Installation Guide#

This setup guide will walk you to an installation of Apache Spark and Flowman on your local Linux box. If you are using Windows, you will find some hints for setting up the required “Hadoop Winutils”, but we generally recommend to use Linux. You can also run a Flowman Docker image, which is the simplest way to get up to speed.

1. Requirements#

Flowman brings many dependencies with the installation archive, but everything related to Hadoop or Spark needs to be provided by your platform. This approach ensures that the existing Spark and Hadoop installation is used together with all patches and extensions available on your platform. Specifically this means that Flowman requires the following components present on your system:

  • Java 11 (or 1.8 when using Spark 2.4)

  • Apache Spark with a matching minor version

  • Apache Hadoop with a matching minor version

Note that Flowman can be built for different Hadoop and Spark versions, and the major and minor version of the build needs to match the ones of your platform

Download & Install Spark#

As of this writing, the latest release of Flowman is 1.2.0 and is available prebuilt for Spark 3.4.1 on the Spark homepage. So we download the appropriate Spark distribution from the Apache archive and unpack it.

# Create a nice playground which doesn't mess up your system
mkdir playground
cd playground

# Download and unpack Spark & Hadoop
curl -L | tar xvzf -# Create a nice link
ln -snf spark-3.4.1-bin-hadoop3 spark

The Spark package already contains Hadoop, so with this single download you already have both installed and integrated with each other.

Once you have installed Spark, you should set the environment variable SPARK_HOME, so Flowman can find it

export SPARK_HOME=<your-spark-installation-directory>

It might be a good idea to add a corresponding line to your .bashrc or .profile.

Download & Install Hadoop Utils for Windows#

If you are trying to run Flowman on Windows, you also need the Hadoop Winutils, which is a set of DLLs required for the Hadoop libraries to be working. You can get a copy at Once you downloaded the appropriate version, you need to place the DLLs into a directory $HADOOP_HOME/bin, where HADOOP_HOME refers to some arbitrary location of your choice on your Windows PC. You also need to set the following environment variables:

  • HADOOP_HOME should point to the parent directory of the bin directory

  • PATH should also contain $HADOOP_HOME/bin

The documentation contains a dedicated section for Windows users

2. Downloading Flowman#

Since version 0.14.1, prebuilt releases are provided on the Flowman Homepage or on GitHub. This probably is the simplest way to grab a working Flowman package. Note that for each release, there are different packages being provided, for different Spark and Hadoop versions. The naming is straight forward:


You simply have to use the package which fits to the Spark and Hadoop versions of your environment. For example, the package of Flowman 1.2.0 and for Spark 3.4 and Hadoop 3.3 would be


and the full URL then would be

Supported Spark Environments#

Flowman is available for many different Spark/Hadoop environments. The following variants are available:

Distribution Spark Hadoop Java Scala Variant
Open Source 2.4.8 2.6 1.8 2.11 oss-spark2.4-hadoop2.6
Open Source 2.4.8 2.7 1.8 2.11 oss-spark2.4-hadoop2.7
Open Source 3.0.3 2.7 11 2.12 oss-spark3.0-hadoop2.7
Open Source 3.0.3 3.2 11 2.12 oss-spark3.0-hadoop3.2
Open Source 3.1.2 2.7 11 2.12 oss-spark3.1-hadoop2.7
Open Source 3.1.2 3.2 11 2.12 oss-spark3.1-hadoop3.2
Open Source 3.2.4 2.7 11 2.12 oss-spark3.2-hadoop2.7
Open Source 3.2.4 3.3 11 2.12 oss-spark3.2-hadoop3.3
Open Source 3.3.4 2.7 11 2.12 oss-spark3.3-hadoop2.7
Open Source 3.3.3 3.3 11 2.12 oss-spark3.3-hadoop3.3
Open Source 3.4.1 3.3 11 2.12 oss-spark3.4-hadoop3.3
Open Source 3.5.1 3.3 11 2.12 oss-spark3.5-hadoop3.3
AWS EMR 6.12 3.4.0 3.3 1.8 2.12 emr6.12-spark3.4-hadoop3.3
Azure Synapse 3.3.1 3.3 1.8 2.12 synapse3.3-spark3.3-hadoop3.3
Cloudera CDH 6.3 2.4.0 3.0 1.8 2.11 cdh6-spark2.4-hadoop3.0
Cloudera CDP 7.1 2.4.8 3.1 1.8 2.11 cdp7-spark2.4-hadoop3.1
Cloudera CDP 7.1 3.2.1 3.1 11 2.12 cdp7-spark3.2-hadoop3.1
Cloudera CDP 7.1 3.3.0 3.1 11 2.12 cdp7-spark3.3-hadoop3.1

Building Flowman#

As an alternative to downloading a pre-built distribution of Flowman, you might also want to build Flowman yourself in order to match your environment. A task which is not difficult for someone who has basic experience with Maven.

3. Local Installation#

Flowman is distributed as a tar.gz file, which simply needs to be extracted at some location on your computer or server. This can be done via

tar xvzf flowman-dist-X.Y.Z-bin.tar.gz

Directory Layout#

Once you downloaded and unpacked Flowman, you will get a new directory which looks as follows:

├── bin
├── conf
├── examples
│   ├── sftp-upload
│      ├── config
│      ├── data
│      └── job
│   └── weather
│       ├── config
│       ├── job
│       ├── mapping
│       ├── model
│       └── target
├── lib
├── libexec
├── yaml-schema
└── plugins
    ├── flowman-aws
    ├── flowman-azure
    ├── flowman-impala
    ├── flowman-kafka
    ├── flowman-mariadb
    └── flowman-...
  • The bin directory contains the Flowman executables

  • The conf directory contains global configuration files

  • The lib directory contains all Java jars

  • The libexec directory contains some internal helper scripts

  • The plugins directory contains more subdirectories, each containing a single plugin

  • The yaml-schema directory contains YAML schema files for syntax highlighting and auto-completion inside the code editor of your choice.

  • The examples directory contains some example projects

4. Install additional Hadoop dependencies#

Starting with version 3.2, Spark has reduced the number of Hadoop libraries which are part of the downloadable Spark distribution. Unfortunately, some of the libraries which have been removed are required by some Flowman plugins (for example the S3 and Delta plugin need the hadoop-commons library). Since at the same time Flowman will for good reasons not include these missing libraries, you have to install these yourself and put them into the $SPARK_HOME/jars folder.

In order to simplify getting the appropriate Hadoop libraries and placing them into the correct Spark directory, Flowman provides a small script called install-hadoop-dependencies, which will download and install the missing jars:

export SPARK_HOME=your-spark-home


Note that you need to have appropriate write permissions into the $SPARK_HOME/jars directory, so you possibly need to execute this with super-user privileges.

5. Configuration (optional)#

You probably need to perform some basic global configuration of Flowman. The relevant files are stored in the conf directory.

The script sets up an execution environment on a system level. Here some very fundamental Spark and Hadoop properties can be configured, like for example

  • SPARK_HOME, HADOOP_HOME and related environment variables

  • KRB_PRINCIPAL and KRB_KEYTAB for using Kerberos

  • Generic Java options like HTTP proxy and more


#!/usr/bin/env bash

# Specify Java home (just in case)
#export JAVA_HOME

# Explicitly override Flowmans home. These settings are detected automatically,
# but can be overridden

# Specify any environment settings and paths
#export SPARK_HOME
#export YARN_HOME
#export HDFS_HOME
#export HIVE_HOME

# Set the Kerberos principal in YARN cluster

# Specify the YARN queue to use

# Use a different spark-submit (for example spark2-submit in Cloudera)

# Apply any proxy settings from the system environment
if [[ "$PROXY_HOST" != "" ]]; then


        --conf spark.hadoop.fs.s3a.proxy.port=${PROXY_PORT}

# Set AWS credentials if required. You can also specify these in project config
if [[ "$AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID" != "" ]]; then
        --conf spark.hadoop.fs.s3a.access.key=${AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID}
        --conf spark.hadoop.fs.s3a.secret.key=${AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY}


After the execution environment has been set up, the system.yml is the first configuration file processed by the Java application. Its main purpose is to load some fundamental plugins, which are already required by the next level of configuration


  - flowman-impala


On top of the very global settings, Flowman also supports so-called namespaces. Each project is executed within the context of one namespace, which would be the default namespace if nothing else is specified. Each namespace contains some configuration, such that different namespaces might represent different tenants or different staging environments.


name: "default"

  kind: jdbc
  connection: flowman_state
  retries: 3
  timeout: 1000

  - kind: web

    driver: $System.getenv('FLOWMAN_HISTORY_DRIVER', 'org.apache.derby.jdbc.EmbeddedDriver')
    url: $System.getenv('FLOWMAN_HISTORY_URL', $String.concat('jdbc:derby:', $System.getenv('FLOWMAN_HOME'), '/logdb;create=true'))
    username: $System.getenv('FLOWMAN_HISTORY_USER', '')
    password: $System.getenv('FLOWMAN_HISTORY_PASSWORD', '')

  - spark.sql.warehouse.dir=$System.getenv('FLOWMAN_HOME')/hive/warehouse
  - hive.metastore.uris=
  - javax.jdo.option.ConnectionURL=jdbc:derby:;databaseName=$System.getenv('FLOWMAN_HOME')/hive/db;create=true

  - flowman-aws
  - flowman-azure
  - flowman-kafka
  - flowman-mariadb

  kind: file
  location: $System.getenv('FLOWMAN_HOME')/examples

In order to control the console (logging) output at a very detailed level, you can provide your own version of a Log4j configuration file inside the conf directory. You will find templates both for Log4j 1.x and 2.x.

6. Running Flowman#

Now when you have installed Spark and Flowman, you can easily start Flowman via

cd <your-flowman-directory>
export SPARK_HOME=<our-spark-directory>

bin/flowshell -f examples/weather