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This sample app will get up and running quickly with a Hadoop cluster on Google Compute Engine. For more information on running Hadoop on GCE, read the papers at
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Google Compute Engine Cluster for Hadoop


Copyright 2013 Google Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.


This sample application is not an official Google product.


This sample application sets up Google Compute Engine instances as a Hadoop cluster and executes MapReduce tasks.

The purpose of this sample is to demonstrate how to leverage Google Compute Engine for parallel processing with MapReduce on Hadoop.

The sample is not meant to maintain a persistent Hadoop cluster. Because this sample uses ephemeral disks as storage for the Hadoop cluster, all data on the Hadoop cluster instances, including data in HDFS (Hadoop Distributed FileSystem), will be lost when the Hadoop cluster is torn down. Important data, such as input and output of MapReduce must be kept in persistent storage, such as Google Cloud Storage.

The sample takes advantage of MapReduce tasks to parallelize the copy of input and output of MapReduce between Google Cloud Storage and HDFS.


This sample assumes Google Cloud Storage and Google Compute Engine services are enabled from the Google APIs Console. The sample requires sufficient Google Compute Engine quota to run a Hadoop cluster.

The sample uses gsutil and gcutil, command line tools for Google Cloud Storage and Google Compute Engine respectively. Make sure to have the latest version of these tools added to the PATH environment variable.


This sample internally uses gcutil to perform file transfer and remote command execution from the machine where the sample is executed, and Google Compute Engine instances. So it's important to set up gcutil in an expected way.

Default project

Default project of gcutil must be set to the project where Hadoop cluster is started. In this way, can be used to log in to Hadoop master, and use hadooop command there. Run the following command to set gcutil default project.

gcutil getproject --project=<project ID> --cache_flag_values
SSH key

In order for the sample to execute remote commands automatically, gcutil must be allowed to connect to Google Compute Engine instances without passphrase.

If gcutil has never been executed, please run it to configure SSH key. Make sure to set empty passphrase for SSH key.

If SSH key is created earlier with passphrase, the sample fails to start Hadoop cluster, asking for manual passphrase entry from within the automated script. If this happens, rename (or remove) the SSH key from the system.

mv $HOME/.ssh/google_compute_engine $HOME/.ssh/google_compute_engine.bak

After the rename of the SSH key, run gcutil again in the same way to create a new SSH key without passphrase.


This sample application runs with Python 2.7. It's tested on Mac OS X and Linux.

Alternatively, a Google Compute Engine instance can be used to run this sample, which works as a controller of the Hadoop cluster.

Known Issues

  • On HDFS NameNode Web console (http://<master external IP address>:50070), "Browse the filesystem" link does not work. In order to browse HDFS from Web UI, go to the live node list from the "Live Nodes" link, and click the IP address of an arbitrary DataNode.

  • The script does not work properly if the path to the sample application directory contains whitespace. Please download the sample to the path that doesn't include any whitespaces.

  • Without additional security consideration, which falls outside the scope of this sample application, Hadoop's Web UI is open to public. Some resources on the Web are:

Set up Instruction

Prepare Hadoop package

Download Hadoop package

Download Hadoop 1.2.1 package (hadoop-1.2.1.tar.gz) from one of Apache Hadoop mirror sites or from Apache Hadoop archives.

Put the downloaded package to the root directory of this sample (compute_engine_cluster_for_hadoop), the same directory as hadoop-1.2.1.patch. Download can be performed from your Web browser and the file can be copied to the working directory. Alternatively, command line tools, such as curl or wget may be used.

curl -O
Customize Hadoop configuration and re-package

Apply hadoop-1.2.1.patch to customize Hadoop configuration. From compute_engine_cluster_for_hadoop directory, execute the following commands.

tar zxf hadoop-1.2.1.tar.gz
patch -p0 < hadoop-1.2.1.patch
tar zcf hadoop-1.2.1.tar.gz hadoop-1.2.1

Hadoop configurations can be modified after the patch is applied in the above steps so as to include the custom configurations.

Download Open JDK and Dependent Packages

The sample uses Open JDK as Java runtime environment. Open JDK Java Runtime Environment is distributed under GNU Public License version 2. User must agree to the license to use Open JDK.

Create a directory called "deb_packages" under the root directory of the sample.

Download amd64 package of openjdk-6-jre-headless, and architecture-common package of openjdk-6-jre-lib from the following sites.

Also download dependent packages.

Put the downloaded packages into the deb_packages directory.

mkdir deb_packages
cd deb_packages
curl -O
curl -O
curl -O
curl -O
curl -O
curl -O
cd ..

Prepare Google Cloud Storage bucket

Create a Google Cloud Storage bucket, from which Google Compute Engine instance downloads Hadoop package and the generated files for Hadoop set up.

This can be done by either:

Note this bucket can be different from the bucket where MapReduce input and output are located. Make sure to create the bucket in the same project as Google Compute Engine for Hadoop cluster.

Create client ID and client secret

Client ID and client secret are required by OAuth2 authorization to identify the sample application. It is required in order for the application to access Google API (in this example, Google Compute Engine API) on behalf of the user.

Client ID and client secret can be set up from API Access page of Google APIs Console. Click "Create another client ID..." button to create client ID.

Choose "Installed Application" as application type, and set application type to "Other".

Replace CLIENT_ID and CLIENT_SECRET values in GceCluster class in with the actual values from Google APIs Console.

CLIENT_SECRET = 'abcd..........'

Download and set up Python libraries

The following libraries are required by the sample, and here is the example of how to set up libraries in the sample application directory.

Google Client API

Google Client API is library to access various Google's services via API.

Download google-api-python-client-1.1.tar.gz from download page or by the following command.

curl -O

Set up the library in compute_engine_cluster_for_hadoop directory.

tar zxf google-api-python-client-1.1.tar.gz
ln -s google-api-python-client-1.1/apiclient .
ln -s google-api-python-client-1.1/oauth2client .
ln -s google-api-python-client-1.1/uritemplate .

Httplib2 is used by Google Client API internally. Download httplib2-0.8.tar.gz from download page. or by the following command.

curl -O

Set up the library in compute_engine_cluster_for_hadoop directory.

tar zxf httplib2-0.8.tar.gz
ln -s httplib2-0.8/python2/httplib2 .
Python gflags

gflags is used by Google Client API internally. Download python-gflags-2.0.tar.gz from download page. or by the following command.

curl -O

Set up the library in compute_engine_cluster_for_hadoop directory.

tar zxf python-gflags-2.0.tar.gz
ln -s python-gflags-2.0/ .
ln -s python-gflags-2.0/ .
Python mock (required only for unit tests)

mock is mocking library for Python. It will be included in Python as standard package from Python 3.3. However, since this sample application uses Python 2.7, it needs to be set up.

Download mock-1.0.1.tar.gz from download page. or by the following command.

curl -O

Set up the library in compute_engine_cluster_for_hadoop directory.

tar zxf mock-1.0.1.tar.gz
ln -s mock-1.0.1/ .

Usage of this Sample Application is the main script of the sample. It sets up Google Compute Engine and Google Cloud Storage environment for Hadoop cluster, starts up Hadoop cluster, initiates MapReduce jobs and tears down the cluster.

Show usage
./ --help has 4 subcommands, setup, start, mapreduce and shutdown. Please refer to the following usages for available options.

./ setup --help
./ start --help
./ mapreduce --help
./ shutdown --help
Set up environment

'setup' subcommand sets up environment.

  • Create SSH key used by communication between Hadoop instances.
  • Upload Hadoop and Open JDK packages to Google Cloud Storage, so that Google Compute Engine instances can download them to set up Hadoop.
  • Set up firewall in Google Compute Engine network to allow users to access Hadoop Web consoles.

'setup' must be performed at least once per combination of Google Compute Engine project and Google Cloud Storage bucket. 'setup' may safely be run repeatedly for the same Google Compute Engine project and/or Google Cloud Storage bucket. Project ID can be found on "Overview" page of Google APIs Console, and bucket name is the name of Google Cloud Storage bucket without "gs://" prefix.

Execute the following command to set up the environment.

./ setup <project ID> <bucket name>
Start cluster

'start' subcommand starts Hadoop cluster. By default, it starts 6 instances, one master and 5 worker instances. In other words, the default value of the number of workers is 5.

./ start <project ID> <bucket name> [number of workers] [--prefix <prefix>]

If the instance is started for the first time, the script requires log in and asks for authorization to access Google Compute Engine. By default, it opens Web browser for this procedure. If the script is run in remote host on terminal (on SSH, for example), it cannot open Web browser on local machine. In this case, --noauth_local_webserver option can be specified as instructed by the message as follows.

./ --noauth_local_webserver start <project ID> <bucket name> [number of workers] [--prefix <prefix>]

It avoids the attempt to open local Web browser, and it shows URL for authentication and authorization. When authorization is successful on the Web browser, the page shows code to paste on the terminal. By pasting the correct code, authorization process is complete in the script. The script can then access Google Compute Engine through API.

As shown on console log, HDFS and MapReduce Web consoles are available at http://<master external IP address>:50070 and http://<master external IP address>:50030 respectively.

'start' subcommand accepts custom command executed on each instance by --command option. For example, it can be used to install required software and/or to download necessary files onto each instance. The custom command is executed under the permission of the user who started the instance. If superuser privilege is required for the command execution, use sudo in the command.

With older version of gcutil, the "start" subcommand fails with the repeated following message. Please update to the latest version of gcutil. (Download page)

FATAL Flags parsing error: Unknown command line flag 'zone'

If an error occurs resulting in Hadoop cluster set-up failure, delete existing instances from Google Compute Engine console, fix the issues and restart.

Start MapReduce

'mapreduce' subcommand starts MapReduce task on the Hadoop cluster. It requires project name and bucket for the temporary use. The temporary bucket is used to transfer mapper and reducer programs. It may or may not be the same as the bucket used to set up the cluster.

Input files must be located in a single directory on Google Cloud Storage, from where they are copied to Hadoop cluster as mapper's input. The directory on Google Cloud Storage or a single file on Google Cloud Storage can be specified as input.

--input and --output parameters are required, and must point to directory on Google Cloud Storage, starting with "gs://". Alternatively, --input can be a single file on Google Cloud Storage, still starting with "gs://". --input, --output and temporary bucket can belong to the different buckets.

The output of MapReduce task is copied to the specified output directory on Google Cloud Storage. The existing files in the directory may be overwritten. The output directory does not need to exist in advance.

The command uses Hadoop streaming MapReduce processing. The mapper and the reducer must be programmed to read input from standard input and write output to standard output. If local file is specified as mapper and/or reducer, they are copied to Hadoop cluster through Google Cloud Storage. Alternatively, files on Google Cloud Storage may be used as mapper or reducer.

If mapper or reducer requires additional files, such as data files or libraries, it can be achieved by --command option of 'start' subcommand.

If mapper or reducer is not specified, the step (mapper or reducer) copies input to output. Specifying 0 as --reducer-count will skip shuffle and reduce phases, making the output of mapper the final output of MapReduce.

sample directory in this sample application includes sample mapper and reducer, that counts the words' occurrence in the input files in shortest to longest and in alphabetical order in the same length of the word.


./ mapreduce <project ID> <bucket name> [--prefix <prefix>]
    --input gs://<input directory on Google Cloud Storage>  \
    --output gs://<output directory on Google Cloud Storage>  \
    --mapper sample/  \
    --reducer sample/  \
    --mapper-count 5  \
    --reducer-count 1
Shut down cluster

'shutdown' subcommand deletes all instances in the Hadoop cluster.

./ shutdown <project ID> [--prefix <prefix>]

In this sample application, Google Compute Engine instances use ephemeral disks for storage. Therefore, all files on Hadoop cluster, including HDFS, are deleted when the cluster is shut down. Since this sample application is not meant to maintain Hadoop cluster as persistent storage, important files must be kept in persistent storage, such as Google Cloud Storage.

Prefix and zone

start, mapreduce and shutdown subcommands take string value as "--prefix" parameter. The prefix specified is prepended to instance names of the cluster. In order to start up multiple clusters in the same project, specify different prefix, and run mapreduce or shutdown commands with the appropreate prefix.

There are restrictions in the prefix string.

  • Prefix must be 15 letters or less.
  • Only lower case alphanumerical letters and hyphens can be used.
  • The first letter must be lower case alphabet.

Similarly, if zone is specified by --zone parameter in start subcommand, the same zone must be specified for mapreduce and shutdown subcommands, so that the MapReduce task and shutdown are performed correctly.

Log in to Hadoop master instance provides convenient way to log on to the master instance of Hadoop cluster.

./ [prefix]

When logged on to the master instance, user is automatically switched to Hadoop cluster's superuser ('hadoop'). hadoop command can be used to work on HDFS and Hadoop.


hadoop dfs -ls /

Unit tests

The sample has 3 Python files,, and They have corresponding unit tests,, and respectively.

Unit tests can be directly executed.


Note some unit tests simulate error conditions, and those tests shows error messages.

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