Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR) definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: AWS analytics tools help make sense of big data
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR) is an Amazon Web Service (AWS) for data processing and analysis. Amazon EMR offers the expandable low-configuration service as an easier alternative to running in-house cluster computing.

Amazon EMR is based on Hadoop, a Java-based programming framework that supports the processing of large data sets in a distributed computing environment. MapReduce is a software framework that allows developers to write programs that process massive amounts of unstructured data in parallel across a distributed cluster of processors or stand-alone computers. It was developed at Google for indexing Web pages and replaced their original indexing algorithms and heuristics in 2004.

Amazon EMR processes data across a Hadoop cluster of virtual servers on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). The elastic in EMR's name refers to its dynamic resizing ability, which allows it to ramp up or reduce resource use depending on the demand at any given time.

Amazon EMR is used for data analysis in log analysis, web indexing, data warehousing, machine learning, financial analysis, scientific simulation, bioinformatics and more.

See a video introduction to Amazon EMR:

This was first published in April 2014

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