Engineering Leadership


HBase is a tabular-oriented database that runs on top of HDFS. It is modeled on Google’s BigTable.

In this post, I’m going to install HBase in Pseudo mode, so please use these instructions for setting up a developer’s workstation, not for a production cluster.

When should you use HBase

HBase should be used when you need random read/write access to the data in Hadoop. While HBase gives you random seeks, it does so at the expense of performance vs. HDFS. Therefore, it is important to look at your workload and pick the correct solution for your specific requirements.

Install Zookeeper

Install Zookeeper before installing HBase.

Install Prerequisites

sudo apt-get install ntp libopts25


sudo apt-get install hbase

Let’s see what files were installed. I have written an HBase Files and Directories post that contains more information about what’s installed with the hbase package.

dpkg -L hbase | less
sudo apt-get install hbase-master

Next, we’ll stop the HBase Master.

sudo service hbase-master stop

Configure HBase to run in pseudo mode

Let’s check the hostname and port used by the HDFS Name Node.

grep -A 1 fs.default.name /etc/hadoop/conf.pseudo/core-site.xml | grep value

You should see output of:

cd /etc/hbase/conf; ls -l
sudo vi hbase-site.xml

Paste the following into hbase-site.xml, between <configuration> and </configuration>.


Add the /hbase directory to HDFS

The following commands assume that you’ve followed the instructions in my post on how to Create a .bash_aliases file.

shmkdir /hbase
shchown hbase /hbase

Let’s check that the /hbase directory was created correctly in HDFS.

hls /

You should see output that includes a line for the /hbase directory.

Start the HBase Master

sudo service hbase-master start

Install an HBase Region Server

The HBase Region Server is started automatically when you install it in Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get install hbase-regionserver

Check that HBase is Setup Correctly

sudo /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_31/bin/jps

You should see output similar to the following (look for QuorumPeerMain, NameNode, DataNode, HRegionServer, and HMaster):

1942   SecondaryNameNode
12783  QuorumPeerMain
1747   NameNode
1171   DataNode
15034  HRegionServer
14755  HMaster
2396   NodeManager
2497   ResourceManager
2152   JobHistoryServer
15441  Jps

Open http://localhost:60010 in a web browser to verify that the HBase Master was installed correctly.

If everything installed correctly then you should see the following:

  • In the Region Servers section, there should be one line for localhost.
  • In the Attributes section, you should see HBase Version = 0.92.1-cdh4.0.0.

Add the JDK 1.6.0 u31 Path to BigTop

This update is required as BigTop uses a fixed array approach to finding JAVA_HOME.

sudo vi /usr/lib/bigtop-utils/bigtop-detect-javahome

Add the following line just below the for candidate in \ line:

/usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_31 \

Update the hosts file

It’s likely that you’ll get an error due to the localhost loopback.

Update the /etc/hosts file (note: The page that contains these instructions was originally written during HBase debugging).

That’s it. You now have HBase installed and ready for use on a developer’s workstation/laptop.

Additional Reading

There are some additional configuration options for HBase, including:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: