting Up a Hadoop Cluster

This chapter explains how to set up Hadoop to run on a cluster of machines. Running HDFS, MapReduce, and YARN on a single machine is great for learning about these systems, but to do useful work, they need to run on multiple nodes.

There are a few options when it comes to getting a Hadoop cluster, from building your own, to running on rented hardware or using an offering that provides Hadoop as a hosted service in the cloud. The number of hosted options is too large to list here, but even if you choose to build a Hadoop cluster yourself, there are still a number of installation options:

Apache tarballs

The Apache Hadoop project and related projects provide binary (and source) tarballs for each release. Installation from binary tarballs gives you the most flexibility but entails the most amount of work, since you need to decide on where the installation files, configuration files, and logfiles are located on the filesystem, set their file permissions correctly, and so on.


RPM and Debian packages are available from the Apache Bigtop project, as well as from all the Hadoop vendors. Packages bring a number of advantages over tarballs: they provide a consistent filesystem layout, they are tested together as a stack (so you know that the versions of Hadoop and Hive, say, will work together), and they work well with configuration management tools like Puppet.

Hadoop cluster management tools

Cloudera Manager and Apache Ambari are examples of dedicated tools for installing and managing a Hadoop cluster over its whole lifecycle. They provide a simple web UI, and are the recommended way to set up a Hadoop cluster for most users and operators. These tools encode a lot of operator knowledge about running Hadoop. For example, they use heuristics based on the hardware profile (among other factors) to choose good defaults for Hadoop configuration settings. For more complex setups, like HA, or secure Hadoop, the management tools provide well-tested wizards for getting a working cluster in a short amount of time. Finally, they add extra features that the other installation options don’t offer, such as unified monitoring and log search, and rolling upgrades (so you can upgrade the cluster without experiencing downtime).

This chapter and the next give you enough information to set up and operate your own basic cluster, but even if you are using Hadoop cluster management tools or a service in which a lot of the routine setup and maintenance are done for you, these chapters still offer valuable information about how Hadoop works from an operations point of view. For more in-depth information, I highly recommend Hadoop Operations by Eric Sammer (O’Reilly, 2012).

Cluster Specification

Hadoop is designed to run on commodity hardware. That means that you are not tied to expensive, proprietary offerings from a single vendor; rather, you can choose standardized, commonly available hardware from any of a large range of vendors to build your cluster.

“Commodity” does not mean “low-end.” Low-end machines often have cheap components, which have higher failure rates than more expensive (but still commodity-class) machines. When you are operating tens, hundreds, or thousands of machines, cheap components turn out to be a false economy, as the higher failure rate incurs a greater maintenance cost. On the other hand, large database-class machines are not recommended either, since they don’t score well on the price/performance curve. And even though you would need fewer of them to build a cluster of comparable performance to one built of mid-range commodity hardware, when one did fail, it would have a bigger impact on the cluster because a larger proportion of the cluster hardware would be unavailable.

Hardware specifications rapidly become obsolete, but for the sake of illustration, a typical choice of machine for running an HDFS datanode and a YARN node manager in 2014 would have had the following specifications:


Two hex/octo-core 3 GHz CPUs


64−512 GB ECC RAM[68]


12−24 × 1−4 TB SATA disks


Gigabit Ethernet with link aggregation

Although the hardware specification for your cluster will assuredly be different, Hadoop is designed to use multiple cores and disks, so it will be able to take full advantage of more powerful hardware.


HDFS clusters do not benefit from using RAID (redundant array of independent disks) for datanode storage (although RAID is recommended for the namenode’s disks, to protect against corruption of its metadata). The redundancy that RAID provides is not needed, since HDFS handles it by replication between nodes.

Furthermore, RAID striping (RAID 0), which is commonly used to increase performance, turns out to be slower than the JBOD (just a bunch of disks) configuration used by HDFS, which round-robins HDFS blocks between all disks. This is because RAID 0 read and write operations are limited by the speed of the slowest-responding disk in the RAID array. In JBOD, disk operations are independent, so the average speed of operations is greater than that of the slowest disk. Disk performance often shows considerable variation in practice, even for disks of the same model. In some benchmarking carried out on a Yahoo! cluster, JBOD performed 10% faster than RAID 0 in one test (Gridmix) and 30% better in another (HDFS write throughput).

Finally, if a disk fails in a JBOD configuration, HDFS can continue to operate without the failed disk, whereas with RAID, failure of a single disk causes the whole array (and hence the node) to become unavailable.

Cluster Sizing

How large should your cluster be? There isn’t an exact answer to this question, but the beauty of Hadoop is that you can start with a small cluster (say, 10 nodes) and grow it as your storage and computational needs grow. In many ways, a better question is this: how fast does your cluster need to grow? You can get a good feel for this by considering storage capacity.

For example, if your data grows by 1 TB a day and you have three-way HDFS replication, you need an additional 3 TB of raw storage per day. Allow some room for intermediate files and logfiles (around 30%, say), and this is in the range of one (2014-vintage) machine per week. In practice, you wouldn’t buy a new machine each week and add it to the cluster. The value of doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation like this is that it gives you a feel for how big your cluster should be. In this example, a cluster that holds two years’ worth of data needs 100 machines.

Master node scenarios

Depending on the size of the cluster, there are various configurations for running the master daemons: the namenode, secondary namenode, resource manager, and history server. For a small cluster (on the order of 10 nodes), it is usually acceptable to run the namenode and the resource manager on a single master machine (as long as at least one copy of the namenode’s metadata is stored on a remote filesystem). However, as the cluster gets larger, there are good reasons to separate them.

The namenode has high memory requirements, as it holds file and block metadata for the entire namespace in memory. The secondary namenode, although idle most of the time, has a comparable memory footprint to the primary when it creates a checkpoint. (This is explained in detail in The filesystem image and edit log.) For filesystems with a large number of files, there may not be enough physical memory on one machine to run both the primary and secondary namenode.

Aside from simple resource requirements, the main reason to run masters on separate machines is for high availability. Both HDFS and YARN support configurations where they can run masters in active-standby pairs. If the active master fails, then the standby, running on separate hardware, takes over with little or no interruption to the service. In the case of HDFS, the standby performs the checkpointing function of the secondary namenode (so you don’t need to run a standby and a secondary namenode).

Configuring and running Hadoop HA is not covered in this book. Refer to the Hadoop website or vendor documentation for details.

Network Topology

A common Hadoop cluster architecture consists of a two-level network topology, as illustrated in Figure 10-1. Typically there are 30 to 40 servers per rack (only 3 are shown in the diagram), with a 10 Gb switch for the rack and an uplink to a core switch or router (at least 10 Gb or better). The salient point is that the aggregate bandwidth between nodes on the same rack is much greater than that between nodes on different racks.

Typical two-level network architecture for a Hadoop cluster

Figure 10-1. Typical two-level network architecture for a Hadoop cluster

Rack awareness

To get maximum performance out of Hadoop, it is important to configure Hadoop so that it knows the topology of your network. If your cluster runs on a single rack, then there is nothing more to do, since this is the default. However, for multirack clusters, you need to map nodes to racks. This allows Hadoop to prefer within-rack transfers (where there is more bandwidth available) to off-rack transfers when placing MapReduce tasks on nodes. HDFS will also be able to place replicas more intelligently to trade off performance and resilience.

Network locations such as nodes and racks are represented in a tree, which reflects the network “distance” between locations. The namenode uses the network location when determining where to place block replicas (see Network Topology and Hadoop); the MapReduce scheduler uses network location to determine where the closest replica is for input to a map task.

For the network in Figure 10-1, the rack topology is described by two network locations — say, /switch1/rack1 and /switch1/rack2. Because there is only one top-level switch in this cluster, the locations can be simplified to /rack1 and /rack2.

The Hadoop configuration must specify a map between node addresses and network locations. The map is described by a Java interface, DNSToSwitchMapping, whose signature is:

public interface DNSToSwitchMapping {

public List<String> resolve(List<String> names);


The names parameter is a list of IP addresses, and the return value is a list of corresponding network location strings. The net.topology.node.switch.mapping.impl configuration property defines an implementation of the DNSToSwitchMapping interface that the namenode and the resource manager use to resolve worker node network locations.

For the network in our example, we would map node1, node2, and node3 to /rack1, and node4, node5, and node6 to /rack2.

Most installations don’t need to implement the interface themselves, however, since the default implementation is ScriptBasedMapping, which runs a user-defined script to determine the mapping. The script’s location is controlled by the property The script must accept a variable number of arguments that are the hostnames or IP addresses to be mapped, and it must emit the corresponding network locations to standard output, separated by whitespace. The Hadoop wiki has an example.

If no script location is specified, the default behavior is to map all nodes to a single network location, called /default-rack.

Cluster Setup and Installation

This section describes how to install and configure a basic Hadoop cluster from scratch using the Apache Hadoop distribution on a Unix operating system. It provides background information on the things you need to think about when setting up Hadoop. For a production installation, most users and operators should consider one of the Hadoop cluster management tools listed at the beginning of this chapter.

Installing Java

Hadoop runs on both Unix and Windows operating systems, and requires Java to be installed. For a production installation, you should select a combination of operating system, Java, and Hadoop that has been certified by the vendor of the Hadoop distribution you are using. There is also a page on the Hadoop wiki that lists combinations that community members have run with success.

Creating Unix User Accounts

It’s good practice to create dedicated Unix user accounts to separate the Hadoop processes from each other, and from other services running on the same machine. The HDFS, MapReduce, and YARN services are usually run as separate users, named hdfs, mapred, and yarn, respectively. They all belong to the same hadoop group.

Installing Hadoop

Download Hadoop from the Apache Hadoop releases page, and unpack the contents of the distribution in a sensible location, such as /usr/local (/opt is another standard choice; note that Hadoop should not be installed in a user’s home directory, as that may be an NFS-mounted directory):

% cd /usr/local

% sudo tar xzf hadoop-x.y.z.tar.gz

You also need to change the owner of the Hadoop files to be the hadoop user and group:

% sudo chown -R hadoop:hadoop hadoop-x.y.z

It’s convenient to put the Hadoop binaries on the shell path too:

% export HADOOP_HOME=/usr/local/hadoop-x.y.z


Configuring SSH

The Hadoop control scripts (but not the daemons) rely on SSH to perform cluster-wide operations. For example, there is a script for stopping and starting all the daemons in the cluster. Note that the control scripts are optional — cluster-wide operations can be performed by other mechanisms, too, such as a distributed shell or dedicated Hadoop management applications.

To work seamlessly, SSH needs to be set up to allow passwordless login for the hdfs and yarn users from machines in the cluster.[69] The simplest way to achieve this is to generate a public/private key pair and place it in an NFS location that is shared across the cluster.

First, generate an RSA key pair by typing the following. You need to do this twice, once as the hdfs user and once as the yarn user:

% ssh-keygen -t rsa -f ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Even though we want passwordless logins, keys without passphrases are not considered good practice (it’s OK to have an empty passphrase when running a local pseudo-distributed cluster, as described in Appendix A), so we specify a passphrase when prompted for one. We use ssh-agent to avoid the need to enter a password for each connection.

The private key is in the file specified by the -f option, ~/.ssh/id_rsa, and the public key is stored in a file with the same name but with .pub appended, ~/.ssh/

Next, we need to make sure that the public key is in the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on all the machines in the cluster that we want to connect to. If the users’ home directories are stored on an NFS filesystem, the keys can be shared across the cluster by typing the following (first ashdfs and then as yarn):

% cat ~/.ssh/ >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

If the home directory is not shared using NFS, the public keys will need to be shared by some other means (such as ssh-copy-id).

Test that you can SSH from the master to a worker machine by making sure ssh-agent is running,[70] and then run ssh-add to store your passphrase. You should be able to SSH to a worker without entering the passphrase again.

Configuring Hadoop

Hadoop must have its configuration set appropriately to run in distributed mode on a cluster. The important configuration settings to achieve this are discussed in Hadoop Configuration.

Formatting the HDFS Filesystem

Before it can be used, a brand-new HDFS installation needs to be formatted. The formatting process creates an empty filesystem by creating the storage directories and the initial versions of the namenode’s persistent data structures. Datanodes are not involved in the initial formatting process, since the namenode manages all of the filesystem’s metadata, and datanodes can join or leave the cluster dynamically. For the same reason, you don’t need to say how large a filesystem to create, since this is determined by the number of datanodes in the cluster, which can be increased as needed, long after the filesystem is formatted.

Formatting HDFS is a fast operation. Run the following command as the hdfs user:

% hdfs namenode -format

Starting and Stopping the Daemons

Hadoop comes with scripts for running commands and starting and stopping daemons across the whole cluster. To use these scripts (which can be found in the sbin directory), you need to tell Hadoop which machines are in the cluster. There is a file for this purpose, called slaves, which contains a list of the machine hostnames or IP addresses, one per line. The slaves file lists the machines that the datanodes and node managers should run on. It resides in Hadoop’s configuration directory, although it may be placed elsewhere (and given another name) by changing the HADOOP_SLAVES setting in Also, this file does not need to be distributed to worker nodes, since they are used only by the control scripts running on the namenode or resource manager.

The HDFS daemons are started by running the following command as the hdfs user:


The machine (or machines) that the namenode and secondary namenode run on is determined by interrogating the Hadoop configuration for their hostnames. For example, the script finds the namenode’s hostname by executing the following:

% hdfs getconf -namenodes

By default, this finds the namenode’s hostname from fs.defaultFS. In slightly more detail, the script does the following:

§ Starts a namenode on each machine returned by executing hdfs getconf -namenodes[71]

§ Starts a datanode on each machine listed in the slaves file

§ Starts a secondary namenode on each machine returned by executing hdfs getconf -secondarynamenodes

The YARN daemons are started in a similar way, by running the following command as the yarn user on the machine hosting the resource manager:


In this case, the resource manager is always run on the machine from which the script was run. More specifically, the script:

§ Starts a resource manager on the local machine

§ Starts a node manager on each machine listed in the slaves file

Also provided are and scripts to stop the daemons started by the corresponding start scripts.

These scripts start and stop Hadoop daemons using the script (or the script, in the case of YARN). If you use the aforementioned scripts, you shouldn’t call directly. But if you need to control Hadoop daemons from another system or from your own scripts, the script is a good integration point. Likewise, (with an “s”) is handy for starting the same daemon on a set of hosts.

Finally, there is only one MapReduce daemon — the job history server, which is started as follows, as the mapred user:

% start historyserver

Creating User Directories

Once you have a Hadoop cluster up and running, you need to give users access to it. This involves creating a home directory for each user and setting ownership permissions on it:

% hadoop fs -mkdir /user/username

% hadoop fs -chown username:username /user/username

This is a good time to set space limits on the directory. The following sets a 1 TB limit on the given user directory:

% hdfs dfsadmin -setSpaceQuota 1t /user/username

Hadoop Configuration

There are a handful of files for controlling the configuration of a Hadoop installation; the most important ones are listed in Table 10-1.

Table 10-1. Hadoop configuration files




Bash script

Environment variables that are used in the scripts to run Hadoop

Bash script

Environment variables that are used in the scripts to run MapReduce (overrides variables set in

Bash script

Environment variables that are used in the scripts to run YARN (overrides variables set in


Hadoop configuration XML

Configuration settings for Hadoop Core, such as I/O settings that are common to HDFS, MapReduce, and YARN


Hadoop configuration XML

Configuration settings for HDFS daemons: the namenode, the secondary namenode, and the datanodes


Hadoop configuration XML

Configuration settings for MapReduce daemons: the job history server


Hadoop configuration XML

Configuration settings for YARN daemons: the resource manager, the web app proxy server, and the node managers


Plain text

A list of machines (one per line) that each run a datanode and a node manager

hadoop-metrics2 .properties

Java properties

Properties for controlling how metrics are published in Hadoop (see Metrics and JMX)

Java properties

Properties for system logfiles, the namenode audit log, and the task log for the task JVM process (Hadoop Logs)


Hadoop configuration XML

Configuration settings for access control lists when running Hadoop in secure mode

These files are all found in the etc/hadoop directory of the Hadoop distribution. The configuration directory can be relocated to another part of the filesystem (outside the Hadoop installation, which makes upgrades marginally easier) as long as daemons are started with the --configoption (or, equivalently, with the HADOOP_CONF_DIR environment variable set) specifying the location of this directory on the local filesystem.

Configuration Management

Hadoop does not have a single, global location for configuration information. Instead, each Hadoop node in the cluster has its own set of configuration files, and it is up to administrators to ensure that they are kept in sync across the system. There are parallel shell tools that can help do this, such as dsh or pdsh. This is an area where Hadoop cluster management tools like Cloudera Manager and Apache Ambari really shine, since they take care of propagating changes across the cluster.

Hadoop is designed so that it is possible to have a single set of configuration files that are used for all master and worker machines. The great advantage of this is simplicity, both conceptually (since there is only one configuration to deal with) and operationally (as the Hadoop scripts are sufficient to manage a single configuration setup).

For some clusters, the one-size-fits-all configuration model breaks down. For example, if you expand the cluster with new machines that have a different hardware specification from the existing ones, you need a different configuration for the new machines to take advantage of their extra resources.

In these cases, you need to have the concept of a class of machine and maintain a separate configuration for each class. Hadoop doesn’t provide tools to do this, but there are several excellent tools for doing precisely this type of configuration management, such as Chef, Puppet, CFEngine, and Bcfg2.

For a cluster of any size, it can be a challenge to keep all of the machines in sync. Consider what happens if the machine is unavailable when you push out an update. Who ensures it gets the update when it becomes available? This is a big problem and can lead to divergent installations, so even if you use the Hadoop control scripts for managing Hadoop, it may be a good idea to use configuration management tools for maintaining the cluster. These tools are also excellent for doing regular maintenance, such as patching security holes and updating system packages.

Environment Settings

In this section, we consider how to set the variables in There are also analogous configuration files for MapReduce and YARN (but not for HDFS), called and, where variables pertaining to those components can be set. Note that the MapReduce and YARN files override the values set in


The location of the Java implementation to use is determined by the JAVA_HOME setting in or the JAVA_HOME shell environment variable, if not set in It’s a good idea to set the value in, so that it is clearly defined in one place and to ensure that the whole cluster is using the same version of Java.

Memory heap size

By default, Hadoop allocates 1,000 MB (1 GB) of memory to each daemon it runs. This is controlled by the HADOOP_HEAPSIZE setting in There are also environment variables to allow you to change the heap size for a single daemon. For example, you can setYARN_RESOURCEMANAGER_HEAPSIZE in to override the heap size for the resource manager.

Surprisingly, there are no corresponding environment variables for HDFS daemons, despite it being very common to give the namenode more heap space. There is another way to set the namenode heap size, however; this is discussed in the following sidebar.


A namenode can eat up memory, since a reference to every block of every file is maintained in memory. It’s difficult to give a precise formula because memory usage depends on the number of blocks per file, the filename length, and the number of directories in the filesystem; plus, it can change from one Hadoop release to another.

The default of 1,000 MB of namenode memory is normally enough for a few million files, but as a rule of thumb for sizing purposes, you can conservatively allow 1,000 MB per million blocks of storage.

For example, a 200-node cluster with 24 TB of disk space per node, a block size of 128 MB, and a replication factor of 3 has room for about 2 million blocks (or more): 200 × 24,000,000 MB ⁄ (128 MB × 3). So in this case, setting the namenode memory to 12,000 MB would be a good starting point.

You can increase the namenode’s memory without changing the memory allocated to other Hadoop daemons by setting HADOOP_NAMENODE_OPTS in to include a JVM option for setting the memory size. HADOOP_NAMENODE_OPTS allows you to pass extra options to the namenode’s JVM. So, for example, if you were using a Sun JVM, -Xmx2000m would specify that 2,000 MB of memory should be allocated to the namenode.

If you change the namenode’s memory allocation, don’t forget to do the same for the secondary namenode (using the HADOOP_SECONDARYNAMENODE_OPTS variable), since its memory requirements are comparable to the primary namenode’s.

In addition to the memory requirements of the daemons, the node manager allocates containers to applications, so we need to factor these into the total memory footprint of a worker machine; see Memory settings in YARN and MapReduce.

System logfiles

System logfiles produced by Hadoop are stored in $HADOOP_HOME/logs by default. This can be changed using the HADOOP_LOG_DIR setting in It’s a good idea to change this so that logfiles are kept out of the directory that Hadoop is installed in. Changing this keeps logfiles in one place, even after the installation directory changes due to an upgrade. A common choice is /var/log/hadoop, set by including the following line in

export HADOOP_LOG_DIR=/var/log/hadoop

The log directory will be created if it doesn’t already exist. (If it does not exist, confirm that the relevant Unix Hadoop user has permission to create it.) Each Hadoop daemon running on a machine produces two logfiles. The first is the log output written via log4j. This file, whose name ends in .log, should be the first port of call when diagnosing problems because most application log messages are written here. The standard Hadoop log4j configuration uses a daily rolling file appender to rotate logfiles. Old logfiles are never deleted, so you should arrange for them to be periodically deleted or archived, so as to not run out of disk space on the local node.

The second logfile is the combined standard output and standard error log. This logfile, whose name ends in .out, usually contains little or no output, since Hadoop uses log4j for logging. It is rotated only when the daemon is restarted, and only the last five logs are retained. Old logfiles are suffixed with a number between 1 and 5, with 5 being the oldest file.

Logfile names (of both types) are a combination of the name of the user running the daemon, the daemon name, and the machine hostname. For example, hadoop-hdfs-datanode-ip-10-45-174-112.log.2014-09-20 is the name of a logfile after it has been rotated. This naming structure makes it possible to archive logs from all machines in the cluster in a single directory, if needed, since the filenames are unique.

The username in the logfile name is actually the default for the HADOOP_IDENT_STRING setting in If you wish to give the Hadoop instance a different identity for the purposes of naming the logfiles, change HADOOP_IDENT_STRING to be the identifier you want.

SSH settings

The control scripts allow you to run commands on (remote) worker nodes from the master node using SSH. It can be useful to customize the SSH settings, for various reasons. For example, you may want to reduce the connection timeout (using the ConnectTimeout option) so thecontrol scripts don’t hang around waiting to see whether a dead node is going to respond. Obviously, this can be taken too far. If the timeout is too low, then busy nodes will be skipped, which is bad.

Another useful SSH setting is StrictHostKeyChecking, which can be set to no to automatically add new host keys to the known hosts files. The default, ask, prompts the user to confirm that the key fingerprint has been verified, which is not a suitable setting in a large cluster environment.[72]

To pass extra options to SSH, define the HADOOP_SSH_OPTS environment variable in See the ssh and ssh_config manual pages for more SSH settings.

Important Hadoop Daemon Properties

Hadoop has a bewildering number of configuration properties. In this section, we address the ones that you need to define (or at least understand why the default is appropriate) for any real-world working cluster. These properties are set in the Hadoop site files: core-site.xml, hdfs-site.xml, and yarn-site.xml. Typical instances of these files are shown in Examples 10-1, 10-2, and 10-3.[73] You can learn more about the format of Hadoop’s configuration files in The Configuration API.

To find the actual configuration of a running daemon, visit the /conf page on its web server. For example, http://resource-manager-host:8088/conf shows the configuration that the resource manager is running with. This page shows the combined site and default configuration files that the daemon is running with, and also shows which file each property was picked up from.

Example 10-1. A typical core-site.xml configuration file

<?xml version="1.0"?>

<!-- core-site.xml -->







Example 10-2. A typical hdfs-site.xml configuration file

<?xml version="1.0"?>

<!-- hdfs-site.xml -->















Example 10-3. A typical yarn-site.xml configuration file

<?xml version="1.0"?>

<!-- yarn-site.xml -->
























To run HDFS, you need to designate one machine as a namenode. In this case, the property fs.defaultFS is an HDFS filesystem URI whose host is the namenode’s hostname or IP address and whose port is the port that the namenode will listen on for RPCs. If no port is specified, the default of 8020 is used.

The fs.defaultFS property also doubles as specifying the default filesystem. The default filesystem is used to resolve relative paths, which are handy to use because they save typing (and avoid hardcoding knowledge of a particular namenode’s address). For example, with the default filesystem defined in Example 10-1, the relative URI /a/b is resolved to hdfs://namenode/a/b.


If you are running HDFS, the fact that fs.defaultFS is used to specify both the HDFS namenode and the default filesystem means HDFS has to be the default filesystem in the server configuration. Bear in mind, however, that it is possible to specify a different filesystem as the default in the client configuration, for convenience.

For example, if you use both HDFS and S3 filesystems, then you have a choice of specifying either as the default in the client configuration, which allows you to refer to the default with a relative URI and the other with an absolute URI.

There are a few other configuration properties you should set for HDFS: those that set the storage directories for the namenode and for datanodes. The property specifies a list of directories where the namenode stores persistent filesystem metadata (the edit log and the filesystem image). A copy of each metadata file is stored in each directory for redundancy. It’s common to configure so that the namenode metadata is written to one or two local disks, as well as a remote disk, such as an NFS-mounted directory. Such a setup guards against failure of a local disk and failure of the entire namenode, since in both cases the files can be recovered and used to start a new namenode. (The secondary namenode takes only periodic checkpoints of the namenode, so it does not provide an up-to-date backup of the namenode.)

You should also set the property, which specifies a list of directories for a datanode to store its blocks in. Unlike the namenode, which uses multiple directories for redundancy, a datanode round-robins writes between its storage directories, so for performance you should specify a storage directory for each local disk. Read performance also benefits from having multiple disks for storage, because blocks will be spread across them and concurrent reads for distinct blocks will be correspondingly spread across disks.


For maximum performance, you should mount storage disks with the noatime option. This setting means that last accessed time information is not written on file reads, which gives significant performance gains.

Finally, you should configure where the secondary namenode stores its checkpoints of the filesystem. The dfs.namenode.checkpoint.dir property specifies a list of directories where the checkpoints are kept. Like the storage directories for the namenode, which keep redundant copies of the namenode metadata, the checkpointed filesystem image is stored in each checkpoint directory for redundancy.

Table 10-2 summarizes the important configuration properties for HDFS.

Table 10-2. Important HDFS daemon properties

Property name


Default value





The default filesystem. The URI defines the hostname and port that the namenode’s RPC server runs on. The default port is 8020. This property is set in core-site.xml.

Comma-separated directory names


The list of directories where the namenode stores its persistent metadata. The namenode stores a copy of the metadata in each directory in the list.

Comma-separated directory names


A list of directories where the datanode stores blocks. Each block is stored in only one of these directories.


Comma-separated directory names


A list of directories where the secondary namenode stores checkpoints. It stores a copy of the checkpoint in each directory in the list.


Note that the storage directories for HDFS are under Hadoop’s temporary directory by default (this is configured via the hadoop.tmp.dir property, whose default is /tmp/hadoop-${}). Therefore, it is critical that these properties are set so that data is not lost by the system when it clears out temporary directories.


To run YARN, you need to designate one machine as a resource manager. The simplest way to do this is to set the property yarn.resourcemanager.hostname to the hostname or IP address of the machine running the resource manager. Many of the resource manager’s server addresses are derived from this property. For example, yarn.resourcemanager.address takes the form of a host-port pair, and the host defaults to yarn.resourcemanager.hostname. In a MapReduce client configuration, this property is used to connect to the resource manager over RPC.

During a MapReduce job, intermediate data and working files are written to temporary local files. Because this data includes the potentially very large output of map tasks, you need to ensure that the yarn.nodemanager.local-dirs property, which controls the location of local temporary storage for YARN containers, is configured to use disk partitions that are large enough. The property takes a comma-separated list of directory names, and you should use all available local disks to spread disk I/O (the directories are used in round-robin fashion). Typically, you will use the same disks and partitions (but different directories) for YARN local storage as you use for datanode block storage, as governed by the property, which was discussed earlier.

Unlike MapReduce 1, YARN doesn’t have tasktrackers to serve map outputs to reduce tasks, so for this function it relies on shuffle handlers, which are long-running auxiliary services running in node managers. Because YARN is a general-purpose service, the MapReduce shuffle handlers need to be enabled explicitly in yarn-site.xml by setting the yarn.nodemanager.aux-services property to mapreduce_shuffle.

Table 10-3 summarizes the important configuration properties for YARN. The resource-related settings are covered in more detail in the next sections.

Table 10-3. Important YARN daemon properties

Property name


Default value




The hostname of the machine the resource manager runs on. Abbreviated ${y.rm.hostname} below.


Hostname and port


The hostname and port that the resource manager’s RPC server runs on.


Comma-separated directory names


A list of directories where node managers allow containers to store intermediate data. The data is cleared out when the application ends.


Comma-separated service names

A list of auxiliary services run by the node manager. A service is implemented by the class defined by the property yarn.nodemanager.aux-services.service-name.class. By default, no auxiliary services are specified.




The amount of physical memory (in MB) that may be allocated to containers being run by the node manager.




The ratio of virtual to physical memory for containers. Virtual memory usage may exceed the allocation by this amount.




The number of CPU cores that may be allocated to containers being run by the node manager.

Memory settings in YARN and MapReduce

YARN treats memory in a more fine-grained manner than the slot-based model used in MapReduce 1. Rather than specifying a fixed maximum number of map and reduce slots that may run on a node at once, YARN allows applications to request an arbitrary amount of memory (within limits) for a task. In the YARN model, node managers allocate memory from a pool, so the number of tasks that are running on a particular node depends on the sum of their memory requirements, and not simply on a fixed number of slots.

The calculation for how much memory to dedicate to a node manager for running containers depends on the amount of physical memory on the machine. Each Hadoop daemon uses 1,000 MB, so for a datanode and a node manager, the total is 2,000 MB. Set aside enough for other processes that are running on the machine, and the remainder can be dedicated to the node manager’s containers by setting the configuration property yarn.nodemanager.resource.memory-mb to the total allocation in MB. (The default is 8,192 MB, which is normally too low for most setups.)

The next step is to determine how to set memory options for individual jobs. There are two main controls: one for the size of the container allocated by YARN, and another for the heap size of the Java process run in the container.


The memory controls for MapReduce are all set by the client in the job configuration. The YARN settings are cluster settings and cannot be modified by the client.

Container sizes are determined by and mapreduce.reduce.memory.mb; both default to 1,024 MB. These settings are used by the application master when negotiating for resources in the cluster, and also by the node manager, which runs and monitors the task containers. The heap size of the Java process is set by, and defaults to 200 MB. You can also set the Java options separately for map and reduce tasks (see Table 10-4).

Table 10-4. MapReduce job memory properties (set by the client)

Property name


Default value




The amount of memory for map containers.




The amount of memory for reduce containers.



The JVM options used to launch the container process that runs map and reduce tasks. In addition to memory settings, this property can include JVM properties for debugging, for example.



The JVM options used for the child process that runs map tasks.



The JVM options used for the child process that runs reduce tasks.

For example, suppose is set to -Xmx800m and is left at its default value of 1,024 MB. When a map task is run, the node manager will allocate a 1,024 MB container (decreasing the size of its pool by that amount for the duration of the task) and will launch the task JVM configured with an 800 MB maximum heap size. Note that the JVM process will have a larger memory footprint than the heap size, and the overhead will depend on such things as the native libraries that are in use, the size of the permanent generation space, and so on. The important thing is that the physical memory used by the JVM process, including any processes that it spawns, such as Streaming processes, does not exceed its allocation (1,024 MB). If a container uses more memory than it has been allocated, then it may be terminated by the node manager and marked as failed.

YARN schedulers impose a minimum or maximum on memory allocations. The default minimum is 1,024 MB (set by yarn.scheduler.minimum-allocation-mb), and the default maximum is 8,192 MB (set by yarn.scheduler.maximum-allocation-mb).

There are also virtual memory constraints that a container must meet. If a container’s virtual memory usage exceeds a given multiple of the allocated physical memory, the node manager may terminate the process. The multiple is expressed by the yarn.nodemanager.vmem-pmem-ratioproperty, which defaults to 2.1. In the example used earlier, the virtual memory threshold above which the task may be terminated is 2,150 MB, which is 2.1 × 1,024 MB.

When configuring memory parameters it’s very useful to be able to monitor a task’s actual memory usage during a job run, and this is possible via MapReduce task counters. The counters PHYSICAL_MEMORY_BYTES, VIRTUAL_MEMORY_BYTES, and COMMITTED_HEAP_BYTES (described inTable 9-2) provide snapshot values of memory usage and are therefore suitable for observation during the course of a task attempt.

Hadoop also provides settings to control how much memory is used for MapReduce operations. These can be set on a per-job basis and are covered in Shuffle and Sort.

CPU settings in YARN and MapReduce

In addition to memory, YARN treats CPU usage as a managed resource, and applications can request the number of cores they need. The number of cores that a node manager can allocate to containers is controlled by the yarn.nodemanager.resource.cpu-vcores property. It should be set to the total number of cores on the machine, minus a core for each daemon process running on the machine (datanode, node manager, and any other long-running processes).

MapReduce jobs can control the number of cores allocated to map and reduce containers by setting and mapreduce.reduce.cpu.vcores. Both default to 1, an appropriate setting for normal single-threaded MapReduce tasks, which can only saturate a singlecore.


While the number of cores is tracked during scheduling (so a container won’t be allocated on a machine where there are no spare cores, for example), the node manager will not, by default, limit actual CPU usage of running containers. This means that a container can abuse its allocation by using more CPU than it was given, possibly starving other containers running on the same host. YARN has support for enforcing CPU limits using Linux cgroups. The node manager’s container executor class (yarn.nodemanager.container-executor.class) must be set to use the LinuxContainerExecutor class, which in turn must be configured to use cgroups (see the properties under yarn.nodemanager.linux-container-executor).

Hadoop Daemon Addresses and Ports

Hadoop daemons generally run both an RPC server for communication between daemons (Table 10-5) and an HTTP server to provide web pages for human consumption (Table 10-6). Each server is configured by setting the network address and port number to listen on. A port number of 0 instructs the server to start on a free port, but this is generally discouraged because it is incompatible with setting cluster-wide firewall policies.

In general, the properties for setting a server’s RPC and HTTP addresses serve double duty: they determine the network interface that the server will bind to, and they are used by clients or other machines in the cluster to connect to the server. For example, node managers use theyarn.resourcemanager.resource-tracker.address property to find the address of their resource manager.

It is often desirable for servers to bind to multiple network interfaces, but setting the network address to, which works for the server, breaks the second case, since the address is not resolvable by clients or other machines in the cluster. One solution is to have separate configurations for clients and servers, but a better way is to set the bind host for the server. By setting yarn.resourcemanager.hostname to the (externally resolvable) hostname or IP address and yarn.resourcemanager.bind-host to, you ensure that the resource manager will bind to all addresses on the machine, while at the same time providing a resolvable address for node managers and clients.

In addition to an RPC server, datanodes run a TCP/IP server for block transfers. The server address and port are set by the dfs.datanode.address property , which has a default value of

Table 10-5. RPC server properties

Property name

Default value




When set to an HDFS URI, this property determines the namenode’s RPC server address and port. The default port is 8020 if not specified.


The address the namenode’s RPC server will bind to. If not set (the default), the bind address is determined by fs.defaultFS. It can be set to to make the namenode listen on all interfaces.


The datanode’s RPC server address and port.


The job history server’s RPC server address and port. This is used by the client (typically outside the cluster) to query job history.


The address the job history server’s RPC and HTTP servers will bind to.


The hostname of the machine the resource manager runs on. Abbreviated ${y.rm.hostname} below.


The address the resource manager’s RPC and HTTP servers will bind to.



The resource manager’s RPC server address and port. This is used by the client (typically outside the cluster) to communicate with the resource manager.



The resource manager’s admin RPC server address and port. This is used by the admin client (invoked with yarn rmadmin, typically run outside the cluster) to communicate with the resource manager.



The resource manager scheduler’s RPC server address and port. This is used by (in-cluster) application masters to communicate with the resource manager.



The resource manager resource tracker’s RPC server address and port. This is used by (in-cluster) node managers to communicate with the resource manager.


The hostname of the machine the node manager runs on. Abbreviated ${y.nm.hostname} below.


The address the node manager’s RPC and HTTP servers will bind to.



The node manager’s RPC server address and port. This is used by (in-cluster) application masters to communicate with node managers.



The node manager localizer’s RPC server address and port.

Table 10-6. HTTP server properties

Property name

Default value



The namenode’s HTTP server address and port.


The address the namenode’s HTTP server will bind to.


The secondary namenode’s HTTP server address and port.


The datanode’s HTTP server address and port. (Note that the property name is inconsistent with the ones for the namenode.)


The MapReduce job history server’s address and port. This property is set in mapred-site.xml.



The shuffle handler’s HTTP port number. This is used for serving map outputs, and is not a user-accessible web UI. This property is set in mapred-site.xml.



The resource manager’s HTTP server address and port.



The node manager’s HTTP server address and port.


The web app proxy server’s HTTP server address and port. If not set (the default), then the web app proxy server will run in the resource manager process.

There is also a setting for controlling which network interfaces the datanodes use as their IP addresses (for HTTP and RPC servers). The relevant property is dfs.datanode.dns.interface, which is set to default to use the default network interface. You can set this explicitly to report the address of a particular interface (eth0, for example).

Other Hadoop Properties

This section discusses some other properties that you might consider setting.

Cluster membership

To aid in the addition and removal of nodes in the future, you can specify a file containing a list of authorized machines that may join the cluster as datanodes or node managers. The file is specified using the dfs.hosts and yarn.resourcemanager.nodes.include-path properties (for datanodes and node managers, respectively), and the corresponding dfs.hosts.exclude and yarn.resourcemanager.nodes.exclude-path properties specify the files used for decommissioning. See Commissioning and Decommissioning Nodes for further discussion.

Buffer size

Hadoop uses a buffer size of 4 KB (4,096 bytes) for its I/O operations. This is a conservative setting, and with modern hardware and operating systems, you will likely see performance benefits by increasing it; 128 KB (131,072 bytes) is a common choice. Set the value in bytes using the io.file.buffer.size property in core-site.xml.

HDFS block size

The HDFS block size is 128 MB by default, but many clusters use more (e.g., 256 MB, which is 268,435,456 bytes) to ease memory pressure on the namenode and to give mappers more data to work on. Use the dfs.blocksize property in hdfs-site.xml to specify the size in bytes.

Reserved storage space

By default, datanodes will try to use all of the space available in their storage directories. If you want to reserve some space on the storage volumes for non-HDFS use, you can set dfs.datanode.du.reserved to the amount, in bytes, of space to reserve.


Hadoop filesystems have a trash facility, in which deleted files are not actually deleted but rather are moved to a trash folder, where they remain for a minimum period before being permanently deleted by the system. The minimum period in minutes that a file will remain in the trash is set using the fs.trash.interval configuration property in core-site.xml. By default, the trash interval is zero, which disables trash.

Like in many operating systems, Hadoop’s trash facility is a user-level feature, meaning that only files that are deleted using the filesystem shell are put in the trash. Files deleted programmatically are deleted immediately. It is possible to use the trash programmatically, however, by constructing a Trash instance, then calling its moveToTrash() method with the Path of the file intended for deletion. The method returns a value indicating success; a value of false means either that trash is not enabled or that the file is already in the trash.

When trash is enabled, users each have their own trash directories called .Trash in their home directories. File recovery is simple: you look for the file in a subdirectory of .Trash and move it out of the trash subtree.

HDFS will automatically delete files in trash folders, but other filesystems will not, so you have to arrange for this to be done periodically. You can expunge the trash, which will delete files that have been in the trash longer than their minimum period, using the filesystem shell:

% hadoop fs -expunge

The Trash class exposes an expunge() method that has the same effect.

Job scheduler

Particularly in a multiuser setting, consider updating the job scheduler queue configuration to reflect your organizational needs. For example, you can set up a queue for each group using the cluster. See Scheduling in YARN.

Reduce slow start

By default, schedulers wait until 5% of the map tasks in a job have completed before scheduling reduce tasks for the same job. For large jobs, this can cause problems with cluster utilization, since they take up reduce containers while waiting for the map tasks to complete. Settingmapreduce.job.reduce.slowstart.completedmaps to a higher value, such as 0.80 (80%), can help improve throughput.

Short-circuit local reads

When reading a file from HDFS, the client contacts the datanode and the data is sent to the client via a TCP connection. If the block being read is on the same node as the client, then it is more efficient for the client to bypass the network and read the block data directly from the disk. This is termed a short-circuit local read, and can make applications like HBase perform better.

You can enable short-circuit local reads by setting to true. Short-circuit local reads are implemented using Unix domain sockets, which use a local path for client-datanode communication. The path is set using the property dfs.domain.socket.path, and must be a path that only the datanode user (typically hdfs) or root can create, such as /var/run/hadoop-hdfs/dn_socket.


Early versions of Hadoop assumed that HDFS and MapReduce clusters would be used by a group of cooperating users within a secure environment. The measures for restricting access were designed to prevent accidental data loss, rather than to prevent unauthorized access to data. For example, the file permissions system in HDFS prevents one user from accidentally wiping out the whole filesystem because of a bug in a program, or by mistakenly typing hadoop fs -rmr /, but it doesn’t prevent a malicious user from assuming root’s identity to access or delete any data in the cluster.

In security parlance, what was missing was a secure authentication mechanism to assure Hadoop that the user seeking to perform an operation on the cluster is who he claims to be and therefore can be trusted. HDFS file permissions provide only a mechanism for authorization, which controls what a particular user can do to a particular file. For example, a file may be readable only by a certain group of users, so anyone not in that group is not authorized to read it. However, authorization is not enough by itself, because the system is still open to abuse via spoofing by a malicious user who can gain network access to the cluster.

It’s common to restrict access to data that contains personally identifiable information (such as an end user’s full name or IP address) to a small set of users (of the cluster) within the organization who are authorized to access such information. Less sensitive (or anonymized) data may be made available to a larger set of users. It is convenient to host a mix of datasets with different security levels on the same cluster (not least because it means the datasets with lower security levels can be shared). However, to meet regulatory requirements for data protection, secure authentication must be in place for shared clusters.

This is the situation that Yahoo! faced in 2009, which led a team of engineers there to implement secure authentication for Hadoop. In their design, Hadoop itself does not manage user credentials; instead, it relies on Kerberos, a mature open-source network authentication protocol, to authenticate the user. However, Kerberos doesn’t manage permissions. Kerberos says that a user is who she says she is; it’s Hadoop’s job to determine whether that user has permission to perform a given action.

There’s a lot to security in Hadoop, and this section only covers the highlights. For more, readers are referred to Hadoop Security by Ben Spivey and Joey Echeverria (O’Reilly, 2014).

Kerberos and Hadoop

At a high level, there are three steps that a client must take to access a service when using Kerberos, each of which involves a message exchange with a server:

1. Authentication. The client authenticates itself to the Authentication Server and receives a timestamped Ticket-Granting Ticket (TGT).

2. Authorization. The client uses the TGT to request a service ticket from the Ticket-Granting Server.

3. Service request. The client uses the service ticket to authenticate itself to the server that is providing the service the client is using. In the case of Hadoop, this might be the namenode or the resource manager.

Together, the Authentication Server and the Ticket Granting Server form the Key Distribution Center (KDC). The process is shown graphically in Figure 10-2.

The three-step Kerberos ticket exchange protocol

Figure 10-2. The three-step Kerberos ticket exchange protocol

The authorization and service request steps are not user-level actions; the client performs these steps on the user’s behalf. The authentication step, however, is normally carried out explicitly by the user using the kinit command, which will prompt for a password. However, this doesn’t mean you need to enter your password every time you run a job or access HDFS, since TGTs last for 10 hours by default (and can be renewed for up to a week). It’s common to automate authentication at operating system login time, thereby providing single sign-on to Hadoop.

In cases where you don’t want to be prompted for a password (for running an unattended MapReduce job, for example), you can create a Kerberos keytab file using the ktutil command. A keytab is a file that stores passwords and may be supplied to kinit with the -t option.

An example

Let’s look at an example of the process in action. The first step is to enable Kerberos authentication by setting the property in core-site.xml to kerberos.[74] The default setting is simple, which signifies that the old backward-compatible (but insecure) behavior of using the operating system username to determine identity should be employed.

We also need to enable service-level authorization by setting to true in the same file. You may configure access control lists (ACLs) in the hadoop-policy.xml configuration file to control which users and groups have permission to connect to each Hadoop service. Services are defined at the protocol level, so there are ones for MapReduce job submission, namenode communication, and so on. By default, all ACLs are set to *, which means that all users have permission to access each service; however, on a real cluster you should lock the ACLs down to only those users and groups that should have access.

The format for an ACL is a comma-separated list of usernames, followed by whitespace, followed by a comma-separated list of group names. For example, the ACL preston,howard directors,inventors would authorize access to users named preston or howard, or in groupsdirectors or inventors.

With Kerberos authentication turned on, let’s see what happens when we try to copy a local file to HDFS:

% hadoop fs -put quangle.txt .

10/07/03 15:44:58 WARN ipc.Client: Exception encountered while connecting to the

server: GSS initiate failed [Caused by

GSSException: No valid credentials provided (Mechanism level: Failed to find

any Kerberos tgt)]

Bad connection to FS. command aborted. exception: Call to localhost/ failed on local exception: GSS initiate failed [Caused by GSSException:

No valid credentials provided

(Mechanism level: Failed to find any Kerberos tgt)]

The operation fails because we don’t have a Kerberos ticket. We can get one by authenticating to the KDC, using kinit:

% kinit

Password for hadoop-user@LOCALDOMAIN: password

% hadoop fs -put quangle.txt .

% hadoop fs -stat %n quangle.txt


And we see that the file is successfully written to HDFS. Notice that even though we carried out two filesystem commands, we only needed to call kinit once, since the Kerberos ticket is valid for 10 hours (use the klist command to see the expiry time of your tickets and kdestroy toinvalidate your tickets). After we get a ticket, everything works just as it normally would.

Delegation Tokens

In a distributed system such as HDFS or MapReduce, there are many client-server interactions, each of which must be authenticated. For example, an HDFS read operation will involve multiple calls to the namenode and calls to one or more datanodes. Instead of using the three-step Kerberos ticket exchange protocol to authenticate each call, which would present a high load on the KDC on a busy cluster, Hadoop uses delegation tokens to allow later authenticated access without having to contact the KDC again. Delegation tokens are created and used transparently by Hadoop on behalf of users, so there’s no action you need to take as a user beyond using kinit to sign in, but it’s useful to have a basic idea of how they are used.

A delegation token is generated by the server (the namenode, in this case) and can be thought of as a shared secret between the client and the server. On the first RPC call to the namenode, the client has no delegation token, so it uses Kerberos to authenticate. As a part of the response, it gets a delegation token from the namenode. In subsequent calls it presents the delegation token, which the namenode can verify (since it generated it using a secret key), and hence the client is authenticated to the server.

When it wants to perform operations on HDFS blocks, the client uses a special kind of delegation token, called a block access token, that the namenode passes to the client in response to a metadata request. The client uses the block access token to authenticate itself to datanodes. This is possible only because the namenode shares its secret key used to generate the block access token with datanodes (sending it in heartbeat messages), so that they can verify block access tokens. Thus, an HDFS block may be accessed only by a client with a valid block access token from a namenode. This closes the security hole in unsecured Hadoop where only the block ID was needed to gain access to a block. This property is enabled by setting dfs.block.access.token.enable to true.

In MapReduce, job resources and metadata (such as JAR files, input splits, and configuration files) are shared in HDFS for the application master to access, and user code runs on the node managers and accesses files on HDFS (the process is explained in Anatomy of a MapReduce Job Run). Delegation tokens are used by these components to access HDFS during the course of the job. When the job has finished, the delegation tokens are invalidated.

Delegation tokens are automatically obtained for the default HDFS instance, but if your job needs to access other HDFS clusters, you can load the delegation tokens for these by setting the mapreduce.job.hdfs-servers job property to a comma-separated list of HDFS URIs.

Other Security Enhancements

Security has been tightened throughout the Hadoop stack to protect against unauthorized access to resources. The more notable features are listed here:

§ Tasks can be run using the operating system account for the user who submitted the job, rather than the user running the node manager. This means that the operating system is used to isolate running tasks, so they can’t send signals to each other (to kill another user’s tasks, for example) and so local information, such as task data, is kept private via local filesystem permissions.
This feature is enabled by setting yarn.nodemanager.container-executor.class to org.apache.hadoop.yarn.server.nodemanager.LinuxContainerExecutor.[75] In addition, administrators need to ensure that each user is given an account on every node in the cluster (typically using LDAP).

§ When tasks are run as the user who submitted the job, the distributed cache (see Distributed Cache) is secure. Files that are world-readable are put in a shared cache (the insecure default); otherwise, they go in a private cache, readable only by the owner.

§ Users can view and modify only their own jobs, not others. This is enabled by setting mapreduce.cluster.acls.enabled to true. There are two job configuration properties, mapreduce.job.acl-view-job and mapreduce.job.acl-modify-job, which may be set to a comma-separated list of users to control who may view or modify a particular job.

§ The shuffle is secure, preventing a malicious user from requesting another user’s map outputs.

§ When appropriately configured, it’s no longer possible for a malicious user to run a rogue secondary namenode, datanode, or node manager that can join the cluster and potentially compromise data stored in the cluster. This is enforced by requiring daemons to authenticate with the master node they are connecting to.
To enable this feature, you first need to configure Hadoop to use a keytab previously generated with the ktutil command. For a datanode, for example, you would set the dfs.datanode.keytab.file property to the keytab filename and dfs.datanode.kerberos.principal to the username to use for the datanode. Finally, the ACL for the DataNodeProtocol (which is used by datanodes to communicate with the namenode) must be set in hadoop-policy.xml, by restricting security.datanode.protocol.acl to the datanode’s username.

§ A datanode may be run on a privileged port (one lower than 1024), so a client may be reasonably sure that it was started securely.

§ A task may communicate only with its parent application master, thus preventing an attacker from obtaining MapReduce data from another user’s job.

§ Various parts of Hadoop can be configured to encrypt network data, including RPC (, HDFS block transfers (, the MapReduce shuffle (mapreduce.shuffle.ssl.enabled), and the web UIs (hadokop.ssl.enabled). Work isongoing to encrypt data “at rest,” too, so that HDFS blocks can be stored in encrypted form, for example.

Benchmarking a Hadoop Cluster

Is the cluster set up correctly? The best way to answer this question is empirically: run some jobs and confirm that you get the expected results. Benchmarks make good tests because you also get numbers that you can compare with other clusters as a sanity check on whether your new cluster is performing roughly as expected. And you can tune a cluster using benchmark results to squeeze the best performance out of it. This is often done with monitoring systems in place (see Monitoring), so you can see how resources are being used across the cluster.

To get the best results, you should run benchmarks on a cluster that is not being used by others. In practice, this will be just before it is put into service and users start relying on it. Once users have scheduled periodic jobs on a cluster, it is generally impossible to find a time when the cluster is not being used (unless you arrange downtime with users), so you should run benchmarks to your satisfaction before this happens.

Experience has shown that most hardware failures for new systems are hard drive failures. By running I/O-intensive benchmarks — such as the ones described next — you can “burn in” the cluster before it goes live.

Hadoop Benchmarks

Hadoop comes with several benchmarks that you can run very easily with minimal setup cost. Benchmarks are packaged in the tests JAR file, and you can get a list of them, with descriptions, by invoking the JAR file with no arguments:

% hadoop jar $HADOOP_HOME/share/hadoop/mapreduce/hadoop-mapreduce-*-tests.jar

Most of the benchmarks show usage instructions when invoked with no arguments. For example:

% hadoop jar $HADOOP_HOME/share/hadoop/mapreduce/hadoop-mapreduce-*-tests.jar \



Missing arguments.

Usage: TestDFSIO [genericOptions] -read [-random | -backward |

-skip [-skipSize Size]] | -write | -append | -clean [-compression codecClassName]

[-nrFiles N] [-size Size[B|KB|MB|GB|TB]] [-resFile resultFileName]

[-bufferSize Bytes] [-rootDir]

Benchmarking MapReduce with TeraSort

Hadoop comes with a MapReduce program called TeraSort that does a total sort of its input.[76] It is very useful for benchmarking HDFS and MapReduce together, as the full input dataset is transferred through the shuffle. The three steps are: generate some random data, perform the sort, then validate the results.

First, we generate some random data using teragen (found in the examples JAR file, not the tests one). It runs a map-only job that generates a specified number of rows of binary data. Each row is 100 bytes long, so to generate one terabyte of data using 1,000 maps, run the following (10t is short for 10 trillion):

% hadoop jar \

$HADOOP_HOME/share/hadoop/mapreduce/hadoop-mapreduce-examples-*.jar \

teragen -Dmapreduce.job.maps=1000 10t random-data

Next, run terasort:

% hadoop jar \

$HADOOP_HOME/share/hadoop/mapreduce/hadoop-mapreduce-examples-*.jar \

terasort random-data sorted-data

The overall execution time of the sort is the metric we are interested in, but it’s instructive to watch the job’s progress via the web UI (http://resource-manager-host:8088/), where you can get a feel for how long each phase of the job takes. Adjusting the parameters mentioned inTuning a Job is a useful exercise, too.

As a final sanity check, we validate that the data in sorted-data is, in fact, correctly sorted:

% hadoop jar \

$HADOOP_HOME/share/hadoop/mapreduce/hadoop-mapreduce-examples-*.jar \

teravalidate sorted-data report

This command runs a short MapReduce job that performs a series of checks on the sorted data to check whether the sort is accurate. Any errors can be found in the report/part-r-00000 output file.

Other benchmarks

There are many more Hadoop benchmarks, but the following are widely used:

§ TestDFSIO tests the I/O performance of HDFS. It does this by using a MapReduce job as a convenient way to read or write files in parallel.

§ MRBench (invoked with mrbench) runs a small job a number of times. It acts as a good counterpoint to TeraSort, as it checks whether small job runs are responsive.

§ NNBench (invoked with nnbench) is useful for load-testing namenode hardware.

§ Gridmix is a suite of benchmarks designed to model a realistic cluster workload by mimicking a variety of data-access patterns seen in practice. See the documentation in the distribution for how to run Gridmix.

§ SWIM, or the Statistical Workload Injector for MapReduce, is a repository of real-life MapReduce workloads that you can use to generate representative test workloads for your system.

§ TPCx-HS is a standardized benchmark based on TeraSort from the Transaction Processing Performance Council.

User Jobs

For tuning, it is best to include a few jobs that are representative of the jobs that your users run, so your cluster is tuned for these and not just for the standard benchmarks. If this is your first Hadoop cluster and you don’t have any user jobs yet, then either Gridmix or SWIM is a good substitute.

When running your own jobs as benchmarks, you should select a dataset for your user jobs and use it each time you run the benchmarks to allow comparisons between runs. When you set up a new cluster or upgrade a cluster, you will be able to use the same dataset to compare the performance with previous runs.

[68] ECC memory is strongly recommended, as several Hadoop users have reported seeing many checksum errors when using non-ECC memory on Hadoop clusters.

[69] The mapred user doesn’t use SSH, as in Hadoop 2 and later, the only MapReduce daemon is the job history server.

[70] See its man page for instructions on how to start ssh-agent.

[71] There can be more than one namenode when running HDFS HA.

[72] For more discussion on the security implications of SSH host keys, consult the article “SSH Host Key Protection” by Brian Hatch.

[73] Notice that there is no site file for MapReduce shown here. This is because the only MapReduce daemon is the job history server, and the defaults are sufficient.

[74] To use Kerberos authentication with Hadoop, you need to install, configure, and run a KDC (Hadoop does not come with one). Your organization may already have a KDC you can use (an Active Directory installation, for example); if not, you can set up an MIT Kerberos 5 KDC.

[75] LinuxTaskController uses a setuid executable called container-executor, found in the bin directory. You should ensure that this binary is owned by root and has the setuid bit set (with chmod +s).

[76] In 2008, TeraSort was used to break the world record for sorting 1 TB of data; see A Brief History of Apache Hadoop.