Unfortunately, HBase cannot ship with LZO because of the licensing issues; HBase is Apache-licensed, LZO is GPL. Therefore LZO install is to be done post-HBase install. See the Using LZO Compression wiki page for how to make LZO work with HBase.
A common problem users run into when using LZO is that while initial setup of the cluster runs smooth, a month goes by and some sysadmin goes to add a machine to the cluster only they'll have forgotten to do the LZO fixup on the new machine. In versions since HBase 0.90.0, we should fail in a way that makes it plain what the problem is, but maybe not.
See Section C.2, “
for a feature to help protect against failed LZO install.