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Auto-Terminating Unused EMR Clusters

Praveen Krishamoorthy Ravikumar shows how you can use AWS Lambda to terminate ElasticMapReduce clusters which have been idle for a certain amount of time:

To avoid this overhead, you must track the idleness of the EMR cluster and terminate it if it is running idle for long hours. There is the Amazon EMR native IsIdle Amazon CloudWatch metric, which determines the idleness of the cluster by checking whether there’s a YARN job running. However, you should consider additional metrics, such as SSH users connected or Presto jobs running, to determine whether the cluster is idle. Also, when you execute any Spark jobs in Apache Zeppelin, the IsIdle metric remains active (1) for long hours, even after the job is finished executing. In such cases, the IsIdle metric is not ideal in deciding the inactivity of a cluster.

In this blog post, we propose a solution to cut down this overhead cost. We implemented a bash script to be installed in the master node of the EMR cluster, and the script is scheduled to run every 5 minutes. The script monitors the clusters and sends a CUSTOM metric EMR-INUSE (0=inactive; 1=active) to CloudWatch every 5 minutes. If CloudWatch receives 0 (inactive) for some predefined set of data points, it triggers an alarm, which in turn executes an AWS Lambda function that terminates the cluster.

We went a slightly different route for auto-termination, killing after a fixed number of hours.