There are several Hadoop components that you need to understand to use the HCatalog connector:.

There are several Hadoop components that you need to understand to use the HCatalog connector:

  • Apache Hive lets you query data stored in a Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) the same way you query data stored in a relational database. Behind the scenes, Hive uses a set of serializer and deserializer (SerDe) classes to extract data from files stored in HDFS and break it into columns and rows. Each SerDe handles data files in a specific format. For example, one SerDe extracts data from comma-separated data files while another interprets data stored in JSON format.

  • Apache HCatalog is a component of the Hadoop ecosystem that makes Hive's metadata available to other Hadoop components (such as Pig).

  • HiveServer2 makes HCatalog and Hive data available via JDBC. Through it, a client can make requests to retrieve data stored in Hive, as well as information about the Hive schema. HiveServer2 can use authorization services (Sentry or Ranger). HiverServer2 can use Hive LLAP (Live Long And Process).

The Vertica HCatalog Connector lets you transparently access data that is available through HiveServer2. You use the connector to define a schema in Vertica that corresponds to a Hive database or schema. When you query data within this schema, the HCatalog Connector transparently extracts and formats the data from Hadoop into tabular data. Vertica supports authorization services and Hive LLAP.

HCatalog connection features

The HCatalog Connector lets you query data stored in Hive using the Vertica native SQL syntax. Some of its main features are:

  • The HCatalog Connector always reflects the current state of data stored in Hive.

  • The HCatalog Connector uses the parallel nature of both Vertica and Hadoop to process Hive data. The result is that querying data through the HCatalog Connector is often faster than querying the data directly through Hive.

  • Because Vertica performs the extraction and parsing of data, the HCatalog Connector does not significantly increase the load on your Hadoop cluster.

  • The data you query through the HCatalog Connector can be used as if it were native Vertica data. For example, you can execute a query that joins data from a table in an HCatalog schema with a native table.

HCatalog Connector considerations

There are a few things to keep in mind when using the HCatalog Connector:

  • Hive's data is stored in flat files in a distributed file system, requiring it to be read and deserialized each time it is queried. This deserialization causes Hive performance to be much slower than that of Vertica. The HCatalog Connector has to perform the same process as Hive to read the data. Therefore, querying data stored in Hive using the HCatalog Connector is much slower than querying a native Vertica table. If you need to perform extensive analysis on data stored in Hive, you should consider loading it into Vertica. Vertica optimization often makes querying data through the HCatalog Connector faster than directly querying it through Hive.

  • If Hive uses Kerberos security, the HCatalog Connector uses the querying user's credentials in queries by default. If Hive uses Sentry or Ranger to enforce security, then you must either disable this behavior in Vertica by setting EnableHCatImpersonation to 0 or grant users access to the underlying data in HDFS. (Sentry supports ACL synchronization to automatically grant access.) Alternatively, you can specify delegation tokens for data and metadata access. See Configuring security.

  • Hive supports complex data types such as lists, maps, and structs that Vertica does not support. Columns containing these data types are converted to a JSON representation of the data type and stored as a VARCHAR. See Data type conversions from Hive to Vertica.