HBase does not start when deployed as Amazon EC2 instances. Exceptions like the below appear in the Master and/or RegionServer logs:
2009-10-19 11:52:27,030 INFO org.apache.zookeeper.ClientCnxn: Attempting connection to server ec2-174-129-15-236.compute-1.amazonaws.com/10.244.9.171:2181 2009-10-19 11:52:27,032 WARN org.apache.zookeeper.ClientCnxn: Exception closing session 0x0 to sun.nio.ch.SelectionKeyImpl@656dc861 java.net.ConnectException: Connection refused
Security group policy is blocking the ZooKeeper port on a public address. Use the internal EC2 host names when configuring the ZooKeeper quorum peer list.
Questions on HBase and Amazon EC2 come up frequently on the HBase dist-list. Search for old threads using Search Hadoop
See Andrew's answer here, up on the user list: Remote Java client connection into EC2 instance.