New Features in Impala 1.4.1 for MapR

Admission Control

A new feature that enforces limits on concurrent SQL queries and statements that run in an Impala cluster with heavy workloads. When admission control is enabled, Impala queues SQL queries and statements that it would otherwise cancel or re-run due to insufficient resources or performance bottlenecks.

You can configure admission control options that Impala uses to enforce limits on the following behaviors:

  • Number of concurrent queries that run in the cluster
  • Query queue size
  • Number of delayed queries that the queue can hold
  • Amount of memory that queries use
  • Time that queries can exist in queue before Impala cancels them

Refer to Admission Control for more information.

Partition Pruning

Partition pruning now includes performance improvements that reduce the time spent on query planning for partitioned tables with thousands of partitions. Previously, Impala could query tables with up to approximately 3000 partitions. Now, Impala can comfortably query tables with tens of thousands of partitions.

Impala Daemon Options

The following table lists new Impala daemon start up options that you can add to the configuration file:
Option Default Description
load_catalog_in_background true New start up option to control the parallelism of metadata loading during start up for the catalogd daemon. Makes Impala use background threads after start up to load and cache metadata.
num_metadata_loading_threads 16 New start up option for controlling the parallelism of metadata loading during start up for the catalogd daemon. Determines how much parallelism Impala devotes to loading metadata in the background. You can increase this value for systems with a huge number of databases, tables, or partitions. You can lower this value for busy systems that have CPU-constraints due to jobs from other components running in the cluster.

Same permissions as parent


New start up option that causes Impala INSERT statements to create each new partition with the same MapR file system permissions as its parent directory. By default, INSERT

statements create directories for new partitions using default MapR file system permissions.

Impala-Shell Command Line Options

The following table lists the new option with its description:

Option Description
strict_unicode The impala-shell interpreter now supports UTF-8 characters for input and output. You can control whetherimpala-shell ignores invalid Unicode code points through this option.


The following table contains new security features and their descriptions:

Feature Description
LDAP LDAP connections can be secured through either SSL or TLS.
Sentry-based authorization Impala can now use Sentry-based authorization based onthe original policy file.


The following table lists new functions and their descriptions:

Statement Description




New conditional functions that simplify porting SQL containing vendor extensions to Impala.
CURRENT DATABASE() New utility function that returns the database that the session is currently using.

Built-In Functions

The following table lists new built-in functions and their descriptions:

Function Description
ADD_MONTHS() A built-in function that is an alias for the existing MONTHS_ADD() function.
EXTRACT() A new built-in function that returns one date or time field from a TIMESTAMP value.
ROUND() A new built-in function that rounds DECIMAL values to a specified number of fractional digits.
TRUNC() A new built-in function that truncates date/time values to a particular granularity, such as year, month, day, hour, and so on.







Built-in aggregate functions for computing properties for statistical distributions.



New built-in functions that you can use to check whether data values are in an expected range.

You might be able to switch a column to a smaller type to save memory during processing.



New built-in functions that check for special values infinity and “not a number”. These values could be specified as inf or nan in text data files.

They may also be produced by certain arithmetic expressions.


The following table lists new or improved statements and their descriptions:

Statement Description

Use this statement to collect table and column statistics with a single statement.

Useful for query planning, join queries, queries on partitioned tables, and any other data intensive operations.

This release includes the following performance improvements for the statement:

  • The
    function is sped up through native code generation.
  • Because the NULL count is not currently used by the Impala query planner, in Impala 1.4.0 and higher,

    does not count the NULL values for each column. The #Nulls field of the stats table is

    left as -1, signifying that the value is unknown.


SQL syntax for creating a table.

This release includes the following improvements for the statement:

  • You can now specify the clause FIELDS TERMINATED BY '\0' to use text data files that use ASCII 0 (nul) characters as a delimiter.
  • For interoperability with Parquet files created through other Hadoop components, such as Pig or MapReduce applications, you can create

    an Impala table that automatically sets up the column definitions based on the layout of an existing Parquet data file.

  • Has a STORED AS AVRO clause, enabling you to create Avro tables through Impala.

When you run EXPLAIN PLAN followed by a SELECT query, it returns the query execution plan. EXPLAIN PLAN now provides more detail in a simpler format with the following verbosity levels:

  • 0 – Most concise
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3 – Most verbose
INVALIDATE METADATA table_name Impala loads metadata for a Hive table when you issue the INVALIDATE METADATA table_name statement if a Hive table exists with the same name.

Shows user-defined functions associated with a particular database.

This release includes the following improvements for the statement:

  • Now displays the return type and argument type of each function.
  • You can now specify the clause FIELDS TERMINATED BY '\0' with a CREATE TABLE

    statement to use text data files that use ASCII 0 (nul) characters as a delimiter.


Displays information about each partition in a partitioned table. Run the COMPUTE STATS statement after creating all table partitions and then run

SHOW PARTITIONS for more informative output.

Data Types

The following table lists new or improved data types with their descriptions:

Data Type Description
DECIMAL A numeric data type that you can use in CREATE TABLE and ALTER TABLE statements to store fixed-precision values when working with currency or other fractional values where it is important to represent values exactly and avoid rounding errors. Useful for calculations where the imprecise representation and rounding behavior of FLOAT and DOUBLE make them impractical to use. Includes enhancements to built-in functions, numeric literals, and arithmetic expressions.
TIMESTAMP Accepts more input string formats through the UNIX TIMESTAMP function, and produces more string formats through the FROM UNIXTIME function.

Clauses and Operators

The following table lists new or improved clauses and operators with descriptions:

Feature Description
ORDER BY No longer requires a LIMIT clause. If the size of the result set to be sorted exceeds the memory available to Impala,Impala uses a temporary work space on disk to perform the sort operation.



Improved compatibility with the regular expression support for popular database systems. There is no change to the behavior of the regexp_extract() and regexp_replace() built-in functions.

These operators now match a regular expression string that occurs anywhere inside the target string; the same as if the regular expression was enclosed on each side by .*.