How to Setup an Apache Hadoop Cluster on AWS EC2

This article demonstrates how to get Apache Hadoop up and running on an Amazon EC2 cluster.

installing apache hadoop on aws


Lets talk about how to setup an Apache Hadoop cluster on AWS.

In a previous article, we discussed setting up a Hadoop processing pipeline on a single node (laptop). That involved running all the components of Hadoop on a single machine. In the setup we discuss here, we setup a multi-node cluster to run processing jobs.

Our setup involves a single NameNode and three DataNodes which serve as processing slaves.

Starting with setting up the AWS EC2 resources, we take you all the way through complete configuration of the machines in this arrangement.

We use Apache Hadoop 2.7.3 for this demonstration.


Sign up for an AWS account if you don’t already have one. You get some resources free for the first year, including an EC2 Micro Instance.

AWS EC2 Startup

We will now create 4 instances of Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS using Amazon EC2.

Select Instance

Go to your AWS Console, Click on Launch Instance and select Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS.

Select AWS instance type for apache hadoop cluster

Instance Type

For the instance type, we choose t2.micro since that is sufficient for the purposes of the demo. If you have a need for a high-memory or high-cpu instance, you can select one of those.

Select instance type for setting up an Apache Hadoop Cluster

Click Next to Configure Instance Details

Instance Details

Here, we request 4 instances of the selected machine type. We also choose a subnet (us-west-1b) just so we can launch into the same location if we need more machines.

Configure instance parameters for setting up an Apache Hadoop Cluster

Click Next to Add Storage


For our purpose, the default instance storage of 8GB is sufficient. If you need more storage, either increase the size or attach a disk by clicking “Add Volume”. If you add a volume, you will need to attach the volume to your instance, format it and mount it. Since this is a beginner tutorial, these steps are not covered here.

Add storage for setting up an Apache Hadoop Cluster

Click Next to Add Tags to your instances.

Instance Tags

A tag allows you to identify your instance with a name you can choose.

Click Add Tag, set the Key to “Name” and value to “Hadoop”. We will use this tag to re-label our instances as “namenode”, “datanode1” and so on later on. For now leave the value of all the instances as “Hadoop”.

Add Name tag to instances when setting up an Apache Hadoop Cluster

Click Next to configure Security Group for the instances.

Security Group

For the security group, we create a completely open security group for the purposes of testing.

Create an open security group for setting up an Apache Hadoop Cluster

Finally we get to the Launch screen.

Launch Instances

Review the information again and click Launch to start the instances. You will need to create a key pair or use an existing key pair. Follow the instructions on the Launch Wizard to create a new key pair. Then click “I acknowledge ..” and then Launch Instances.

Launch instances for an Apache Hadoop Cluster

You can now go to the instances page and check on the status of the instances.

Naming the Instances

On the instances page, let us setup the names of the instances. These are not DNS names, but names we assign to help us distinguish between them.

Click the pencil icon next to the name and setup the names as shown.

Configure Name tag for an Apache Hadoop Cluster

Setting Up Instances

Once the instances are up and running, it is time to set them up for our purpose. This includes the following:

  • Setup password-less login between the namenode and the datanodes.
  • Install java.
  • Setup Hadoop.

Copy Instance Public DNS Name

We now need to copy the Public DNS Name of each node (1 namenode and 3 datanodes). These names are used in the configuration steps below. Since the DNS is specific to each setup, we refer to the names as follows.

For example, in the description below, if you see <nnode>, substitute with the value of <NameNode Public DNS>. Similarly for <dnode1> and so on.

nnode <NameNode Public DNS>
dnode1 <DataNode1 Public DNS>
dnode2 <DataNode2 Public DNS>
dnode3 <DataNode3 Public DNS>

Common Setup on All Nodes

Some setup is common to all the nodes: NameNode and DataNodes. This is covered in this section.

All Nodes: Update the instance

Let us update the OS with latest available software patches.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade

After the updates, the system might require a restart. Perform a Reboot from the EC2 Instances page.

Reboot nodes after updating nodes in an Apache Hadoop Cluster

All Nodes: Install Java

Let us now install Java. We install the package: openjdk-8-jdk-headless on all the nodes.

sudo apt-get -y install openjdk-8-jdk-headless

All Nodes: Install Apache Hadoop

Install Apache Hadoop 2.7.3 on all the instances. Obtain the link to download from the Apache website and run the following commands. We install Hadoop under a directory server in the home directory.

mkdir server
cd server
wget <Link to Hadoop 2.7.3>
tar xvzf hadoop-2.7.3.tar.gz

All Nodes: Setup JAVA_HOME

On each of the nodes, edit ~/server/hadoop-2.7.3/etc/hadoop/

Replace this line:


With the following line:

export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-amd64

All Nodes: Update core_site.xml

On each node, edit ~/server/hadoop-2.7.3/etc/hadoop/core-site.xml and replace the following lines:


with these (as mentioned above, replace <nnode> with NameNode’s public DNS):


All Nodes: Create Data Dir

HDFS needs the data directory to be present on each node: 1 name node and 3 data nodes. Create this directory as shown and change ownership to user ubuntu.

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/hadoop/hdfs/data
sudo chown -R ubuntu:ubuntu /usr/local/hadoop/hdfs/data

Configuring NameNode

After performing configuration common to all nodes, let us now setup the NameNode.

Namenode: Password Less SSH

As mentioned before, we need password-less SSH between the name nodes and the data nodes. Let us create a public-private key pair for this purpose on the namenode.

namenode> ssh-keygen

Use the default (/home/ubuntu/.ssh/id_rsa) for the key location and hit enter for an empty passphrase.

Datanodes: Setup Public Key

The public key is saved in /home/ubuntu/.ssh/ We need to copy this file from the namenode to each data node and append the contents to /home/ubuntu/.ssh/authorized_keys on each data node.

datanode1> cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
datanode2> cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
datanode3> cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Namenode: Setup SSH Config

SSH uses a configuration file located at ~/.ssh/config for various parameters. Set it up as shown below. Again, substitute each node’s Public DNS for the HostName parameter (for example, replace <nnode> with EC2 Public DNS for NameNode).

Host nnode
  HostName <nnode>
  User ubuntu
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Host dnode1
  HostName <dnode1>
  User ubuntu
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Host dnode2
  HostName <dnode2>
  User ubuntu
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Host dnode3
  HostName <dnode3>
  User ubuntu
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa

At this point, verify that password-less operation works on each node as follows (the first time, you will get a warning that the host is unknown and whether you want to connect to it. Type yes and hit enter. This step is needed once only):

namenode> ssh nnode
namenode> ssh dnode1
namenode> ssh dnode2
namenode> ssh dnode3

Namenode: Setup HDFS Properties

On the NameNode, edit the following file:~/server/hadoop-2.7.3/etc/hadoop/hdfs-site.xml





Namenode: Setup MapReduce Properties

On the NameNode, copy the file (~/server/hadoop-2.7.3/etc/hadoop/mapred-site.xml.template) to (~/server/hadoop-2.7.3/etc/hadoop/mapred-site.xml). Replace:


With this (as above replace <nnode> with NameNode’s public DNS):


Namenode: Setup YARN Properties

Next we need to set up ~/server/hadoop-2.7.3/etc/hadoop/yarn-site.xml on the NameNode. Replace the following:


<!-- Site specific YARN configuration properties -->


With (as before, replace <nnode> with NameNode’s public DNS):


  <!-- Site specific YARN configuration properties -->


Namenode: Setup Master and Slaves

On the NameNode, create ~/server/hadoop-2.7.3/etc/hadoop/masters with the following (replace <nnode> with the NameNode’s public DNS):


Also replace all content in ~/server/hadoop-2.7.3/etc/hadoop/slaves with (replace each of <dnode1>, etc with the appropriate DateNode’s public DNS):


Configuring Data Nodes

After covering configuration common to both NameNode and DataNodes, we have a little bit of configuring specific to DataNodes. On each data node, edit the file ~/server/hadoop-2.7.3/etc/hadoop/hdfs-site.xml and replace the following:




Starting the Hadoop Cluster

After all that configuration, it is now time to test drive the cluster. First, format the HDFS file system on the NameNode:

namenode> cd ~/server
namenode> ./hadoop-2.7.3/bin/hdfs namenode -format

Finally, startup the Hadoop Cluster. After this step you should have all the daemons running on the NameNode and the DataNodes.

namenode> ./hadoop-2.7.3/sbin/
namenode> ./hadoop-2.7.3/sbin/
namenode> ./hadoop-2.7.3/sbin/ start historyserver

Check the console carefully for any error messages. If everything looks OK, check for the daemons using jps.

namenode> jps

You can also check on the datanodes for java processes.

datanode1> jps

Check the Web UI

Once the cluster is running, we can check the web UI for the status of the data nodes. Go to <nnode>:50070 for the Web UI and verify that the 3 data nodes added are online.


This article showed you how to setup Apache Hadoop on an Amazon EC2 cluster. Starting  with standard Ubuntu 16.04 LTS instances, we configured the machines with Java and Apache Hadoop. Next we covered setting up various Hadoop components according to the role on each node. In the next article in this series on Apache Hadoop, we look into running jobs on the cluster.

8 thoughts on “How to Setup an Apache Hadoop Cluster on AWS EC2”

  1. Further to this after setting up the cluster, if anyone else follows this blog please note below:

    1. While configuring slaves if you see localhost during addition of .. you can remove localhost which may appear in first line..

    2. Once your cluster is up you may have to add below params (in my case i used 2.7.4 so go to home and do vim ~./bashrc) and add following
    export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-amd64
    export HADOOP_HOME=/home/ubuntu/server/hadoop-2.7.4
    export HADOOP_OPTS=”-Djava.library.path=$HADOOP_HOME/lib”

    source ~./bashrc

    3. I tried to put some files on the hdfs file system and run hadoop fs -mkdir etc, but it did not work right after my setup was verified. I had to then do a quick step to create an alias for the command hadoop fs in bashrc file itself(alias shown below)
    alias hadoop=’/home/ubuntu/server/hadoop-2.7.4/bin/hadoop’
    source ~./bashrc

    If you do not want alias you can anyways run it with below pattern:
    ~/server/hadoop-2.7.4/bin$ ./hadoop fs -mkdir hdfs://nnode:9000/test

    Overall a very good article, I just felt like adding a few inputs to improve it further.

  2. A small addition:

    yarn-site.xml needs to be changed not just on the name node but ALSO on the datanodes. While HDFS will not have any problem with it, PIG will not work unless the datanodes know which server to connect back for YARN.

  3. Hi, all

    When I ran JPS, i got the following

    ubuntu@ip-172-31-29-172:~/server$ jps
    6761 NameNode
    6970 SecondaryNameNode
    7710 Jps
    7134 ResourceManager

    does it mean everything is ok?

    During the last step
    ./hadoop-2.7.6/sbin/ start historyserver

    I simply got this only.
    starting historyserver, logging to /home/ubuntu/server/hadoop-2.7.6/logs/mapred-ubuntu-historyserver-ip-172-31-29-172.out

    When I went to check mapred-ubuntu-historyserver-ip-172-31-29-172.out, the file did get created, but it stays at zero bytes.

    Should I see anything else in JPS output for history server daemon?


  4. Still excellent tutorial in late 2018.
    I only had to do one additional step, which is adding the of the namenode to its own authorized_keys.
    namenode> cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

    Keep up the good work.

  5. How do we copy public key from NameNode to DataNodes? I have tried using “scp” command and getting “operation timed out” error every time.

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