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Develop Spark Apps on Yarn Using Docker

At svds, we’ll often run spark on yarn in production. Add some artful tuning and this works pretty well. However, developers typically build and test spark application in standalone mode… not on yarn.

Rather than get bitten by the ideosyncracies involved in running spark on yarn -vs- standalone when you go to deploy, here’s a way to set up a development environment for spark that more closely mimics how it’s used in the wild.

A simple yarn “cluster” on your laptop

Run a docker image for a cdh standalone instance

docker run -d --name=mycdh svds/cdh

when the logs

docker logs -f mycdh

stop going wild, you can run the usual hadoop-isms to set up a workspace

docker exec -it mycdh hadoop fs -ls /
docker exec -it mycdh hadoop fs -mkdir -p /tmp/blah

Run spark

Then, it’s pretty straightforward to run spark against yarn

docker exec -it mycdh \
  spark-submit \
    --master yarn-cluster \
    --class org.apache.spark.examples.SparkPi \
    /usr/lib/spark/examples/lib/spark-examples-1.3.0-cdh5.4.3-hadoop2.6.0-cdh5.4.3.jar \

Note that you can submit a spark job to run in either “yarn-client” or “yarn-cluster” modes.

In “yarn-client” mode, the spark driver runs outside of yarn and logs to console and all spark executors run as yarn containers.

In “yarn-cluster” mode, all spark executors run as yarn containers, but then the spark driver also runs as a yarn container. Yarn manages all the logs.

You can also run the spark shell so that any workers spawned run in yarn

docker exec -it mycdh spark-shell --master yarn-client


docker exec -it mycdh pyspark --master yarn-client

Your Application

Ok, so SparkPi is all fine and dandy, but how do I run a real application?

Let’s make up an example. Say you build your spark project on your laptop in the /Users/myname/mysparkproject/ directory.

When you build with maven or sbt, it typically builds and leaves jars under a /Users/myname/mysparkproject/target/ directory… for sbt, it’ll look like /Users/myname/mysparkproject/target/scala-2.10/.

The idea here is to make these jars directly accessible from both your laptop’s build process as well as from inside the cdh container.

When you start up the cdh container, map this local host directory up and into the container

docker run -d -v ~/mysparkproject/target:/target --name=mycdh svds/cdh 

where the -v option will make ~/mysparkproject/target available as /target within the container.


sbt clean assembly

leaves a jar under ~/mysparkproject/target, which the container sees as /target and you can run jobs using something like

docker exec -it mycdh \
  spark-submit \
    --master yarn-cluster \
    --name MyFancySparkJob-name \
    --class org.markmims.MyFancySparkJob \
    /target/scala-2.10/My-assembly- \

The --name arg makes it easier to find in the midst of multiple yarn jobs.


While a spark job is running, you can get its yarn “applicationId” from

docker exec -it mycdh yarn application -list

or if it finished already just list things out with more conditions

docker exec -it mycdh yarn application -list -appStates FINISHED

You can dig through the yarn-consolidated logs after the job is done by using

docker exec -it mycdh yarn logs -applicationId <applicationId>


Web consoles are critical for application development. Spend time up front getting ports open or forwarded correctly for all environments. Don’t wait until you’re actually trying to debug something critical to figure out how to forward ports to see the staging UI in all environments.

Yarn ResourceManager UI

Yarn gives you quite a bit of info about the system right from the ResourceManager on its ip address and webgui port (usually 8088)

open http://<resource-manager-ip>:<resource-manager-port>/

Spark Staging UI

Yarn also conveniently proxies access to the spark staging UI for a given application. This looks like

open http://<resource-manager-ip>:<resource-manager-port>/proxy/<applicationId>

for example,

open http://localhost:8088/proxy/application_1444330488724_0005/

Ports and Docker

There are a few ways to deal with accessing port 8088 of the yarn resource manager from outside of the docker container. I typically use ssh for everything and just forward ports out to localhost on the host. However, most people will expect to access ports directly on the docker-machine ip address. To do that, you have to map each port when you first spin up the cdh container using the -p 8088 option

docker run -d -v target -p 8088 --name=mycdh svds/cdh 

Then you should be good to go with something like

open http://`docker-machine ip`:8088/

to access the yarn console.

Tips and Gotchas

  • The docker image svds/cdh is quite large (2GB). I like to do a separate docker pull from any docker run commands just to isolate the download. In fact, I recommend pinning the cdh version for the same reason… so docker pull svds/cdh:5.4.0 for instance, then refer to it that way throughout docker run -d --name=mycdh svds/cdh:5.4.0 and that’ll insure you’re not littering your laptop’s filesystem with docker layers from multiple cdh versions. The bare svds/cdh (equiv to svds/cdh:latest) floats with the most recent cloudera versions

  • I’m using a CDH container here… but there’s an HDP one on the way as well. Keep an eye out for it on svds’s dockerhub page

  • web consoles and forwarding ports through SSH


Ok, so the downside here is that the image is fat. The upside is that it lets you play with the full suite of CDH-based tools. I’ve tested out (besides the spark variations above)

Impala shell

docker exec mycdh impala-shell

HBase shell

docker exec mycdh hbase shell


echo "show tables;" | docker exec mycdh beeline -u jdbc:hive2://localhost:10000 -n username -p password -d org.apache.hive.jdbc.HiveDriver


If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to share it with me on Twitter: @m_3