Simple bash functions for manipulating Amazon Elastic MapReduce clusters
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This is a simple set of bash functions for manipulating Amazon Elastic MapReduce clusters.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


You must install the AWS Command Line Interface.

You then must setup an emr_defaults.json file with your default emr settings.

Either call:

aws configure set key-name <your key name> [--profile <profile-name>]
aws configure set key-pair-file <path to private key>  [--profile <profile-name>]

Or, use the emr_defaults_sample.json as a starting point:

export EMR_DEFAULTS_JSON=/<mypath>/bash-emr/bash-emr/emr_defaults.json

Finally, you must source the file (in your .bash_profile)

. //bash-emr/


To find an existing cluster:


To attach to a cluster, using a flow id:


To get the current flow id:


To remotely login to the master node of the current flow id:


To remotely login with just the ip address:


Note that most commands will take the cluster id or an ip address to override the default cluster id set using emrset.



This is shorthand for calling from the shell.

emr <some args>


When you start a flow on EMR, you will be given a flow id. Use emrset to set the flow id for use by many of the other commands

emrset <flow id>

Calling emrset without the id returns the current flow id.


Will set the current default profile for the aws cli to use, effectively changing the keys and credential to be use used on subsequent commands.

Will also set 'AWS_DEFAULT_PROFILE', or unset if there is no profile name given.


Will toggle use of private ips vs public domain names. Simply set or unsets the env var 'EMR_PRIVATE_IPS'.


Will return the list of recent clusters.


Will return the list of clusters that in an active state.


Will return the current master node DNS name on the EMR cluster.

If 'priv' is given, will return the current the private ip of the master node on the EMR cluster.

emrhost priv

Passing 'priv' to other commands that do a host lookup will force them to attach via the private ip.

Setting 'EMR_PRIVATE_IPS' to true, will force all commands to use private ips.


Will remotely login to the master node.


Will return the current status of a given running flow.


Will terminate your remote EMR cluster.


Will launch screen on the master node. Screen must be already installed. If a screen instance is already running, this command will automatically attach.

Note screens will be named after the local username, or use the EMR_SCREEN_NAME env variable.


Will list all remove screen names.


Will automatically 'tail' the current flow step logs.

emrtail 2

Without a step number, a list of available steps will be displayed.


Will create a local SOCKS proxy to the master node. This is useful for accessing the JobTracker and NameNode. You must install FoxyProxy in FireFox for this to work best.


Will print urls for possible EMR services on the master node.

Passing 'priv' as an argument will create urls using the private ips.


Will scp a given file to the remote master node.

emrscp my-hadoop-app.jar

This is useful if you leave your EMR cluster running and want to manually spawn jobs from emrlogin or emrscreen.


Will copy the given file or folder from the remote master node to a local path

emrscplocal file.on.master.txt ~/myfolder/


Will scp all conf/*-site.xml files from the master node into the given directory.

emrconf local-conf

This is useful if you leave your EMR cluster running on a AWS VPC and wish to run Hadoop jobs from a local shell.