HBase uses the Secure Shell (ssh) command and utilities extensively to communicate between cluster nodes. Each server in the cluster must be running ssh so that the Hadoop and HBase daemons can be managed. You must be able to connect to all nodes via SSH, including the local node, from the Master as well as any backup Master, using a shared key rather than a password. You can see the basic methodology for such a set-up in Linux or Unix systems at "Procedure: Configure Passwordless SSH Access". If your cluster nodes use OS X, see the section, SSH: Setting up Remote Desktop and Enabling Self-Login on the Hadoop wiki.
HBase uses the local hostname to self-report its IP address. Both forward and reverse DNS resolving must work in versions of HBase previous to 0.92.0. The hadoop-dns-checker tool can be used to verify DNS is working correctly on the cluster. The project README file provides detailed instructions on usage.
Prior to hbase-0.96.0, HBase only used the IP address 127.0.0.1 to refer to localhost, and this could not be configured. See Loopback IPfor more details.
The clocks on cluster nodes should be synchronized. A small amount of variation is acceptable, but larger amounts of skew can cause erratic and unexpected behavior. Time synchronization is one of the first things to check if you see unexplained problems in your cluster. It is recommended that you run a Network Time Protocol (NTP) service, or another time-synchronization mechanism, on your cluster, and that all nodes look to the same service for time synchronization. See the Basic NTP Configuration at The Linux Documentation Project (TLDP) to set up NTP.
Limits on Number of Files and Processes (ulimit)
Apache HBase is a database. It requires the ability to open a large number of files at once. Many Linux distributions limit the number of files a single user is allowed to open to 1024 (or 256 on older versions of OS X). You can check this limit on your servers by running the commandulimit -n when logged in as the user which runs HBase. See the Troubleshooting section for some of the problems you may experience if the limit is too low. You may also notice errors such as the following:
2010-04-06 03:04:37,542 INFO org.apache.hadoop.hdfs.DFSClient: Exception increateBlockOutputStream java.io.EOFException
2010-04-06 03:04:37,542 INFO org.apache.hadoop.hdfs.DFSClient: Abandoning block blk_-6935524980745310745_1391901
It is recommended to raise the ulimit to at least 10,000, but more likely 10,240, because the value is usually expressed in multiples of 1024. Each ColumnFamily has at least one StoreFile, and possibly more than six StoreFiles if the region is under load. The number of open files required depends upon the number of ColumnFamilies and the number of regions. The following is a rough formula for calculating the potential number of open files on a RegionServer.
Calculate the Potential Number of Open Files
(StoreFiles per ColumnFamily) x (regions per RegionServer)
For example, assuming that a schema had 3 ColumnFamilies per region with an average of 3 StoreFiles per ColumnFamily, and there are 100 regions per RegionServer, the JVM will open 3 * 3 * 100 = 900 file descriptors, not counting open JAR files, configuration files, and others. Opening a file does not take many resources, and the risk of allowing a user to open too many files is minimal.
Another related setting is the number of processes a user is allowed to run at once. In Linux and Unix, the number of processes is set using theulimit -u command. This should not be confused with the nproc command, which controls the number of CPUs available to a given user. Under load, a ulimit -u that is too low can cause OutOfMemoryError exceptions. See Jack Levin’s major HDFS issues thread on the hbase-users mailing list, from 2011.
Configuring the maximum number of file descriptors and processes for the user who is running the HBase process is an operating system configuration, rather than an HBase configuration. It is also important to be sure that the settings are changed for the user that actually runs HBase. To see which user started HBase, and that user’s ulimit configuration, look at the first line of the HBase log for that instance. A useful read setting config on your hadoop cluster is Aaron Kimball’s Configuration Parameters: What can you just ignore?
Example 6. ulimit Settings on Ubuntu
To configure ulimit settings on Ubuntu, edit /etc/security/limits.conf, which is a space-delimited file with four columns. Refer to the man page for limits.conf for details about the format of this file. In the following example, the first line sets both soft and hard limits for the number of open files (nofile) to 32768 for the operating system user with the username hadoop. The second line sets the number of processes to 32000 for the same user.
hadoop - nofile 32768
hadoop - nproc 32000
The settings are only applied if the Pluggable Authentication Module (PAM) environment is directed to use them. To configure PAM to use these limits, be sure that the /etc/pam.d/common-session file contains the following line:
session required pam_limits.so
All of the shell scripts that come with HBase rely on the GNU Bash shell.
Prior to HBase 0.96, testing for running HBase on Microsoft Windows was limited. Running a on Windows nodes is not recommended for production systems.