Standalone Master — Cluster Manager of Spark Standalone

Master (Standalone Master or standalone Master) is the cluster manager (the master) of a Spark Standalone cluster.

Master is created exclusively when requested to startRpcEnvAndEndpoint (which is when Master standalone application is launched or LocalSparkCluster is requested to start).

A standalone Master is pretty much the Master RPC Endpoint that you can access using RPC port (low-level operation communication) or Web UI.

Application ids follows the pattern app-yyyyMMddHHmmss.

Master keeps track of the following:

  • workers (workers)

  • mapping between ids and applications (idToApp)

  • waiting applications (waitingApps)

  • applications (apps)

  • mapping between ids and workers (idToWorker)

  • mapping between RPC address and workers (addressToWorker)

  • endpointToApp

  • addressToApp

  • completedApps

  • nextAppNumber

  • mapping between application ids and their Web UIs (appIdToUI)

  • drivers (drivers)

  • completedDrivers

  • drivers currently spooled for scheduling (waitingDrivers)

  • nextDriverNumber

The following INFO shows up when the Master endpoint starts up (Master#onStart is called):

INFO Master: Starting Spark master at spark://japila.local:7077
INFO Master: Running Spark version 1.6.0-SNAPSHOT

Master can be started and stopped using custom management scripts for standalone Master.

Table 1. Master’s Internal Properties (e.g. Registries, Counters and Flags)
Name Description



Used when…​FIXME



Used when…​FIXME

Master WebUI


MasterWebUI is the Web UI server for the standalone master. Master starts Web UI to listen to http://[master’s hostname]:webUIPort, e.g. http://localhost:8080.

INFO Utils: Successfully started service 'MasterUI' on port 8080.
INFO MasterWebUI: Started MasterWebUI at


Master can be in the following states:

  • STANDBY - the initial state while Master is initializing

  • ALIVE - start scheduling resources among applications.




RPC Environment

The org.apache.spark.deploy.master.Master class starts sparkMaster RPC environment.

INFO Utils: Successfully started service 'sparkMaster' on port 7077.

It then registers Master endpoint.

sparkMaster rpcenv
Figure 1. sparkMaster - the RPC Environment for Spark Standalone’s master

Master endpoint is a ThreadSafeRpcEndpoint and LeaderElectable (see Leader Election).

The Master endpoint starts the daemon single-thread scheduler pool master-forward-message-thread. It is used for worker management, i.e. removing any timed-out workers.

"master-forward-message-thread" #46 daemon prio=5 os_prio=31 tid=0x00007ff322abb000 nid=0x7f03 waiting on condition [0x000000011cad9000]


Master uses Spark Metrics System (via MasterSource) to report metrics about internal status.

The name of the source is master.

It emits the following metrics:

  • workers - the number of all workers (any state)

  • aliveWorkers - the number of alive workers

  • apps - the number of applications

  • waitingApps - the number of waiting applications

The name of the other source is applications


  • Review org.apache.spark.metrics.MetricsConfig

  • How to access the metrics for master? See Master#onStart

  • Review masterMetricsSystem and applicationMetricsSystem

REST Server

The standalone Master starts the REST Server service for alternative application submission that is supposed to work across Spark versions. It is enabled by default (see and used by spark-submit for the standalone cluster mode, i.e. --deploy-mode is cluster.

RestSubmissionClient is the client.

The server includes a JSON representation of SubmitRestProtocolResponse in the HTTP body.

The following INFOs show up when the Master Endpoint starts up (Master#onStart is called) with REST Server enabled:

INFO Utils: Successfully started service on port 6066.
INFO StandaloneRestServer: Started REST server for submitting applications on port 6066

Recovery Mode

A standalone Master can run with recovery mode enabled and be able to recover state among the available swarm of masters. By default, there is no recovery, i.e. no persistence and no election.

Only a master can schedule tasks so having one always on is important for cases where you want to launch new tasks. Running tasks are unaffected by the state of the master.

Master uses spark.deploy.recoveryMode to set up the recovery mode (see spark.deploy.recoveryMode).

The Recovery Mode enables election of the leader master among the masters.

Leader Election

Master endpoint is LeaderElectable, i.e. FIXME


RPC Messages

Master communicates with drivers, executors and configures itself using RPC messages.

The following message types are accepted by master (see Master#receive or Master#receiveAndReply methods):

  • ElectedLeader for Leader Election

  • CompleteRecovery

  • RevokedLeadership

  • RegisterApplication

  • ExecutorStateChanged

  • DriverStateChanged

  • Heartbeat

  • MasterChangeAcknowledged

  • WorkerSchedulerStateResponse

  • UnregisterApplication

  • CheckForWorkerTimeOut

  • RegisterWorker

  • RequestSubmitDriver

  • RequestKillDriver

  • RequestDriverStatus

  • RequestMasterState

  • BoundPortsRequest

  • RequestExecutors

  • KillExecutors

RegisterApplication event

A RegisterApplication event is sent by AppClient to the standalone Master. The event holds information about the application being deployed (ApplicationDescription) and the driver’s endpoint reference.

ApplicationDescription describes an application by its name, maximum number of cores, executor’s memory, command, appUiUrl, and user with optional eventLogDir and eventLogCodec for Event Logs, and the number of cores per executor.

FIXME Finish

A standalone Master receives RegisterApplication with a ApplicationDescription and the driver’s RpcEndpointRef.

INFO Registering app " +

Application ids in Spark Standalone are in the format of app-[yyyyMMddHHmmss]-[4-digit nextAppNumber].

Master keeps track of the number of already-scheduled applications (nextAppNumber).

ApplicationDescription (AppClient) -→ ApplicationInfo (Master) - application structure enrichment

ApplicationSource metrics + applicationMetricsSystem

INFO Registered app " + + " with ID " +
FIXME persistenceEngine.addApplication(app)

schedule() schedules the currently available resources among waiting apps.

FIXME When is schedule() method called?

It’s only executed when the Master is in RecoveryState.ALIVE state.

Worker in WorkerState.ALIVE state can accept applications.

A driver has a state, i.e. driver.state and when it’s in DriverState.RUNNING state the driver has been assigned to a worker for execution.

LaunchDriver RPC message

It seems a dead message. Disregard it for now.

A LaunchDriver message is sent by an active standalone Master to a worker to launch a driver.

spark standalone master worker LaunchDriver
Figure 2. Master finds a place for a driver (posts LaunchDriver)

You should see the following INFO in the logs right before the message is sent out to a worker:

INFO Launching driver [] on worker []

The message holds information about the id and name of the driver.

A driver can be running on a single worker while a worker can have many drivers running.

When a worker receives a LaunchDriver message, it prints out the following INFO:

INFO Asked to launch driver []

It then creates a DriverRunner and starts it. It starts a separate JVM process.

Workers' free memory and cores are considered when assigning some to waiting drivers (applications).

FIXME Go over waitingDrivers…​


It seems a dead piece of code. Disregard it for now.

A DriverRunner manages the execution of one driver.

It is a java.lang.Process

When started, it spawns a thread DriverRunner for [] that:

  1. Creates the working directory for this driver.

  2. Downloads the user jar FIXME downloadUserJar

  3. Substitutes variables like WORKER_URL or USER_JAR that are set when…​FIXME

Internals of org.apache.spark.deploy.master.Master

You can debug a Standalone master using the following command:

java -agentlib:jdwp=transport=dt_socket,server=y,suspend=y,address=5005 -cp /Users/jacek/dev/oss/spark/conf/:/Users/jacek/dev/oss/spark/assembly/target/scala-2.11/spark-assembly-1.6.0-SNAPSHOT-hadoop2.7.1.jar:/Users/jacek/dev/oss/spark/lib_managed/jars/datanucleus-api-jdo-3.2.6.jar:/Users/jacek/dev/oss/spark/lib_managed/jars/datanucleus-core-3.2.10.jar:/Users/jacek/dev/oss/spark/lib_managed/jars/datanucleus-rdbms-3.2.9.jar -Xms1g -Xmx1g org.apache.spark.deploy.master.Master --ip japila.local --port 7077 --webui-port 8080

The above command suspends (suspend=y) the process until a JPDA debugging client, e.g. your IDE, is connected, and that Spark is available under /Users/jacek/dev/oss/spark. Change it to meet your environment.

When Master starts, it first creates the default SparkConf configuration whose values it then overrides using environment variables and command-line options.

A fully-configured master instance requires host, port (default: 7077), webUiPort (default: 8080) settings defined.

When in troubles, consult Spark Tips and Tricks document.

It starts RPC Environment with necessary endpoints and lives until the RPC environment terminates.

Worker Management

Master uses master-forward-message-thread to schedule a thread every spark.worker.timeout to check workers' availability and remove timed-out workers.

It is that Master sends CheckForWorkerTimeOut message to itself to trigger verification.

When a worker hasn’t responded for spark.worker.timeout, it is assumed dead and the following WARN message appears in the logs:

WARN Removing [] because we got no heartbeat in [spark.worker.timeout] seconds

System Environment Variables

Master uses the following system environment variables (directly or indirectly):

  • SPARK_LOCAL_HOSTNAME - the custom host name

  • SPARK_LOCAL_IP - the custom IP to use when SPARK_LOCAL_HOSTNAME is not set

  • SPARK_MASTER_HOST (not SPARK_MASTER_IP as used in script above!) - the master custom host

  • SPARK_MASTER_PORT (default: 7077) - the master custom port

  • SPARK_MASTER_IP (default: hostname command’s output)

  • SPARK_MASTER_WEBUI_PORT (default: 8080) - the port of the master’s WebUI. Overriden by spark.master.ui.port if set in the properties file.

  • SPARK_PUBLIC_DNS (default: hostname) - the custom master hostname for WebUI’s http URL and master’s address.

  • SPARK_CONF_DIR (default: $SPARK_HOME/conf) - the directory of the default properties file spark-defaults.conf from which all properties that start with spark. prefix are loaded.



  • Where are `RETAINED_’s properties used?

Master uses the following properties:

  • spark.cores.max (default: 0) - total expected number of cores. When set, an application could get executors of different sizes (in terms of cores).

  • spark.worker.timeout (default: 60) - time (in seconds) when no heartbeat from a worker means it is lost. See Worker Management.

  • spark.deploy.retainedApplications (default: 200)

  • spark.deploy.retainedDrivers (default: 200)

  • spark.dead.worker.persistence (default: 15)

  • spark.deploy.recoveryMode (default: NONE) - possible modes: ZOOKEEPER, FILESYSTEM, or CUSTOM. Refer to Recovery Mode.

  • spark.deploy.recoveryMode.factory - the class name of the custom StandaloneRecoveryModeFactory.

  • spark.deploy.recoveryDirectory (default: empty) - the directory to persist recovery state

  • spark.deploy.spreadOut to perform round-robin scheduling across the nodes.

  • spark.deploy.defaultCores (default: Int.MaxValue, i.e. unbounded) - the number of maxCores for applications that don’t specify it.

  • (default: true) - master’s REST Server for alternative application submission that is supposed to work across Spark versions.

  • (default: 6066) - the port of master’s REST Server

Creating Master Instance

Master takes the following when created:

Master initializes the internal registries and counters.

startRpcEnvAndEndpoint Method

  host: String,
  port: Int,
  webUiPort: Int,
  conf: SparkConf): (RpcEnv, Int, Option[Int])


startRpcEnvAndEndpoint is used when:

  • Master standalone application is launched

  • LocalSparkCluster is requested to start

Launching Main Standalone Application — main Method

main(argStrings: Array[String]): Unit


Table 2. Main’s Command-Line Arguments
Argument Required? Description
$ ./bin/spark-class org.apache.spark.deploy.master.Main
main is used when…​FIXME