Using termination protection - Amazon EMR

Using termination protection

When termination protection is enabled on a long-running cluster, you can still terminate the cluster, but you must explicitly remove termination protection from the cluster first. This helps ensure that EC2 instances are not shut down by an accident or error. Termination protection is especially useful if your cluster might have data stored on local disks that you need to recover before the instances are terminated. You can enable termination protection when you create a cluster, and you can change the setting on a running cluster.

With termination protection enabled, the TerminateJobFlows action in the Amazon EMR API does not work. Users cannot terminate the cluster using this API or the terminate-clusters command from the AWS CLI. The API returns an error, and the CLI exits with a non-zero return code. When using the Amazon EMR console to terminate a cluster, you are prompted with an extra step to turn termination protection off.


Termination protection does not guarantee that data is retained in the event of a human error or a workaround—for example, if a reboot command is issued from the command line while connected to the instance using SSH, if an application or script running on the instance issues a reboot command, or if the Amazon EC2 or Amazon EMR API is used to disable termination protection. Even with termination protection enabled, data saved to instance storage, including HDFS data, can be lost. Write data output to Amazon S3 locations and create backup strategies as appropriate for your business continuity requirements.

Termination protection does not affect your ability to scale cluster resources using any of the following actions:

Termination protection and Amazon EC2

An Amazon EMR cluster with termination protection enabled has the disableAPITermination attribute set for all Amazon EC2 instances in the cluster. If a termination request originates with Amazon EMR, and the Amazon EMR and Amazon EC2 settings for an instance conflict, the Amazon EMR setting overrides the Amazon EC2 setting. For example, if you use the Amazon EC2 console to enable termination protection on an Amazon EC2 instance in a cluster that has termination protection disabled, when you use the Amazon EMR console, AWS CLI commands for Amazon EMR, or the Amazon EMR API to terminate the cluster, Amazon EMR sets DisableApiTermination to false and terminates the instance along with other instances.


If an instance is created as part of an Amazon EMR cluster with termination protection, and the Amazon EC2 API or AWS CLI commands are used to modify the instance so that DisableApiTermination is false, and then the Amazon EC2 API or AWS CLI commands execute the TerminateInstances action, the Amazon EC2 instance terminates.

Termination protection and unhealthy YARN nodes

Amazon EMR periodically checks the Apache Hadoop YARN status of nodes running on core and task Amazon EC2 instances in a cluster. The health status is reported by the NodeManager health checker service. If a node reports UNHEALTHY, the Amazon EMR instance controller deny lists the node and does not allocate YARN containers to it until it becomes healthy again. A common reason for unhealthy nodes is that disk utilization goes above 90%. For more information about identifying unhealthy nodes and recovering, see Resource errors.

If the node remains UNHEALTHY for more than 45 minutes, Amazon EMR takes the following action based on the status of termination protection.

Termination protection Result

Enabled (Recommended)

Amazon EC2 core instances remain in a deny-listed state and continue to count toward cluster capacity. You can connect to an Amazon EC2 core instance for configuration and data recovery, and resize your cluster to add capacity. For more information, see Resource errors.

Unhealthy task nodes are exempt from termination protection and will be terminated.


The Amazon EC2 instance is terminated. Amazon EMR provisions a new instance based on the specified number of instances in the instance group or the target capacity for instance fleets. If all core nodes are UNHEALTHY for more than 45 minutes, the cluster terminates, reporting a NO_SLAVES_LEFT status.


HDFS data may be lost if a core instance terminates because of an unhealthy state. If the node stored blocks that were not replicated to other nodes, these blocks are lost, which might lead to data loss. We recommend that you use termination protection so that you can connect to instances and recover data as necessary.

Termination protection and step execution

When you enable step execution and also enable termination protection, Amazon EMR ignores the termination protection.

When you submit steps to a cluster, you can set the ActionOnFailure property to determine what happens if the step can't complete execution because of an error. The possible values for this setting are TERMINATE_CLUSTER (TERMINATE_JOB_FLOW with earlier versions), CANCEL_AND_WAIT, and CONTINUE. For more information, see Submit work to a cluster.

If a step fails that is configured with ActionOnFailure set to CANCEL_AND_WAIT, if step execution is enabled, the cluster terminates without executing subsequent steps.

If a step fails that is configured with ActionOnFailure set to TERMINATE_CLUSTER, use the table of settings below to determine the outcome.

ActionOnFailure Step execution Termination protection Result




Cluster terminates



Cluster terminates



Cluster continues



Cluster terminates

Termination protection and Spot Instances

Amazon EMR termination protection does not prevent an Amazon EC2 Spot Instance from terminating when the Spot price rises above the maximum Spot price.

Configuring termination protection when you launch a cluster

You can enable or disable termination protection when you launch a cluster using the console, the AWS CLI, or the API.

The default termination protection setting depends on how you launch the cluster:

  • Amazon EMR Console Quick Options—Termination Protection is disabled by default.

  • Amazon EMR Console Advanced Options—Termination Protection is enabled by default.

  • AWS CLI aws emr create-cluster—Termination Protection is disabled unless --termination-protected is specified.

  • Amazon EMR API RunJobFlow command—Termination Protection is disabled unless the TerminationProtected boolean value is set to true.

To enable or disable termination protection when creating a cluster using the console

  1. Open the Amazon EMR console at

  2. Choose Create cluster.

  3. Choose Go to advanced options.

  4. For Step 3: General Cluster Settings, under General Options make sure Termination protection is selected to enable it, or clear the selection to disable it.

							Termination protection setting in Advanced Options for cluster
  5. Choose other settings as appropriate for your application, choose Next, and then finish configuring your cluster.

To enable termination protection when creating a cluster using the AWS CLI

  • Using the AWS CLI, you can launch a cluster with termination protection enabled by using the create-cluster command with the --termination-protected parameter. Termination protection is disabled by default.

    The following example creates cluster with termination protection enabled:


    Linux line continuation characters (\) are included for readability. They can be removed or used in Linux commands. For Windows, remove them or replace with a caret (^).

    aws emr create-cluster --name "TerminationProtectedCluster" --release-label emr-5.36.0 \ --applications Name=Hadoop Name=Hive Name=Pig \ --use-default-roles --ec2-attributes KeyName=myKey --instance-type m5.xlarge \ --instance-count 3 --termination-protected

    For more information about using Amazon EMR commands in the AWS CLI, see

Configuring termination protection for running clusters

You can configure termination protection for a running cluster using the console or the AWS CLI.

To enable or disable termination protection for a running cluster using the console

  1. Open the Amazon EMR console at

  2. On the Clusters page, choose the Name of your cluster.

  3. On the Summary tab, for Termination protection, choose Change.

  4. To enable termination protection, choose On. To disable termination protection, choose Off. Then choose the green check mark to confirm.

							Confirm termination protection change

To enable or disable termination protection for a running cluster using the AWS CLI

  • To enable termination protection on a running cluster using the AWS CLI, use the modify-cluster-attributes command with the --termination-protected parameter. To disable it, use the --no-termination-protected parameter.

    The following example enables termination protection on the cluster with ID j-3KVTXXXXXX7UG:

    aws emr modify-cluster-attributes --cluster-id j-3KVTXXXXXX7UG --termination-protected

    The following example disables termination protection on the same cluster:

    aws emr modify-cluster-attributes --cluster-id j-3KVTXXXXXX7UG --no-termination-protected