Hive

Iceberg supports reading and writing Iceberg tables through Hive by using a StorageHandler.

Feature support

Iceberg compatibility with Hive 2.x and Hive 3.1.2/3 supports the following features:

  • Creating a table
  • Dropping a table
  • Reading a table
  • Inserting into a table (INSERT INTO)
DML operations work only with MapReduce execution engine.

With Hive version 4.0.0-alpha-1 and above, the Iceberg integration when using HiveCatalog supports the following additional features:

  • Creating an Iceberg identity-partitioned table
  • Creating an Iceberg table with any partition spec, including the various transforms supported by Iceberg
  • Creating a table from an existing table (CTAS table)
  • Altering a table while keeping Iceberg and Hive schemas in sync
  • Altering the partition schema (updating columns)
  • Altering the partition schema by specifying partition transforms
  • Truncating a table
  • Migrating tables in Avro, Parquet, or ORC (Non-ACID) format to Iceberg
  • Reading the schema of a table
  • Querying Iceberg metadata tables
  • Time travel applications
  • Inserting into a table (INSERT INTO)
  • Inserting data overwriting existing data (INSERT OVERWRITE)
DML operations work only with Tez execution engine.

Enabling Iceberg support in Hive

Hive 4.0.0-alpha-1

Hive 4.0.0-alpha-1 comes with the Iceberg 0.13.1 included. No additional downloads or jars are needed.

Hive 2.3.x, Hive 3.1.x

In order to use Hive 2.3.x or Hive 3.1.x, you must load the Iceberg-Hive runtime jar and enable Iceberg support, either globally or for an individual table using a table property.

Loading runtime jar

To enable Iceberg support in Hive, the HiveIcebergStorageHandler and supporting classes need to be made available on Hive’s classpath. These are provided by the iceberg-hive-runtime jar file. For example, if using the Hive shell, this can be achieved by issuing a statement like so:

add jar /path/to/iceberg-hive-runtime.jar;

There are many others ways to achieve this including adding the jar file to Hive’s auxiliary classpath so it is available by default. Please refer to Hive’s documentation for more information.

Enabling support

If the Iceberg storage handler is not in Hive’s classpath, then Hive cannot load or update the metadata for an Iceberg table when the storage handler is set. To avoid the appearance of broken tables in Hive, Iceberg will not add the storage handler to a table unless Hive support is enabled. The storage handler is kept in sync (added or removed) every time Hive engine support for the table is updated, i.e. turned on or off in the table properties. There are two ways to enable Hive support: globally in Hadoop Configuration and per-table using a table property.

Hadoop configuration

To enable Hive support globally for an application, set iceberg.engine.hive.enabled=true in its Hadoop configuration. For example, setting this in the hive-site.xml loaded by Spark will enable the storage handler for all tables created by Spark.

Starting with Apache Iceberg 0.11.0, when using Hive with Tez you also have to disable vectorization (hive.vectorized.execution.enabled=false).
Table property configuration

Alternatively, the property engine.hive.enabled can be set to true and added to the table properties when creating the Iceberg table. Here is an example of doing it programmatically:

Catalog catalog=...;
    Map<String, String> tableProperties=Maps.newHashMap();
    tableProperties.put(TableProperties.ENGINE_HIVE_ENABLED,"true"); // engine.hive.enabled=true
    catalog.createTable(tableId,schema,spec,tableProperties);

The table level configuration overrides the global Hadoop configuration.

Hive on Tez configuration

To use the Tez engine on Hive 3.1.2 or later, Tez needs to be upgraded to >= 0.10.1 which contains a necessary fix TEZ-4248.

To use the Tez engine on Hive 2.3.x, you will need to manually build Tez from the branch-0.9 branch due to a backwards incompatibility issue with Tez 0.10.1.

You will also need to set the following property in the Hive configuration: tez.mrreader.config.update.properties=hive.io.file.readcolumn.names,hive.io.file.readcolumn.ids.

Catalog Management

Global Hive catalog

From the Hive engine’s perspective, there is only one global data catalog that is defined in the Hadoop configuration in the runtime environment. In contrast, Iceberg supports multiple different data catalog types such as Hive, Hadoop, AWS Glue, or custom catalog implementations. Iceberg also allows loading a table directly based on its path in the file system. Those tables do not belong to any catalog. Users might want to read these cross-catalog and path-based tables through the Hive engine for use cases like join.

To support this, a table in the Hive metastore can represent three different ways of loading an Iceberg table, depending on the table’s iceberg.catalog property:

  1. The table will be loaded using a HiveCatalog that corresponds to the metastore configured in the Hive environment if no iceberg.catalog is set
  2. The table will be loaded using a custom catalog if iceberg.catalog is set to a catalog name (see below)
  3. The table can be loaded directly using the table’s root location if iceberg.catalog is set to location_based_table

For cases 2 and 3 above, users can create an overlay of an Iceberg table in the Hive metastore, so that different table types can work together in the same Hive environment. See CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE and CREATE TABLE for more details.

Custom Iceberg catalogs

To globally register different catalogs, set the following Hadoop configurations:

Config KeyDescription
iceberg.catalog.<catalog_name>.typetype of catalog: hive, hadoop, or left unset if using a custom catalog
iceberg.catalog.<catalog_name>.catalog-implcatalog implementation, must not be null if type is empty
iceberg.catalog.<catalog_name>.<key>any config key and value pairs for the catalog

Here are some examples using Hive CLI:

Register a HiveCatalog called another_hive:

SET iceberg.catalog.another_hive.type=hive;
SET iceberg.catalog.another_hive.uri=thrift://example.com:9083;
SET iceberg.catalog.another_hive.clients=10;
SET iceberg.catalog.another_hive.warehouse=hdfs://example.com:8020/warehouse;

Register a HadoopCatalog called hadoop:

SET iceberg.catalog.hadoop.type=hadoop;
SET iceberg.catalog.hadoop.warehouse=hdfs://example.com:8020/warehouse;

Register an AWS GlueCatalog called glue:

SET iceberg.catalog.glue.catalog-impl=org.apache.iceberg.aws.glue.GlueCatalog;
SET iceberg.catalog.glue.warehouse=s3://my-bucket/my/key/prefix;
SET iceberg.catalog.glue.lock.table=myGlueLockTable;

DDL Commands

Not all the features below are supported with Hive 2.3.x and Hive 3.1.x. Please refer to the Feature support paragraph for further details.

One generally applicable difference is that Hive 4.0.0-alpha-1 provides the possibility to use STORED BY ICEBERG instead of the old STORED BY 'org.apache.iceberg.mr.hive.HiveIcebergStorageHandler'

CREATE TABLE

Non partitioned tables

The Hive CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE command creates an Iceberg table when you specify the storage handler as follows:

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE x (i int) STORED BY ICEBERG;

If you want to create external tables using CREATE TABLE, configure the MetaStoreMetadataTransformer on the cluster, and CREATE TABLE commands are transformed to create external tables. For example:

CREATE TABLE x (i int) STORED BY ICEBERG;

You can specify the default file format (Avro, Parquet, ORC) at the time of the table creation. The default is Parquet:

CREATE TABLE x (i int) STORED BY ICEBERG STORED AS ORC;

Partitioned tables

You can create Iceberg partitioned tables using a command familiar to those who create non-Iceberg tables:

CREATE TABLE x (i int) PARTITIONED BY (j int) STORED BY ICEBERG;
The resulting table does not create partitions in HMS, but instead, converts partition data into Iceberg identity partitions.

Use the DESCRIBE command to get information about the Iceberg identity partitions:

DESCRIBE x;

The result is:

col_namedata_typecomment
iint
jint
NULLNULL
# Partition Transform InformationNULLNULL
# col_nametransform_typeNULL
jIDENTITYNULL

You can create Iceberg partitions using the following Iceberg partition specification syntax (supported only in Hive 4.0.0-alpha-1):

CREATE TABLE x (i int, ts timestamp) PARTITIONED BY SPEC (month(ts), bucket(2, i)) STORED AS ICEBERG;
DESCRIBE x;

The result is:

col_namedata_typecomment
iint
tstimestamp
NULLNULL
# Partition Transform InformationNULLNULL
# col_nametransform_typeNULL
tsMONTHNULL
iBUCKET[2]NULL

The supported transformations for Hive are the same as for Spark:

  • years(ts): partition by year
  • months(ts): partition by month
  • days(ts) or date(ts): equivalent to dateint partitioning
  • hours(ts) or date_hour(ts): equivalent to dateint and hour partitioning
  • bucket(N, col): partition by hashed value mod N buckets
  • truncate(L, col): partition by value truncated to L
    • Strings are truncated to the given length
    • Integers and longs truncate to bins: truncate(10, i) produces partitions 0, 10, 20, 30,
The resulting table does not create partitions in HMS, but instead, converts partition data into Iceberg partitions.

CREATE TABLE AS SELECT

CREATE TABLE AS SELECT operation resembles the native Hive operation with a single important difference. The Iceberg table and the corresponding Hive table are created at the beginning of the query execution. The data is inserted / committed when the query finishes. So for a transient period the table already exists but contains no data.

CREATE TABLE target PARTITIONED BY SPEC (year(year_field), identity_field) STORED BY ICEBERG AS
    SELECT * FROM source;

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE overlaying an existing Iceberg table

The CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE command is used to overlay a Hive table “on top of” an existing Iceberg table. Iceberg tables are created using either a Catalog, or an implementation of the Tables interface, and Hive needs to be configured accordingly to operate on these different types of table.

Hive catalog tables

As described before, tables created by the HiveCatalog with Hive engine feature enabled are directly visible by the Hive engine, so there is no need to create an overlay.

Custom catalog tables

For a table in a registered catalog, specify the catalog name in the statement using table property iceberg.catalog. For example, the SQL below creates an overlay for a table in a hadoop type catalog named hadoop_cat:

SET
iceberg.catalog.hadoop_cat.type=hadoop;
SET
iceberg.catalog.hadoop_cat.warehouse=hdfs://example.com:8020/hadoop_cat;

CREATE
EXTERNAL TABLE database_a.table_a
STORED BY 'org.apache.iceberg.mr.hive.HiveIcebergStorageHandler'
TBLPROPERTIES ('iceberg.catalog'='hadoop_cat');

When iceberg.catalog is missing from both table properties and the global Hadoop configuration, HiveCatalog will be used as default.

Path-based Hadoop tables

Iceberg tables created using HadoopTables are stored entirely in a directory in a filesystem like HDFS. These tables are considered to have no catalog. To indicate that, set iceberg.catalog property to location_based_table. For example:

CREATE
EXTERNAL TABLE table_a 
STORED BY 'org.apache.iceberg.mr.hive.HiveIcebergStorageHandler' 
LOCATION 'hdfs://some_bucket/some_path/table_a'
TBLPROPERTIES ('iceberg.catalog'='location_based_table');

CREATE TABLE overlaying an existing Iceberg table

You can also create a new table that is managed by a custom catalog. For example, the following code creates a table in a custom Hadoop catalog:

SET
iceberg.catalog.hadoop_cat.type=hadoop;
SET
iceberg.catalog.hadoop_cat.warehouse=hdfs://example.com:8020/hadoop_cat;

CREATE TABLE database_a.table_a
(
    id   bigint,
    name string
) PARTITIONED BY (
  dept string
) STORED BY 'org.apache.iceberg.mr.hive.HiveIcebergStorageHandler'
TBLPROPERTIES ('iceberg.catalog'='hadoop_cat');
If the table to create already exists in the custom catalog, this will create a managed overlay table. This means technically you can omit the EXTERNAL keyword when creating an overlay table. However, this is not recommended because creating managed overlay tables could pose a risk to the shared data files in case of accidental drop table commands from the Hive side, which would unintentionally remove all the data in the table.

ALTER TABLE

Table properties

For HiveCatalog tables the Iceberg table properties and the Hive table properties stored in HMS are kept in sync.

IMPORTANT: This feature is not available for other Catalog implementations.
ALTER TABLE t SET TBLPROPERTIES('...'='...');

Schema evolution

The Hive table schema is kept in sync with the Iceberg table. If an outside source (Impala/Spark/Java API/etc) changes the schema, the Hive table immediately reflects the changes. You alter the table schema using Hive commands:

  • Add a column
ALTER TABLE orders ADD COLUMNS (nickname string);
  • Rename a column
ALTER TABLE orders CHANGE COLUMN item fruit string;
  • Reorder columns
ALTER TABLE orders CHANGE COLUMN quantity quantity int AFTER price;
  • Change a column type - only if the Iceberg defined the column type change as safe
ALTER TABLE orders CHANGE COLUMN price price long;
  • Drop column by using REPLACE COLUMN to remove the old column
ALTER TABLE orders REPLACE COLUMNS (remaining string);
Note, that dropping columns is only thing REPLACE COLUMNS can be used for i.e. if columns are specified out-of-order an error will be thrown signalling this limitation.

Partition evolution

You change the partitioning schema using the following commands:

  • Change the partitioning schema to new identity partitions:
ALTER TABLE default.customers SET PARTITION SPEC (last_name);
  • Alternatively, provide a partition specification:
ALTER TABLE order SET PARTITION SPEC (month(ts));

Table migration

You can migrate Avro / Parquet / ORC external tables to Iceberg tables using the following command:

ALTER TABLE t SET TBLPROPERTIES ('storage_handler'='org.apache.iceberg.mr.hive.HiveIcebergStorageHandler');

During the migration the data files are not changed, only the appropriate Iceberg metadata files are created. After the migration, handle the table as a normal Iceberg table.

TRUNCATE TABLE

The following command truncates the Iceberg table:

TRUNCATE TABLE t;

Using a partition specification is not allowed.

DROP TABLE

Tables can be dropped using the DROP TABLE command:

DROP TABLE [IF EXISTS] table_name [PURGE];

DML Commands

SELECT

Select statements work the same on Iceberg tables in Hive. You will see the Iceberg benefits over Hive in compilation and execution:

  • No file system listings - especially important on blob stores, like S3
  • No partition listing from the Metastore
  • Advanced partition filtering - the partition keys are not needed in the queries when they could be calculated
  • Could handle higher number of partitions than normal Hive tables

Here are the features highlights for Iceberg Hive read support:

  1. Predicate pushdown: Pushdown of the Hive SQL WHERE clause has been implemented so that these filters are used at the Iceberg TableScan level as well as by the Parquet and ORC Readers.
  2. Column projection: Columns from the Hive SQL SELECT clause are projected down to the Iceberg readers to reduce the number of columns read.
  3. Hive query engines:
    • With Hive 2.3.x, 3.1.x both the MapReduce and Tez query execution engines are supported.
    • With Hive 4.0.0-alpha-1 Tez query execution engine is supported.

Some of the advanced / little used optimizations are not yet implemented for Iceberg tables, so you should check your individual queries. Also currently the statistics stored in the MetaStore are used for query planning. This is something we are planning to improve in the future.

INSERT INTO

Hive supports the standard single-table INSERT INTO operation:

INSERT INTO table_a
VALUES ('a', 1);
INSERT INTO table_a
SELECT...;

Multi-table insert is also supported, but it will not be atomic. Commits occur one table at a time. Partial changes will be visible during the commit process and failures can leave partial changes committed. Changes within a single table will remain atomic.

Here is an example of inserting into multiple tables at once in Hive SQL:

FROM customers
   INSERT INTO target1 SELECT customer_id, first_name
   INSERT INTO target2 SELECT last_name, customer_id;

INSERT OVERWRITE

INSERT OVERWRITE can replace data in the table with the result of a query. Overwrites are atomic operations for Iceberg tables. For nonpartitioned tables the content of the table is always removed. For partitioned tables the partitions that have rows produced by the SELECT query will be replaced.

INSERT OVERWRITE TABLE target SELECT * FROM source;

QUERYING METADATA TABLES

Hive supports querying of the Iceberg Metadata tables. The tables could be used as normal Hive tables, so it is possible to use projections / joins / filters / etc. To reference a metadata table the full name of the table should be used, like: <DB_NAME>.<TABLE_NAME>.<METADATA_TABLE_NAME>.

Currently the following metadata tables are available in Hive:

  • files
  • entries
  • snapshots
  • manifests
  • partitions
SELECT * FROM default.table_a.files;

TIMETRAVEL

Hive supports snapshot id based and time base timetravel queries. For these views it is possible to use projections / joins / filters / etc. The function is available with the following syntax:

SELECT * FROM table_a FOR SYSTEM_TIME AS OF '2021-08-09 10:35:57';
SELECT * FROM table_a FOR SYSTEM_VERSION AS OF 1234567;

Type compatibility

Hive and Iceberg support different set of types. Iceberg can perform type conversion automatically, but not for all combinations, so you may want to understand the type conversion in Iceberg in prior to design the types of columns in your tables. You can enable auto-conversion through Hadoop configuration (not enabled by default):

Config keyDefaultDescription
iceberg.mr.schema.auto.conversionfalseif Hive should perform type auto-conversion

Hive type to Iceberg type

This type conversion table describes how Hive types are converted to the Iceberg types. The conversion applies on both creating Iceberg table and writing to Iceberg table via Hive.

HiveIcebergNotes
booleanboolean
shortintegerauto-conversion
byteintegerauto-conversion
integerinteger
longlong
floatfloat
doubledouble
datedate
timestamptimestamp without timezone
timestamplocaltztimestamp with timezoneHive 3 only
interval_year_monthnot supported
interval_day_timenot supported
charstringauto-conversion
varcharstringauto-conversion
stringstring
binarybinary
decimaldecimal
structstruct
listlist
mapmap
unionnot supported