Chapter 17. ZooKeeper

Table of Contents

17.1. Using existing ZooKeeper ensemble
17.2. SASL Authentication with ZooKeeper
17.2.1. Operating System Prerequisites
17.2.2. HBase-managed Zookeeper Configuration
17.2.3. External Zookeeper Configuration
17.2.4. Zookeeper Server Authentication Log Output
17.2.5. Zookeeper Client Authentication Log Output
17.2.6. Configuration from Scratch
17.2.7. Future improvements

A distributed Apache HBase installation depends on a running ZooKeeper cluster. All participating nodes and clients need to be able to access the running ZooKeeper ensemble. Apache HBase by default manages a ZooKeeper "cluster" for you. It will start and stop the ZooKeeper ensemble as part of the HBase start/stop process. You can also manage the ZooKeeper ensemble independent of HBase and just point HBase at the cluster it should use. To toggle HBase management of ZooKeeper, use the HBASE_MANAGES_ZK variable in conf/ This variable, which defaults to true, tells HBase whether to start/stop the ZooKeeper ensemble servers as part of HBase start/stop.

When HBase manages the ZooKeeper ensemble, you can specify ZooKeeper configuration using its native zoo.cfg file, or, the easier option is to just specify ZooKeeper options directly in conf/hbase-site.xml. A ZooKeeper configuration option can be set as a property in the HBase hbase-site.xml XML configuration file by prefacing the ZooKeeper option name with For example, the clientPort setting in ZooKeeper can be changed by setting the property. For all default values used by HBase, including ZooKeeper configuration, see Section, “HBase Default Configuration”. Look for the prefix [34]

You must at least list the ensemble servers in hbase-site.xml using the hbase.zookeeper.quorum property. This property defaults to a single ensemble member at localhost which is not suitable for a fully distributed HBase. (It binds to the local machine only and remote clients will not be able to connect).

How many ZooKeepers should I run?

You can run a ZooKeeper ensemble that comprises 1 node only but in production it is recommended that you run a ZooKeeper ensemble of 3, 5 or 7 machines; the more members an ensemble has, the more tolerant the ensemble is of host failures. Also, run an odd number of machines. In ZooKeeper, an even number of peers is supported, but it is normally not used because an even sized ensemble requires, proportionally, more peers to form a quorum than an odd sized ensemble requires. For example, an ensemble with 4 peers requires 3 to form a quorum, while an ensemble with 5 also requires 3 to form a quorum. Thus, an ensemble of 5 allows 2 peers to fail, and thus is more fault tolerant than the ensemble of 4, which allows only 1 down peer.

Give each ZooKeeper server around 1GB of RAM, and if possible, its own dedicated disk (A dedicated disk is the best thing you can do to ensure a performant ZooKeeper ensemble). For very heavily loaded clusters, run ZooKeeper servers on separate machines from RegionServers (DataNodes and TaskTrackers).

For example, to have HBase manage a ZooKeeper quorum on nodes rs{1,2,3,4,5}, bound to port 2222 (the default is 2181) ensure HBASE_MANAGE_ZK is commented out or set to true in conf/ and then edit conf/hbase-site.xml and set and hbase.zookeeper.quorum. You should also set to other than the default as the default has ZooKeeper persist data under /tmp which is often cleared on system restart. In the example below we have ZooKeeper persist to /user/local/zookeeper.

      <description>Property from ZooKeeper's config zoo.cfg.
      The port at which the clients will connect.
      <description>Comma separated list of servers in the ZooKeeper Quorum.
      For example, ",,".
      By default this is set to localhost for local and pseudo-distributed modes
      of operation. For a fully-distributed setup, this should be set to a full
      list of ZooKeeper quorum servers. If HBASE_MANAGES_ZK is set in
      this is the list of servers which we will start/stop ZooKeeper on.
      <description>Property from ZooKeeper's config zoo.cfg.
      The directory where the snapshot is stored.

What verion of ZooKeeper should I use?

The newer version, the better. For example, some folks have been bitten by ZOOKEEPER-1277. If running zookeeper 3.5+, you can ask hbase to make use of the new multi operation by enabling hbase.zookeeper.useMulti" in your hbase-site.xml.

ZooKeeper Maintenance

Be sure to set up the data dir cleaner described under Zookeeper Maintenance else you could have 'interesting' problems a couple of months in; i.e. zookeeper could start dropping sessions if it has to run through a directory of hundreds of thousands of logs which is wont to do around leader reelection time -- a process rare but run on occasion whether because a machine is dropped or happens to hiccup.

17.1. Using existing ZooKeeper ensemble

To point HBase at an existing ZooKeeper cluster, one that is not managed by HBase, set HBASE_MANAGES_ZK in conf/ to false

  # Tell HBase whether it should manage its own instance of Zookeeper or not.
  export HBASE_MANAGES_ZK=false

Next set ensemble locations and client port, if non-standard, in hbase-site.xml, or add a suitably configured zoo.cfg to HBase's CLASSPATH. HBase will prefer the configuration found in zoo.cfg over any settings in hbase-site.xml.

When HBase manages ZooKeeper, it will start/stop the ZooKeeper servers as a part of the regular start/stop scripts. If you would like to run ZooKeeper yourself, independent of HBase start/stop, you would do the following

${HBASE_HOME}/bin/ {start,stop} zookeeper

Note that you can use HBase in this manner to spin up a ZooKeeper cluster, unrelated to HBase. Just make sure to set HBASE_MANAGES_ZK to false if you want it to stay up across HBase restarts so that when HBase shuts down, it doesn't take ZooKeeper down with it.

For more information about running a distinct ZooKeeper cluster, see the ZooKeeper Getting Started Guide. Additionally, see the ZooKeeper Wiki or the ZooKeeper documentation for more information on ZooKeeper sizing.

[34] For the full list of ZooKeeper configurations, see ZooKeeper's zoo.cfg. HBase does not ship with a zoo.cfg so you will need to browse the conf directory in an appropriate ZooKeeper download.

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