This is the documentation for Cloudera Impala 2.0.0.
Documentation for other versions is available at Cloudera.com.

EXPLAIN_LEVEL

Controls the amount of detail provided in the output of the EXPLAIN statement. The basic output can help you identify high-level performance issues such as scanning a higher volume of data or more partitions than you expect. The higher levels of detail show how intermediate results flow between nodes and how different SQL operations such as ORDER BY, GROUP BY, joins, and WHERE clauses are implemented within a distributed query.

Type: STRING or INT

Default: 1

Arguments:

The allowed range of numeric values for this option is 0 to 3:

  • 0 or MINIMAL: A barebones list, one line per operation. Primarily useful for checking the join order in very long queries where the regular EXPLAIN output is too long to read easily.
  • 1 or STANDARD: The default level of detail, showing the logical way that work is split up for the distributed query.
  • 2 or EXTENDED: Includes additional detail about how the query planner uses statistics in its decision-making process, to understand how a query could be tuned by gathering statistics, using query hints, adding or removing predicates, and so on.
  • 3 or VERBOSE: The maximum level of detail, showing how work is split up within each node into "query fragments" that are connected in a pipeline. This extra detail is primarily useful for low-level performance testing and tuning within Impala itself, rather than for rewriting the SQL code at the user level.
  Note: Prior to Impala 1.3, the allowed argument range for EXPLAIN_LEVEL was 0 to 1: level 0 had the mnemonic NORMAL, and level 1 was VERBOSE. In Impala 1.3 and higher, NORMAL is not a valid mnemonic value, and VERBOSE still applies to the highest level of detail but now corresponds to level 3. You might need to adjust the values if you have any older impala-shell script files that set the EXPLAIN_LEVEL query option.

Changing the value of this option controls the amount of detail in the output of the EXPLAIN statement. The extended information from level 2 or 3 is especially useful during performance tuning, when you need to confirm whether the work for the query is distributed the way you expect, particularly for the most resource-intensive operations such as join queries against large tables, queries against tables with large numbers of partitions, and insert operations for Parquet tables. The extended information also helps to check estimated resource usage when you use the admission control or resource management features explained in Integrated Resource Management with YARN. See EXPLAIN Statement for the syntax of the EXPLAIN statement, and Using the EXPLAIN Plan for Performance Tuning for details about how to use the extended information.

Usage notes:

As always, read the EXPLAIN output from bottom to top. The lowest lines represent the initial work of the query (scanning data files), the lines in the middle represent calculations done on each node and how intermediate results are transmitted from one node to another, and the topmost lines represent the final results being sent back to the coordinator node.

The numbers in the left column are generated internally during the initial planning phase and do not represent the actual order of operations, so it is not significant if they appear out of order in the EXPLAIN output.

At all EXPLAIN levels, the plan contains a warning if any tables in the query are missing statistics. Use the COMPUTE STATS statement to gather statistics for each table and suppress this warning. See How Impala Uses Statistics for Query Optimization for details about how the statistics help query performance.

The PROFILE command in impala-shell always starts with an explain plan showing full detail, the same as with EXPLAIN_LEVEL=3. After the explain plan comes the executive summary, the same output as produced by the SUMMARY command in impala-shell.

Examples:

These examples use a trivial, empty table to illustrate how the essential aspects of query planning are shown in EXPLAIN output:

[localhost:21000] > create table t1 (x int, s string);
[localhost:21000] > set explain_level=1;
[localhost:21000] > explain select count(*) from t1;
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Explain String                                                                     |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Estimated Per-Host Requirements: Memory=10.00MB VCores=1                           |
| WARNING: The following tables are missing relevant table and/or column statistics. |
| explain_plan.t1                                                                    |
|                                                                                    |
| 03:AGGREGATE [MERGE FINALIZE]                                                      |
| |  output: sum(count(*))                                                           |
| |                                                                                  |
| 02:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                                              |
| |                                                                                  |
| 01:AGGREGATE                                                                       |
| |  output: count(*)                                                                |
| |                                                                                  |
| 00:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1]                                                     |
|    partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                          |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
[localhost:21000] > explain select * from t1;
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Explain String                                                                     |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Estimated Per-Host Requirements: Memory=-9223372036854775808B VCores=0             |
| WARNING: The following tables are missing relevant table and/or column statistics. |
| explain_plan.t1                                                                    |
|                                                                                    |
| 01:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                                              |
| |                                                                                  |
| 00:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1]                                                     |
|    partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                          |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
[localhost:21000] > set explain_level=2;
[localhost:21000] > explain select * from t1;
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Explain String                                                                     |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Estimated Per-Host Requirements: Memory=-9223372036854775808B VCores=0             |
| WARNING: The following tables are missing relevant table and/or column statistics. |
| explain_plan.t1                                                                    |
|                                                                                    |
| 01:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                                              |
| |  hosts=0 per-host-mem=unavailable                                                |
| |  tuple-ids=0 row-size=19B cardinality=unavailable                                |
| |                                                                                  |
| 00:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1, PARTITION=RANDOM]                                   |
|    partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                          |
|    table stats: unavailable                                                        |
|    column stats: unavailable                                                       |
|    hosts=0 per-host-mem=0B                                                         |
|    tuple-ids=0 row-size=19B cardinality=unavailable                                |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
[localhost:21000] > set explain_level=3;
[localhost:21000] > explain select * from t1;
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Explain String                                                                     |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Estimated Per-Host Requirements: Memory=-9223372036854775808B VCores=0             |
| WARNING: The following tables are missing relevant table and/or column statistics. |
| explain_plan.t1                                                                    |
|                                                                                    |
| F01:PLAN FRAGMENT [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                                        |
|   01:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                                            |
|      hosts=0 per-host-mem=unavailable                                              |
|      tuple-ids=0 row-size=19B cardinality=unavailable                              |
|                                                                                    |
| F00:PLAN FRAGMENT [PARTITION=RANDOM]                                               |
|   DATASTREAM SINK [FRAGMENT=F01, EXCHANGE=01, PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]             |
|   00:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1, PARTITION=RANDOM]                                 |
|      partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                        |
|      table stats: unavailable                                                      |
|      column stats: unavailable                                                     |
|      hosts=0 per-host-mem=0B                                                       |
|      tuple-ids=0 row-size=19B cardinality=unavailable                              |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

As the warning message demonstrates, most of the information needed for Impala to do efficient query planning, and for you to understand the performance characteristics of the query, requires running the COMPUTE STATS statement for the table:

[localhost:21000] > compute stats t1;
+-----------------------------------------+
| summary                                 |
+-----------------------------------------+
| Updated 1 partition(s) and 2 column(s). |
+-----------------------------------------+
[localhost:21000] > explain select * from t1;
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Explain String                                                         |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Estimated Per-Host Requirements: Memory=-9223372036854775808B VCores=0 |
|                                                                        |
| F01:PLAN FRAGMENT [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                            |
|   01:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                                |
|      hosts=0 per-host-mem=unavailable                                  |
|      tuple-ids=0 row-size=20B cardinality=0                            |
|                                                                        |
| F00:PLAN FRAGMENT [PARTITION=RANDOM]                                   |
|   DATASTREAM SINK [FRAGMENT=F01, EXCHANGE=01, PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED] |
|   00:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1, PARTITION=RANDOM]                     |
|      partitions=1/1 size=0B                                            |
|      table stats: 0 rows total                                         |
|      column stats: all                                                 |
|      hosts=0 per-host-mem=0B                                           |
|      tuple-ids=0 row-size=20B cardinality=0                            |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Joins and other complicated, multi-part queries are the ones where you most commonly need to examine the EXPLAIN output and customize the amount of detail in the output. This example shows the default EXPLAIN output for a three-way join query, then the equivalent output with a [SHUFFLE] hint to change the join mechanism between the first two tables from a broadcast join to a shuffle join.

[localhost:21000] > set explain_level=1;
[localhost:21000] > explain select one.*, two.*, three.* from t1 one, t1 two, t1 three where one.x = two.x and two.x = three.x;
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Explain String                                                                     |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Estimated Per-Host Requirements: Memory=4.00GB VCores=3                            |
|                                                                                    |
| 07:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                                              |
| |                                                                                  |
| 04:HASH JOIN [INNER JOIN, BROADCAST]                                               |
| |  hash predicates: two.x = three.x                                                |
| |                                                                                  |
| |--06:EXCHANGE [BROADCAST]                                                         |
| |  |                                                                               |
| |  02:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1 three]                                            |
| |     partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                       |
| |                                                                                  |
| 03:HASH JOIN [INNER JOIN, BROADCAST]                                               |
| |  hash predicates: one.x = two.x                                                  |
| |                                                                                  |
| |--05:EXCHANGE [BROADCAST]                                                         |
| |  |                                                                               |
| |  01:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1 two]                                              |
| |     partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                       |
| |                                                                                  |
| 00:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1 one]                                                 |
|    partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                          |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
[localhost:21000] > explain select one.*, two.*, three.* from t1 one join [shuffle] t1 two join t1 three where one.x = two.x and two.x = three.x;
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Explain String                                                                     |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Estimated Per-Host Requirements: Memory=4.00GB VCores=3                            |
|                                                                                    |
| 08:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                                              |
| |                                                                                  |
| 04:HASH JOIN [INNER JOIN, BROADCAST]                                               |
| |  hash predicates: two.x = three.x                                                |
| |                                                                                  |
| |--07:EXCHANGE [BROADCAST]                                                         |
| |  |                                                                               |
| |  02:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1 three]                                            |
| |     partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                       |
| |                                                                                  |
| 03:HASH JOIN [INNER JOIN, PARTITIONED]                                             |
| |  hash predicates: one.x = two.x                                                  |
| |                                                                                  |
| |--06:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=HASH(two.x)]                                             |
| |  |                                                                               |
| |  01:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1 two]                                              |
| |     partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                       |
| |                                                                                  |
| 05:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=HASH(one.x)]                                                |
| |                                                                                  |
| 00:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1 one]                                                 |
|    partitions=1/1 size=0B                                                          |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

For a join involving many different tables, the default EXPLAIN output might stretch over several pages, and the only details you care about might be the join order and the mechanism (broadcast or shuffle) for joining each pair of tables. In that case, you might set EXPLAIN_LEVEL to its lowest value of 0, to focus on just the join order and join mechanism for each stage. The following example shows how the rows from the first and second joined tables are hashed and divided among the nodes of the cluster for further filtering; then the entire contents of the third table are broadcast to all nodes for the final stage of join processing.

[localhost:21000] > set explain_level=0;
[localhost:21000] > explain select one.*, two.*, three.* from t1 one join [shuffle] t1 two join t1 three where one.x = two.x and two.x = three.x;
+---------------------------------------------------------+
| Explain String                                          |
+---------------------------------------------------------+
| Estimated Per-Host Requirements: Memory=4.00GB VCores=3 |
|                                                         |
| 08:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=UNPARTITIONED]                   |
| 04:HASH JOIN [INNER JOIN, BROADCAST]                    |
| |--07:EXCHANGE [BROADCAST]                              |
| |  02:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1 three]                 |
| 03:HASH JOIN [INNER JOIN, PARTITIONED]                  |
| |--06:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=HASH(two.x)]                  |
| |  01:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1 two]                   |
| 05:EXCHANGE [PARTITION=HASH(one.x)]                     |
| 00:SCAN HDFS [explain_plan.t1 one]                      |
+---------------------------------------------------------+