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HBase Cluster on Amazon EC2 Using Whirr

March 9, 2012

Whirr is an apache project for helping setup cloud services on different providers. This walks you through the process of using Whirr to set-up hbase on Amazon EC2. This is based on the blog posts at 1 and 2

  1. Make sure you have an account on Amazon web services

  2. Download whirr 0.71

     tar -xzf whirr-0.7.1.tar.gz
  3. Add your AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID as environment variables. You'll find them in the security credentials page on

  4. Generate a set of password less cryptographic keys

     ssh-keygen -t rsa -P ''
     Generating public/private rsa key pair.
     Enter file in which to save the key (/Users/bob/.ssh/id_rsa): whirr_rsa
  5. From the whirr-0.7.1 installation directory, copy the from the recipes directory and modify it to use your newly created keys. The properties file has details

     cp ./recipes/ ./
  6. Test that whirr works and then launch your cluster

     Usage: whirr COMMAND [ARGS]
     where COMMAND may be one of:
     ./bin/whirr launch-cluster --config
  7. Success! Tons of log information will scroll by. You need to find the proxy server line so you can easily access the hbase installation. It will look like:

  8. To log-in run the following (replacing bob and the server name):

     Running proxy to HBase cluster at Use Ctrl-c to quit
     #From another terminal you can ssh-in as follows
     ssh -i /Users/bob/.ssh/whirr_rsa
  9. Once you've logged in you'll find base in the /usr/local/hbase-0.90.4 directory you can then use the standard hbase shell commands to investigate your cluster. See HBase Shell Commands

  10. Watch out: the default properties launch a 5 node cluster running extra large instances. It's pretty big so may cost you more than you want if your just testing