AWS, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics

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A Guide to Connect Amazon EMR with AWS Glue Catalog using Apache Spark


Integrating Amazon EMR with AWS Glue Catalog using Apache Spark provides a detailed walkthrough for establishing seamless connectivity between these two powerful AWS services. By combining the capabilities of Amazon EMR for big data processing with AWS Glue’s ETL functionalities and data cataloging, organizations can efficiently manage and analyze large datasets. The step-by-step instructions outlined in the guide offer a practical approach to leveraging Apache Spark to interact with data stored in the AWS Glue Catalog, facilitating scalable and cost-effective data processing and analytics on the AWS platform.


Amazon EMR (Elastic MapReduce) and AWS Glue are two powerful services in the AWS ecosystem catering to big data processing and analytics needs. When these services are integrated, it allows for seamless data processing and management. In this blog, we will explore the key features of Amazon EMR and AWS Glue and provide detailed steps to establish a connection between Amazon EMR and AWS Glue Catalog using Apache Spark.

Amazon EMR Overview:

Amazon EMR is a cloud-based big data platform that enables the processing of large amounts of data using popular frameworks such as Apache Spark, Apache Hive, Apache Hadoop, and more. Some key features of Amazon EMR include:

  • Easy Scalability: Amazon EMR allows you to dynamically scale your cluster up or down based on your processing needs.
  • Managed Hadoop Frameworks: Amazon EMR provides pre-configured environments for popular big data frameworks, making setting up and running applications easy.
  • Integration with AWS Services: Seamless integration with other AWS services such as Amazon S3, Amazon DynamoDB, and AWS Glue for efficient data processing and storage.
  • Security and Access Control: Amazon EMR ensures data security through features like Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) isolation, encryption, and AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management) policies.

AWS Glue Overview:

AWS Glue is a fully managed extract, transform, and load (ETL) service that simplifies preparing and loading data for analytics. Key features of AWS Glue include:

  • Data Catalog: AWS Glue Catalog acts as a central repository for metadata, making it easier to discover, manage, and govern your data.
  • Serverless ETL: AWS Glue allows you to run ETL jobs without provisioning or managing servers, providing a serverless and cost-effective solution.
  • Automatic Schema Discovery: AWS Glue can automatically discover and catalog the schema of your data, reducing the manual effort required in the ETL process.
  • Integration with Other AWS Services: AWS Glue seamlessly integrates with various AWS services, including Amazon S3, Amazon RDS, and Amazon Redshift.

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Steps to Connect Amazon EMR with AWS Glue Catalog using Apache Spark

Step 1: Set Up Amazon EMR Cluster

  • Navigate to the Amazon EMR console.
  • Create a new cluster, specifying the necessary configuration for instance types, Amazon EC2 key pair, and software configurations (select Spark).
  • Launch the cluster.

Step 2: Set Up the AWS Glue Catalog

  • Navigate to the AWS Glue console.
  • Create a new database and table in the AWS Glue Catalog, defining your data schema.

Step 3: Configure Spark to Use AWS Glue Catalog

  • SSH into the master node of the Amazon EMR cluster.
  • Edit the Spark configuration file (/etc/spark/conf/spark-defaults.conf) to include the Glue Catalog dependencies.

Step 4: Run Spark Job

  • Upload your Spark application JAR to the Amazon EMR cluster or use Spark shell.
  • In your Spark application, include the necessary Glue Catalog dependencies.

Step 5: Access AWS Glue Catalog Data

  • Create a GlueContext:

In your Spark application, you must create a GlueContext to interact with the AWS Glue Catalog. This context provides methods for reading and writing data in the Glue Catalog.


  • Read Data from AWS Glue Catalog:

You can use the getCatalogSource method of GlueContext to create a DynamicFrame representing the data stored in the Glue Catalog. Replace “your_database” and “your_table” with your AWS Glue Catalog database and table names.


The sourceData variable now holds a DynamicFrame, similar to a DataFrame in Apache Spark, but allows for more flexibility with semi-structured and nested data.

  • Perform Data Processing:

Once you have the data in a DynamicFrame, you can apply Spark transformations and actions to process the data. For example, you might filter the data, perform aggregations, or apply custom transformations.


Spark SQL or DataFrame API operations can manipulate the data according to your analysis requirements.

  • Write Data Back to AWS Glue Catalog (Optional):

If you need to write the processed data back to the AWS Glue Catalog or another destination, you can use the writeDynamicFrame method.


Replace “output_database” and “output_table” with the desired database and table names in the AWS Glue Catalog.


Integrating Amazon EMR with AWS Glue Catalog using Apache Spark provides a robust solution for big data processing and analytics on AWS. By leveraging the features of both services, users can seamlessly manage and analyze vast amounts of data in a scalable and cost-effective manner.

Following the outlined steps ensures a smooth connection between Amazon EMR and AWS Glue Catalog, empowering organizations to derive valuable insights from their data.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Amazon EMR or AWS Glue Catalog and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. What is Amazon EMR, and how does it differ from traditional Hadoop clusters?

ANS: – Amazon EMR (Elastic MapReduce) is a cloud-based big data processing service. It differs from traditional Hadoop clusters by providing a fully managed environment, allowing users to scale clusters easily, integrate with other AWS services, and focus on processing data rather than cluster management.

2. Can I use custom applications or frameworks on Amazon EMR?

ANS: – Yes, Amazon EMR supports custom applications and frameworks. You can install and run your applications or choose from various pre-configured environments for popular frameworks like Apache Spark, Apache Hadoop, and more.

WRITTEN BY Hariprasad Kulkarni



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